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 Curriculum Design Policy, Course Approval and Departmental Periodic Review processes. ‘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.
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 annually and the Students’ Union and students reaction to these reports. https://susthingsout.com/student-sustainability-skills-survey/
The University participates annually in the SOS-UK SDG Teach In campaign which calls on educators to pledge to include the UN Sustainable Development Goals into their teaching, training, learning and assessments. In 2023, the University finished in 8th place overall for the number of educators participating and in 10th place overall for the number of students reached. See the 2023 results here.
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 SMART targets
Our current targets and some examples of how we are going to achieve them can be accessed through the sustainability targets document.
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).
Worcester’s Business School have also mapped courses and modules to the SDGs as part of their PRME accreditation. A further Student’s as Partners (SAPs) project has sought to build on this work and review different frameworks for mapping University of Worcester courses to the SDGs and our Graduate Attributes.
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’. Other 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 June 2022 Audit Report, one of our student auditors said:
“Through the Responsible Futures audit and other processes, [the University of Worcester and Students’ Union] allow students to have a voice in sustainability, which is something we cherish so much.”
Read our 2022-2024 action plan to learn how the Students’ Union and University worked in partnership to continuously improve between the 2022 and 2024 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.