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Sustainability at the University of Gloucestershire – a brief history Vice Chancellor’s Seminar, March 2007 Prepared by Carolyn Roberts.

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Presentation on theme: "Sustainability at the University of Gloucestershire – a brief history Vice Chancellor’s Seminar, March 2007 Prepared by Carolyn Roberts."— Presentation transcript:

1 Sustainability at the University of Gloucestershire – a brief history Vice Chancellor’s Seminar, March 2007 Prepared by Carolyn Roberts

2 Mission and Vision, 2007 Sustainability has been central to the University of Gloucestershire's mission and vision for a long time. It is an explicit commitment in the Strategic Plan headlines, and is carried forward at the highest levels of the institution It embraces both our institutional 'housekeeping' and the learning in which our students engage


4 Sustainability Policy and Strategies Sustainability ‘underpins each of the University’s strategic priorities and informs all elements of University life. The University promotes sustainable development, locally and globally, through teaching, research, knowledge transfer and the general conduct of its business.’

5 Definitions ‘The University of Gloucestershire supports the definition of sustainable development as proposed by the Brundtland Report (WCED, 1987) “development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”’

6 The University’s Sustainable Development Policy is integrated with other University processes and is compliant with legislation and regulations. The Policy is based upon commitment to the following principles: · continual improvement, through setting objectives and targets, continuous monitoring and review; · complying with, and where appropriate exceeding, applicable legal and other requirements relevant to our operations; · prudent use of natural resources and the prevention of pollution; · communicating University commitment to sustainable development across the institution and beyond.

7 An early start Gloucestershire was one of the earliest UK HEIs to establish an Environmental Management Committee (Chair, Dean of Environment & Leisure, Steve Owen) and develop an Environmental Strategy, including a curriculum policy, as far back as 1991.

8 Environmental Management Committee Included committed representatives from across the institution, from academic and support areas Included both people with understanding of the national context of HE, and those with operational responsibilities for campuses Began with policy, single focus initiatives, and awareness raising From 1993 onwards, involved students in auditing institutional practice

9 Rewards We were identified as a national environmental 'Trail-blazer' by Forum for the Future and the Department of the Environment in 1996, including in respect of transport, energy, waste management and the curriculum.

10 Shifting emphasis In 2000, the EMC changed to the Sustainable Development Committee Representation stayed much the same, but chairing shifted to the Head of the School of Environment in 2002 Emphasis shifted towards securing ISO14001 and systematising responsibilities, rather than one off initiatives c. 2003, Health, Safety and Environment Manager post was defined

11 Strategy areas by 2005 Transport Waste Management Utilities Procurement Curriculum ‘Buildings and estates’ and ‘community relationships’ were scheduled for development in 2005 but did not proceed

12 External recognition In 2005 we were the first English University to achieve B.S. ISO14001, the Environmental Management System standard. This included evaluating the curriculum regularly as part of the system, alongside transport, energy use, water consumption, waste management and so on, which was innovative

13 Our greatest impact? Our students have the greatest potential impact on the external world of any of our practices We want them to graduate with a strong imperative to carry sustainable practice into their professional, family and civic life

14 Curriculum Policy ‘This is a constituent part of the Sustainable Development policy and is consistent with the University Teaching, Learning and Assessment Policy. It commits the University to Education for Sustainable Development, an area where the University aspires to be an exemplar of good practice. It will provide appropriate curricular opportunities for students to develop knowledge and skills relevant to sustainable development, and to explore values and attitudes, both their own and those of others.’

15 The curriculum The institution's ‘State of the Environment Report’ (1993) noted that every student had an opportunity to consider what were then referred to as 'environmental issues' as a formal part of their course, regardless of their discipline. Specific tuition was available on environmental issues in different disciplines, for example English, Theology, Art, Local Policy, Leisure Management and others. Staff development was offered The QA aspect was quietly dropped during the dash for University title in the late 1990s

16 Raising the profile In 1994/5 we participated in the national seminar series 'Taking Responsibility: Promoting Sustainable Practice through Higher Education Curricula', funded by the Council for Environmental Education, in partnership with the Department of the Environment and WWF(UK). One book of the associated series, on 'Sport, Leisure, Hospitality and Tourism' was produced from here. Seminars, symposia and conferences on all sorts of sustainability themes continue

17 Research Research explicitly in environmental disciplines, on rural areas through the 'Countryside and Community Research Unit', and more generally through the 'Geography and Environmental Management Research Unit‘ and School of Environment, flourished. Many partnerships with organisations such as the Environment Agency, local government, national government, quangos and businesses. Research on sustainability is more widespread than this, e.g. GBS, Humanities

18 Business relationships We involve students directly in research so that they gain first hand experience of the practicalities of sustainability in real world settings. We draw heavily on the 'Gloucestershire Green Business Club', which is run from here in conjunction with Glos Econet, for placements, and other opportunities for students to practice Local businesses tell us how they benefit from our students' expertise. These partnerships are part of our sustainability philosophy.

19 CETL In 2005 we were successful in a national competition run by the Higher Education Funding Council for England to identify Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, and were awarded almost £5M. Our new Centre is the Centre for Active Learning in Geography, Environment and Related Disciplines and has a sustainability remit. It will work across the University

20 Partnerships and active learning For sustainability reasons we foster students having 'real' experiences with actual people and live projects, including undertaking such things as environmental audits of businesses, pollution surveys for local groups, community development and heritage projects, projects in conjunction with organisations such as the Black Environment Network, the Waterways Trust, the National Trust and so on

21 Local, national and international initiatives We have many examples of innovative longstanding sustainability and community partnerships, mainly within academic areas We host the national sector organisation, the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges

22 Teaching and Learning, 2007 All students in all disciplines have opportunities to study sustainability as part of their courses, and this is enshrined and ensured in our course development and quality assurance processes at least in theory. One module in Creative Writing has been shortlisted for the national 'Green Gown' award this year A book capturing entitled 'Greener by Degrees: Exploring sustainability in Higher Education curricula' containing 35 case studies from across the University comes out in March

23 Professional bodies The University supports its staff in making contributions to national level professional bodies’ policy on environmental and sustainability matters, in academic and support areas It has been part of several national sustainability initiatives on housekeeping

24 Following ISO14001 The Sustainable Development Committee was reconfigured in August 2005 Chairing shifted to the Director of External Relations Membership was reduced

25 Awards We were runner up in the ‘Green Gown’ award in 2005/2006 for our Transport Policy We were Highly Commended this year in the Times Higher Education Supplement Awards for outstanding sustainability We have applied for ‘Beacon of Public Understanding’ status (competition) We are submitting and entry for the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for H & FE, on a sustainability theme (competition)

26 Aspiration? We want to act as a national and international role model for other universities

27 8. Anchoring new approaches in the culture 7. Consolidating gains and producing more change 6. Generating short term wins 5. Empowering broad-based action 4. Communicating the change vision 3. Developing a vision and strategy 2. Creating a guiding coalition 1.Establishing a sense of urgency Kotter’s Eight Stage model of change

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