ELS-59003 Sustained Idealism in Times of Urgency


Credits 3.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Individual Paper1
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)MSc. L Huijgen
Lecturer(s)MSc. L Huijgen
Examiner(s)prof. dr. ir. AEJ Wals

Language of instruction:


Continuation courses:

ELS66400 Leadership for Transformation;
ELS53506 Empowerment for Sustainability;
ELS65800 Intuitive Intelligence;
ELS66800 Personal Leadership and Effectiveness.


Note: this course has a maximum number of participants. The deadline for registration is one week earlier than usual. See academic year: (http://www.wur.nl/en/Education-Programmes/Current-Students/Agenda-Calendar-Academic-Year.htm)->Registration for Courses.
This course aims at students that wish to investigate their place and entanglement in the larger world system and in relation to the natural world in order to develop an idealism that is firmly grounded in reality. We gain insight in pragmatic idealism based on literature and explore this by defining the student’s ambition and realm of influence. We investigate competences in systemic thinking and -practice to be able to place ourselves within rather than apart from the natural world, decentralizing the individual. This enables us to hold an integrative perspective bringing forth new and realistic views on sustainability. We zoom in on compassionate capabilities and apply personal resilience tools in order to nurture motivation and energy. In this way we aim to balance the student’s drive to contribute to a better world with the skills to cope with ideals that prove hard to reach in an often complex and challenging world and the inevitable set-backs.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- reflect on idealism and pragmatism in order to remain realistic and set achievable goals;
- use systemic thinking and practice to investigate their relationship with the larger world system and the natural world in order to be able to hold an integrative perspective;
- apply different tools to foster personal resilience in contributing to a better world and prevent burnout or apathy.


The course has a whole person approach to learning which means a broad range of activities including but going beyond literature and analytical thinking. The course invites students to be touched, to give personal input and to have an open attitude. It is a collective and co-created learning journey in which we actively use the students’ contributions. Activities include interactive group exercises, dialogue, reflection and outdoor activities. Wherever possible we will use literature as a sound base for exploration. 


The course will be assessed by the quality of a reflective assignment. Minimum mark is 5.5. Prerequisite for passing the course is active participation in all sessions.


The course guide and content materials are offered online on Brightspace.