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Dr Stephen Sterling Senior Advisor for ESD Project, HE Academy & Schumacher Reader in Education for Sustainability, Centre for Sustainable Futures, University.

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Presentation on theme: "Dr Stephen Sterling Senior Advisor for ESD Project, HE Academy & Schumacher Reader in Education for Sustainability, Centre for Sustainable Futures, University."— Presentation transcript:

1 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

2 Key questions Why bother with sustainability issues? Whats the broader position on ESD? What is the HE Academy ESD Project doing? What is CSF at the U of Plymouth doing?

3 Sustainability The universitys 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 planets 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

4 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.

5 HE response: w hats 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

6 Barriers Cited factors Crowded curriculum Perceived irrelevance Limited staff awareness and/or expertise Limited institutional commitment Limited commitment from external stakeholders Too demanding Types of barriers Paradigmatic/psychological Policy/purpose related Structural (governance, compartmentalisation etc) Resource/information deficiency Sustainable Development in HE, HE Academy 2005 (Dawe report)

7 Drivers Rising public interest and concern Shifting views of employers Professions requirements (eg Engineering Council, RICS and Sector Skills Councils) Student demand CSR + SD links Financial savings Marketing and recruitment advantage

8 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

9 HEFCES sustainable development ambition Our vision is that within the next ten years, the higher education sector will be recognised as a major contributor to societys efforts to achieve sustainability. Sustainable Development in Higher Education

10 Two arenas of learning Structured 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 their actors

11 HE Academy Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Project Purpose: to help institutions and subject communities develop curricula and pedagogy that will give students the skills and knowledge to live and work sustainably.

12 Aims 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.

13 Sustainability Literacy: Skills, Knowledge & Attributes Understand environmental, social & economic contexts of each discipline Understand key principles of sustainable development Develop non-reductionist (systemic) problem-solving skills Develop creative & holistic thinking Exercise personal & professional self-reflection

14 Sustainability Literacy: Skills, Knowledge & Attributes 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

15 Skills for Sustainability and Employability Employable Graduates for Responsible Employers

16 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.

17 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

18 Research and support Small Grant Funding 15 projects from 11 HEIs and/or Subject Centres 13 disciplines Mini Grant Funding 8 projects from 9 HEIs covering all disciplines around theme of sustainability, skills and employability

19 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

20 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

21 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) Community Project Thornbury: involving University of Cardiff, University of the West of England, University of Gloucestershire, Leeds University Conference 10-11 July 2007 Sustainability and the Curriculum Presentations available under Events (Past)

22 Coordination and dissemination Subject Centre Activity Projects Workshops Joint events Publications Module Guidance Document, and Learning and Teaching Framework* Sustainability Policy* * (joint post with Centre for Sustainable Futures - Plymouth)

23 Coordination and dissemination: The Academy ESD Website Our strategy Publications 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

24 Curriculum policy The university · 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

25 CSFs 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)

26 Possible curriculum responses Minor modifications ESD in PDP New podules New modules New programmes Generic or common modules Cross-disciplinary and extra-curricular events Dissertations, projects and work place learning placements SD infusion in assessment

27 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

28 Todays 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 persons 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.

29 Reflections from Our Swap Shop…

30 Some key sites HEFCEs online resource for sustainable development in HE Higher Education Academy ESD Project Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC) Student Force for Sustainability Centre for Sustainable Futures (CSF) at UP Higher Education Environmental Performance Improvement (Green Gown Awards) (Green Gown Awards) Forum for the Future People and Planet Green League 2007 Ecocampus project

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