Sustainability, Governance, and Methods

Welcome to the Department of Sustainability, Governance, and Methods!

Welcome to the Department of Sustainability, Governance, and Methods which follows the principles of interdisciplinarity and brings together international faculty from several disciplines who are highly engaged in cutting-edge research and high-quality teaching.

Furthermore, we are responsible for the statistical education at MODUL University, but also support staff and students in all kind of methodological questions regarding empirical research.

The following pages will provide an overview about our activities and will hopefully make you more curious about our vision.

Prof. Dr. Sabine Sedlacek, Department Head

Educational Goals

Our study programs acquaint students with the skills needed to address the globalization and sustainability challenges of this millennium. The future world needs people with comprehensive knowledge of strategies for sustainability and governance to provide leadership for local and global communities.

Serving different study programs, another pillar is teaching methodological skills needed for empirical science. The focus of these lectures is on understanding methodology, which means getting acquainted to the basic procedures, knowing about their features, being able to implement them by means of professional statistical software and to reflect and interpret the outcomes of statistical reasoning critically. Finally, the ubiquitous role of statistics in science as well as in society is illustrated.

Research Focus

  • Governance for Innovation and Sustainable Development
    Innovation and sustainable development are both highly visible target areas on the political agenda, and demand the appropriate governance structures for their promotion. The central challenge of governance is developing the institutional capacity to design, promote, gain agreement for, implement, and monitor effective strategies.
  • The Role of Higher Education Institutions in Development
    In the globalized, knowledge-based economy of the 21st century, organizations that produce and disseminate knowledge have a critical role to play in assisting cities, regions, and nations reach and sustain economic competitiveness. How do higher education institutions respond to this recognition, by expanding their activities beyond teaching and basic research to include economic, business, and technology development?
  • Democracy in Transition
    How democratic development can be fostered in different conditions and societal contexts, and how social and economic development alters the perception of democracy form a core research focus.
  • Tourism and Regional Development Policy
    In the last few decades there has been a paradigm shift in how we view the relationships among tourism, development, and sustainability. Indeed there is a fragile interdependence between tourism, environmental quality, and regional economic well-being. How can tourism and regional development strategies be coordinated to achieve sustainable development?
  • Program and Public Policy Evaluation
    The expansion and deepening of new forms of governance, particularly for economic development and environmental sustainability, comes with increased demands for accountability for the use of public resources. How effective are public and public-private initiatives in achieving their intended outcomes? What types of organizational structures are most suitable under contingent conditions? How effective is the implementation process and how responsive are organizations to diverse needs?
  • The assessment of living conditions, well-being and the quality of life and its connection to social sustainability
    Well-being does not only depend on so-called objective conditions, but on subjective ones as well. Therefore, subjective indicators are involved in official statistics in the meantime (subjective well-being, life satisfaction), e.g. in the Eurobarometer where a quite simple question has to be responded to. Current knowledge states that the reliability/validity of those indicators is sufficient to apply those indicators, but still full of problems. The research activities planned shall improve the quality of satisfaction or well-being-indicators and help to establish them in societal monitoring.
  • Statistical methods and their properties, especially non-parametric procedures
    In multivariate analysis, more flexible analytical tools for hypotheses testing would be desirable. Non-parametric procedures such as permutation tests could combine features of explorative approaches (data mining) with rigorous hypotheses testing. The limitations of the current inventory have become evident to us when trying to analyze the effects of shares of subpopulations on PISA performance. Another focus lies on forecasting methodology, especially regarding forecasts in tourism, and in the application of meta-analytic techniques in the context of the effects of environmental conditions.
  • Educational studies, especially regarding evaluation studies of national systems such as PISA or PIRLS
    The complex methodology of international comparison studies of students' achievements give reason to analyzing the fundamental properties of the measurement instruments, especially regarding issues such as the dimensionality of the item pools administered. Another area of interest are birthday effects which have been found in the context of the level of education in official statistics' population data.