Stephen Sterling Heather Witham PresentationPresentation Transcript
Dr Stephen Sterling Senior Advisor for ESD Project, HE Academy & Schumacher Reader in Education for Sustainability, Centre for Sustainable Futures, University of Plymouth Heather Witham , ESD Project Coordinator, HE Academy Sustainability in the curriculum: a view from the Higher Education Academy Subject Centres
Why bother with sustainability issues?
What’s the broader position on ESD?
What is the HE Academy ESD Project doing?
What is CSF at the U of Plymouth doing?
‘ The university’s focus is on:
‘ Acknowledging the threats posed by human actions to life-sustaining natural environments and developing an understanding of and commitment to actions directed to diminishing or removing those threats and so ensuring a legacy for future generations, human and other-than-human;
Enabling individuals and communities to achieve their potential in ways which protect their futures as well as enhance the well-being and resilience of the planet’s life-support systems;
Developing an understanding that cultural, economic, social, environmental and technological change processes are dynamically interconnected and mutually impacting.’
Sustainability Policy , University of Plymouth, March 2008
Embedding sustainable development: why?
Contemporary socio-economic/environmental conditions and challenges: graduates need to be aware, informed and competent
Evidence of increasing employer/professions interest in ‘sustainability literacy’
Increasingly apparent relevance and links to other HE agendas, particularly employability and internationalisation
Increasing expectations from funding councils on the sector
Provides relevant teaching and learning context to most disciplines, potential for pedaogical innovation, real world research, case studies, community links etc.
HE response: w hat’s the position?
Relatively small but growing number of courses focused on SD
Education for sustainable development (ESD) quite strong in a few disciplines
Most QAA Benchmarks are silent
ESD is absent from most L&T strategies
Most UK graduates are not “sustainability literate”
But ……new surge of interest and activity corresponding with rising political/public debate
Limited staff awareness and/or expertise
Limited institutional commitment
Limited commitment from external stakeholders
Types of barriers
Structural (governance, compartmentalisation etc)
Sustainable Development in HE, HE Academy 2005 (Dawe report)
Rising public interest and concern
Shifting views of employers
(eg Engineering Council, RICS and Sector Skills Councils)
CSR + SD links
Marketing and recruitment advantage
Education as ‘answer’ or the ‘problem’?
The destruction of the planet
‘ is not the work of ignorant
people. Rather it is largely
the result of work by people
with BAs, BScs, LLBs, and PhDs.’
Prof David Orr (1994) ‘ What is education for’? Earth in Mind, Island Press
H E FCE’S sustainable development ambition
‘ Our vision is that within the next ten
years, the higher education sector
will be recognised as a major
contributor to society’s efforts to
Sustainable Development in Higher Education http://www. hefce .ac.uk/pubs/ hefce /2005/05_28 /
Two arenas of learning
- learning by design amongst students in formal education which arises from educational policies and practices
Organisational learning :
- the social learning response to sustainability in organisations, institutions and
HE Academy Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Project
Purpose : ‘t o help institutions and subject communities develop curricula and pedagogy that will give students the skills and knowledge to live and work sustainably .’
1 ‘To research and support the development of ESD in the HE sector, particularly within subject communities’.
2 ‘To build capacity amongst individuals, subject communities and institutions to embed ESD in curricula and pedagogy’.
3 ‘To assist the coordination and dissemination of policy, research and practice relating to ESD in institutions, the HE Academy and the wider field’.
Understand, critically evaluate and adopt values conducive to sustainability
Initiate and manage change which supports sustainable development in personal, institutional and social contexts
Work collaboratively and participate in interdisciplinary teams
- Based on SD in HE: Current practice and future developments, Higher Education Academy 2005
Employable Graduates for Responsible Employers www.heacademy.ac.uk/esd
Research and support
Findings of Student Force report
The trend to more responsible employers is affecting the graduate job market and the demand for more particular competencies from recent graduate recruits.
The graduate employability agenda is becoming more closely linked to the employer sustainability agenda.
There is mounting evidence that students want to work for ethical employers who are environmentally and socially responsible .
Many HEIs are responding to the challenges of ESD through institutional changes in terms of ‘ Campus, Curriculum and Community’ , but not so much in terms of competencies or careers.
