Sustainability Education provides exciting opportunities for curricula to be expanded and re-imagined through a new lens: one which encompasses societal, environmental, and economic concerns.
Each course interprets these concerns in a unique way, depending both on the interests of the students and lecturers involved, as well as the relevance to the core subject materials.
Outlined below are a number of on-going collaborative projects that the Education for Sustainability team (and wider GSI) help to support on.
The Education for Sustainability team, in partnership with the Law Society and Anglia Law School, and supported by the UK Environmental Law Association and Legal Sustainability Alliance, have organised a series of expert-led environmental law seminars open to both students and lecturers. The seminars (which began in March 2018) have explored how we understand the term 'environmental law', the overlaps with other areas of law (planning, international etc), and examples of the sorts of cases that lawyers in this field might work on.
The series emerged out of conversations held between students in the Law School (including the President of the Law Society) and the EfS team, in which the students expressed a desire for more learning on the subject of environmental law. Initial discussions with lecturers in the Law School demonstrated that there was an interest in doing more on this topic, but that they were restricted by a lack of capacity.
The seminar series took place in the second term of the 2017/2018 academic year, and lecturers in the law department have now included it as a dissertation title, and will embed it into first year modules.
In September 2017, Nicola Walshe, BA Primary Education Studies Course leader, received a £1000 Be the Change grant to support her in organising a one-day conference designed to engage students in Environmental and Sustainability Education (ESE). The conference took place on Wednesday, 24th January 2018 and was attended by over 100 delegates, including students from the University of Cambridge PGCE course, and a small number of teachers from local primary schools.
Following highly positive feedback from all attendees, Nicola and the EfS team designed and submitted a proposal for a new arts based ESE module for all third year students which aims to build on the knowledge, skills, values, and attributes they developed through participation in the conference. The module will be taught from September 2018, and will involve close collaboration with a local charity. We also hope to work with student artists in the Cambridge School of Art, thereby encouraging interdisciplinary learning.
The sustainability art prize is a long-standing collaboration between the Global Sustainability Institute and the Cambridge School of Art, in which students from the art school submit artworks in any format (print, illustration, digital etc) that illustrate the complex and multi-faceted issue of sustainability.
Student engagement with the prize remains consistently strong, and the winning pieces are frequently featured in local and regional news. The EfS team are currently in discussion with the Cambridge School of Art as to how the prize might be scaled up to reach new audiences.
Our MSc in sustainability is a pioneering course that integrates digital technologies, immersive residential trips, and 6-week practical placements to create a unique blended learning experience. The course is run in partnership with the Eden Project, based in Cornwall, where students spend 3 weeks engaging with local sustainability challenges. Student testimonials and further information can be found on the Eden project webpages.
The course was first designed in 2013-14 with the intention that students would 'learn about' sustainability, 'experience' sustainability, and 'practice' sustainability.