Transformative learning experts
Sustainability prompts us to rethink curriculum priorities and develop futures-oriented learning experiences using an approach known as Education for Sustainability. Sustainability is more than an interest, theme or special topic, to be slotted into an existing module or course. It shapes the kind of education we need to provide and the capabilities we want our graduates to have as professionals.
We see this as the future direction for academic practice – and we have an international reputation for developments we have led at our university and the collaborations we have worked on with other experts worldwide. We also use these ideas and methods from the learning arena to support sustainability through research that is boundary-crossing, participatory and impactful.
Innovation projects in Education for Sustainability
We have led and collaborated on several large scale projects to develop fresh thinking and good practice in Education for Sustainability in the university sector. To date we have worked with over 75 universities worldwide on major sustainability education projects, developing best practice for all disciplines and producing adaptable tools for use by educators and trainers in any setting.
University Educators for Sustainable Development (2013-2016)
Project: Large scale consortium project with experts across Europe, mapping policy and practice, identifying and creating leading practices and built an expert network on EfS.
Participants: 53 organisations across 33 countries. Led by University of Gloucestershire with Charles University of Prague, Leuphana University of Lunenburg, Autonomous University of Madrid.
Focus: Professional development in Education for Sustainability
Funder: European Commission
Flexible Pedagogies: New Pedagogical Ideas (2013)
Project: Commissioned research connecting shifts in pedagogical thinking with agendas in flexible learning and exploring the links with EfS and future learning.
Participants: New Pedagogical Ideas theme led by University of Gloucestershire. Wider Flexible Pedagogy programme composed of five research themes led by Professor Ron Barnett for HEA.
Focus: Flexible Learning and Education for Sustainability
Funder: Higher Education Academy
Leading Curriculum Change for Sustainability (2010-2012)
Project: Building alignment between EfS and quality, with strategic guidance and pilot case studies from institutions, for universities and other stakeholders at all levels.
Participants: Led by University of Gloucestershire in collaboration with the Quality Assurance Agency, Aston University, University of Brighton, University of Exeter and Oxford Brookes University.
Focus: Quality enhancement and Education for Sustainability
Funder: Higher Education Funding Council for England
Our sustainability learning and capacity development
We take strategic steps to develop our own capacity by:
- Having senior management level expertise – our Director of Sustainability has this specialism and works in alignment with the enhancement plans of our Academic Development Unit.
- Education for Sustainability and our LIFT programme is embedded within the University’s Strategic Plan and into our Academic Strategy, as part of our commitment to Sustainability and delivery of the academic goals of our Sustainability Strategy.
- We work with the Students’ Union and course representatives to build collaboration between staff and students and better understand student learning needs in EfS.
- Our Learning Innovation for Tomorrow staff support programme uses the pedagogical frameworks adopted by UNESCO and UNECE to develop professional competence in EfS.
- Sustainability curriculum innovation is part of our central academic staff training course, the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice. See 2019 PGCAP slides.
- We track the progression of our academic sustainability objectives through our Annual Sustainability Report which covers all our academic schools.