Reporting on the SDGs with the SDG Dashboard – University of Applied Sciences of the Grisons
PRME Champion HTW Chur, which as of now is called the University of Applied Sciences of the Grisons, used the SDG Dashboard as a way of collecting information on SDG engagement at the University. The SDG Dashboard, championed by the Erivan K. Haub School of Business at Saint Joseph’s University in the US, is a collaborative data reporting and analytics platform for global business schools to share their best practice impacts on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). I spoke with Livia Somerville about their experiences using the Dashboard.
What is the SDG Dashboard?
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Dashboard is a reporting and data analysis platform that captures higher education’s ‘best practice’ contributions toward achieving the United Nations SDGs. Launched in 2018 by the Haub School of Business at Saint Joseph’s University, USA, the SDG Dashboard’s interactive web design allows schools to both share their most impactful SDG contributions and learn about other schools’ SDG related activities. These activities are organized and searchable by all 17 SDGs across 5 key areas of higher education functions: Teaching, Research, Partnerships, Dialogue, and Organisational Practices. These “impact areas” reflect PRME’s 6 Principles, making the SDG Dashboard an ideal tool for PRME schools working to achieve PRME’s 2030 Vision: “Realising the Sustainable Development Goals through Responsible Management Education. The SDG Dashboard is also helpful when preparing SIP reports and reporting on various accreditation standards related to ethics, responsibility, and sustainability.
What have been your experiences working on the Dashboard?
At the University of Applied Sciences of the Grisons, we broke new grounds and were the first PRME School to publish a completed SDG Dashboard with our last Sharing Information on Progress (SIP) report. In order to report on the 17 SDG relative to 5 of the PRME Principles, we had to analyze all courses, research projects, partnerships, dialogues and organizational practices within a period of two years. In order to approach this challenge, we first developed a framework and established a methodology. Within our methodology it was crucial to hang on to a pragmatic approach or else it would have been impossible to connect any courses, research projects, partnerships, dialogues or organizational practices to the SDG. Internally we came in touch with different members of our staff and got the opportunity to bring up the SDGs once again. The SDG Dashboard provides us a valuable time series and enables us to derive long-term measures from it. We appreciate that it is an implementation-oriented tool that allows us the flexibility to collect and report our SDG impact data according to our institutional culture.
What insights have you gathered through use in the Dashboard?
The SDG Dashboard provides a uniquely visual overview of all sustainable development initiatives of our University. With this aggregation, the University Executive Board, the organizational development team and the responsible personnel in teaching and research have access to an important instrument for ensuring the targeted development of sustainability of the University’s teaching, research, services and future education courses. Moreover, the editorial board of the SIP report had an overview on which initiatives to report.
How have you used the Dashboard to increase impact in respect to the fulfillment of the SDG?
The purpose of the PRME SDG Dashboard is to provide a comparable, robust and useful resource for PRME schools in order to increase their impact as a network with respect to the fulfillment of the SDG. Over time, it will be possible to use this instrument to manage the university’s future development and to integrate the SDGs more significantly into our strategy and outcomes.
What have been some of the challenges in respect to using the Dashboard?
The initial set-up of the SDG Dashboard took up many resources and was therefore challenging on our PRME HUB team to manage along other tasks. Once at it though, we benefited a lot from the synergies it created.
What are some highlights that you would like to share?
Our University’s research has achieved 12 contributions to SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, Target 5: “substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms” and Target 6: “develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels.” The Whistleblowing Report published by Christian Hauser and team that analyzed the determinants for a successful implementation and execution of in-house whistleblower reporting systems in cooperation with an industry partner, caught the attention of the Financial Times, who wrote an article on the outcomes of the study.
Overall, our SDG Dashboard shows the biggest efforts towards the SDGs in teaching. The SDGs are addressed over 90 times in different modules and study courses. We are happy that the SDGs are also being implemented in our further education programs. Currently our Institute for Tourism and Leisure – on behalf of the UNWTO and in collaboration with the World Economic Forum (WEF) – is developing an international educational program on the SDG in tourism for high-level representative of the public and private sector.
As a long standing PRME Champion school, the University of Applied Sciences of the Grisons wants to assume a leading role in the implementation of the SDG as part of the strategic vision of the PRME programme. It is crucial that we renew and maintain the SDG Dashboard contents at least once a year. Luckily we are being supported by David Steingard and his team from the Haub School of Business during this process.