Research and support
Advice from the Student Force report – a need to:
Raise academic staff awareness about SD and CSR
Relate student and staff volunteering to academic learning around SD
Link universities and employers on SD themes
Link SD and CSR on campus with teaching and learning
Build on student behaviour/interest
Research and support
Small Grant Funding
15 projects from 11 HEIs and/or Subject Centres
Mini Grant Funding
8 projects from 9 HEIs
covering all disciplines
around theme of sustainability, skills and employability
New mini-grants funded
Are Employers Seeking Sustainability-Literate Graduates?
Developing Participative ESD to Enhance the Links between Sustainability Literacy, Sustainability Competencies, and Employability
Green Collar Graduates for the Future of the Fashion Industry
Greening Business: Employability and Sustainability
Improving Student Awareness of SD and Related Employability Issues through Embedded Course Content
Regional Reflection: Sustainable Career Guidance
Soundings in Sustainability Literacy
Capacity building and networking
Solo HEI Events
University of East Anglia
University of Gloucestershire and Harper Adams College
One planned for Scotland soon
A Three-Day Interdisciplinary Seminar Series
3 universities, 15 disciplines represented, report produced
Capacity building and networking
Regional ESD Networking Events
East Midlands, November 2006
South West, Bristol, March 2007
Scotland, Dundee, June 2007
Wales, Cardiff, 21 May 2008 (all are welcome)
Thornbury: involving University of Cardiff, University of the West of England, University of Gloucestershire, Leeds University
10-11 July 2007 ‘Sustainability and the Curriculum’
http://www. heacademy .ac. uk / esd under Events (Past)
Coordination and dissemination
Subject Centre Activity
Module Guidance Document, and Learning and Teaching Framework*
* (joint post with Centre for Sustainable Futures - Plymouth)
Coordination and dissemination: The Academy ESD Website
Latest news on ESD in the HE sector
Information on all of our projects
Regional networking lists for the South West, Scotland and Wales
ESD events, past (including presentations) and future
Links to disciplinary-specific ESD resources via Subject Centres
Quarterly e-Newsletter (sign up on the site)
Links to relevant policy documents/web pages and partners
Recognises the importance of developing sustainability-literate graduates possessing the skills and dispositions necessary for engagement with the sustainability agenda as professionals, citizens and in their personal lives;
Commits to engaging all students with sustainability concepts and issues in an appropriate context through learning;
Recognises the need for students to appreciate the interdisciplinary nature of the sustainability agenda;
Invites all disciplines to consider how they might best embed sustainability within their curricula and utilise the learning and research opportunities provided by campus and community sustainability initiatives .
University of Plymouth Sustainability Policy March 2008
CSF’s curriculum-related work includes…
UP Sustainability Policy and Action Plan
Sustainability module guidance
Building in sustainability dimension to ‘Skills Plus’
Building into LTHE
Staff ‘wiki’ site on ESD resources and practice
Professional Support Programme (PSP)
Possible curriculum responses
ESD in PDP
Generic or common modules
Cross-disciplinary and extra-curricular events
Dissertations, projects and work place learning placements
SD infusion in assessment
Indicative module guidance aims- egs.
To encourage critical reflection on sustainability issues in the context of xxxx (this subject). (Level I/H)
To encourage students to critically evaluate their own and others’ values and attitudes and behaviours in relation to sustainability issues and determine what constitutes ethical responsibility in relation to such issues.(Level H/M)
To develop a critical appreciation of and ability to identify differences and common ground between different viewpoints and key terms in the sustainability debate. (Level H/M)
U of Plymouth Sustainability Module Guidance document 08
Today’s Swap Shop
Find a couple of other people
Spend a minute or so briefly outlining one idea for embedding sustainability into the curriculum EITHER which you have used, OR which you would like to use OR which you have observed in use. (It does not have to be particularly well developed or innovative!)
Allow a couple of minutes for questioning and observation from the others
Move on to the next person’s offering
After everyone has swapped, briefly explore the elements which make for successful embedding of ESD into the curriculum.
Also: what policy/resource changes would help you take it further? We will feed this back to WAG, HEFCW and our own HE Academy ESD Project.
Reflections from Our Swap Shop…
Some key sites
HEFCE’s online resource for sustainable development in HE http://www. hefce .ac.uk/ susdevresources /
Higher Education Academy ESD Project http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/ esd
Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC) http://www. eauc .org. uk
Student Force for Sustainability www. studentforce .org.uk/
Centre for Sustainable Futures (CSF) at UP www. csf . plymouth .ac. uk