The Worcester education for sustainable development model follows a number of strands and has been developed following the Higher Education Academy (now Advance HE) Green Academy programme.
The University of Worcester was one of the first Universities to follow the Green Academy change programme. Read the University of Worcester's evaluation report.
The University Learning and Teaching Strategy includes a commitment to ‘Education for Sustainable Futures’ and progress is reported on regularly to Academic Board via the Learning Teaching and Student Experience Committee. The Director of Quality and Educational Development is a member of the Sustainability Strategy Group.
The expectation to embed ‘Education for Sustainable Futures’ in all courses is part of the University’s Course Approval and Departmental Periodic Review processes and ‘Social Responsibility’ is one of the five Graduate Attributes to be embedded in all university courses and curricula. To support this work from 2021-22 the University wide professional development programme ‘Learning Design for Teaching Excellence’ has offered bookable staff workshops on ‘Embedding Education for Sustainable Development in your course’. These workshops are available for all School staff or course teams and align with the Learning and Teaching Strategy Implementation Plan.
The University’s commitments to sustainability are also evident in its Research and Knowledge Exchange Strategy, which identifies ‘Sustainable Futures’ as a key global research challenge and an area of strength and focus for research and knowledge exchange at Worcester. The Sustainability Strategy Group reports regularly to the Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee. Research deeply informs teaching and learning at the University, with many opportunities for students to engage in sustainability research projects (see some examples below).
Education and learning targets
Education and learning SMART targets for 2021/22
Our targets for this year are:
- Retain Responsible Futures accreditation, Summer 2022
How are we going to achieve these targets?
- Implement all actions within RF Action Plan by next audit date, July 2022.
- Engage with at least one course team in each of the academic Schools to promote awareness of ESD and support mapping of course curricula to the SDGs.
- Undertake two student-centred ESD learning and teaching/LfRF projects on mapping curricula to the SDGs and sustainability competencies/graduate attributes.
- Increase the participation in NUS SDG teach-in by 10% from 2020-21 levels on the number of students and educators engaged.
- Increase the participation of students undertaking the Sustainability Literacy Test (SuLiTest) by 20% on 2020-21 numbers.
- Encourage 5% of staff and students at UW to undertake Carbon Literacy training.
- Regularly report on progress at Sustainability Strategy Group, Learning Teaching and Student Experience and Research and Knowledge Exchange Committees.
- Collate and showcase examples of UW ESD good practice, via bespoke digital magazine (susthingsout.com), Realising Teaching Excellence Blog, Share and Inspire.
- Run EAUC Emerging Leaders course during 2021-2022.
Download our full current qualitative and quantitative targets and progress against targets from Carbon Management & Targets page.
Education and learning projects
A bespoke tool for benchmarking sustainability in the curriculum and research was developed in 2019 and you can read about the benchmarking tool and our results. This mapped the university’s curriculum to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
You can also read a detailed report on Students Sustainability Skills at the University of Worcester conducted by the National Union of Students SOS UK in November 2021.
Learning for Responsible Futures program
Projects to further enhance embedding sustainability in the taught curriculum include the Learning for Responsible Futures program. This scheme is a joint initiative between The Education Quality Unit and the Sustainability Department and has given over 20 awards of around £2,000 to small teams for collaborative projects working across the organisation and the community to connect sustainability thinking and practice.
Students are co-creators on all projects, and you can see some example student presentations.
More student led research projects:
Students engage in a range of educational projects around sustainability issues, using the university and the city as a ‘living lab’. Examples of some recent projects include,
NUS Responsible Futures accreditation
The University and Students' Union were delighted to obtain the inaugural National Union of Students Responsible Futures accreditation in 2015 and have been reaccredited fourth time in June 2022. This demonstrates real action on education for sustainable development and whole institution approach to sustainability and social responsibility.
In our August 2020 Audit Report, the Lead Auditor said:
"It has been a pleasure working with the University of Worcester and University of Worcester Students’ Union, seeing their work go from strength to strength. The dedication of staff and officers is helping to make exciting progress for a whole-institution approach to sustainability learning. The high-level support for progressing sustainability at the University is greatly contributing towards the strategic and policy level commitments being made to ensure sustainability is a core institutional priority. Congratulations on your re-accreditation!"
Following our re-accreditation in June 2022, we are awaiting our Audit Report from SOS-UK.
Read our 2020-2022 action plan to learn how the Students’ Union and University worked in partnership to continuously improve between the 2020 and 2022 audits
Students can get paid to work alongside university staff teams helping to create bespoke projects and ideas revolving around sustainability themes which fit the work of their departments or services. For more information on how to get involved or about our projects visit our Green Impact pages.
As one of the country’s major providers of education, training and research for the children’s workforce, the University of Worcester has signed up to the SDG Accord and have mapped our sustainability work to the Global Goals. Read about it here.
To support the teaching, research and community the University has developed a unique website www.susthingsout.com whose strapline is change today protect tomorrow and links curriculum, campus and community.