This blog is by way of an invitation for anyone interested in developing sustainability issues in programmes and modules to attend a workshop on 9th March 2016 at 12.30 run by the Education for Sustainable Development Working Group . Contact Nick Bunyan, firstname.lastname@example.org in the Centre for Lifelong Learning for more details or just book on to the event.
Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is a university responsibility.
Last year QAA published a framework for Education for Sustainable Development (2014) that is meant to guide UK universities towards the development of curricula that meet HEFCE’s vision:
“Within the next 10 years, the higher education sector in this country will be recognised as a major contributor to society’s efforts to achieve sustainability – through the skills and knowledge that its graduates learn and put into practice.”
Some of the most exciting work for ESD has been done by a group of staff from across all three Faculties sponsored by Facilities Management Sustainability Team and enthusiastically supported by The Green Guild. Putting our university strategy into action, The Guild hosted an event at which students from three different disciplines came together to present their work from modules focusing on environment and using the campus as a city in microcosm.
The project arose out of changes needed to a second year Geography and Planning module resulting from a significant increase in numbers, mainly from XJTLU students to the programme (95 Chinese; 175 total), a desire to promote good group work and interdisciplinary and intercultural working, and a need to make the course more engaged with the real world. The assignment required students to respond to a brief from Facilities Management (the client) for proposals for Greening The Campus.
The module brings together students and staff and students from disciplines and departments from across all three faculties.
For academic staff, being strategic in their career planning and being part of effective collaborative networks appears to be essential ingredients for a successful academic endeavour. At the Centre for Lifelong Learning, as part of our academic development remit we recently held two workshops exploring these broad topics with groups of academic staff from the university’s three faculties.
The workshops were led by Professor Shelda Debowski who has extensive knowledge and experience in academic and senior management roles in higher education.
The workshops were delivered in a participatory manner and Liverpool academics were keen to share their experiences of making strategic decisions in their careers as well as how they manage and develop their collaborative networks in relation to their research and professional activities.
Professor Debowski provided an in-depth analysis of the higher education sector based on her experiences in both academic and senior management roles. This clarified the expectations stemming from academic and funding institutions and supported workshop participants towards reflecting on and sharing their own perceptions of higher education whilst recognising at the same time the role they play in this highly competitive and global environment.
Both workshops provided insights to good practice in planning academic careers and participating academic staff discussed disciplinary and interdisciplinary practices regarding strategic career planning and collaborative work in teaching and research.
Summaries from each workshop together with key observations by Professor Debowski are available in the videos provided below. In addition, Professor Debowski offered her top suggestions for being strategic in making choices for an academic career and for establishing and maintaining effective collaborations.
32 research staff (primarily postdocs) from the north-west region (Universities of Liverpool, Manchester, Liverpool John Moores and Manchester Metropolitan) attended a full day event and were involved in activities providing them with the opportunity to reflect on their career aspirations within and outside academia. The event endorses the 2008 Concordat to support the career development of researchers, namely by demonstrating the importance for researchers to be proactive in planning and pursuing an engaging and rewarding career.
Structure of the event and feedback
During the event, participants were assigned in groups of between six and seven members and they participated in activities that provided opportunities for discussing career options with their peers, reflecting on their current role and developing personalised strategies to pursue their career ambitions. Throughout the day, participants were encouraged to be open-minded in their plans whilst remaining realistic and being supported by their peers and tutors.