Upcoming meetings, events and news

1. Sustainability in the Curriculum meeting: Carbon literacy

Come along to the next meeting continuing our focus on carbon literacy. Wednesday, 20th April from 2pm to 4pm in University Place, Room 6.206. Dr Chris Stone (MMU) and Lucy Millard (UoM) will discuss current and prospective activities relating to the Carbon Literacy Project. Chris Stone will present an overview and evaluation assessment of an innovative ‘carbon literacy’ (CL) education and training programme delivered to undergraduate students studying MMU postgraduate degree programmes in 2014-15. Lucy Millard will talk about initial plans for a carbon literacy accreditation scheme for staff at the UoM. As is usual in these meetings there will be opportunities for discussion around the theme.

20th EAUC Annual Conference, which will take place at the University of the West of England (UWE) on 25th - 26th May 2016. See website for details: http://bit.ly/1KU8pzq

The Curio Challenge

The CoP community is finding effective ways of integrating ‘sustainability’ into the curriculum at the UoM. This post on the Curio Challenge briefly summarizes key themes covered thus far. You can participate in the Curio Challenge by going to the Forum link and clicking the link Curio Challenge.



The Curio Challenge

The Curio Challenge was conceived as a means of conceptualizing and conveying the links between sustainability and different disciplines, particularly those disciplines not ordinarily associated with sustainability.

People choose an artefact or symbol that, for them, epitomizes the connection between sustainability and their discipline.  The activity offers the ‘thinking space’ for people to work out how they are interpreting the notion of sustainability.    The  idea is that the curios act as prompts  which others will use  to try to guess  the link between sustainability and the academics’ discipline as perceived by the academic. This activity we hope, will   engender  interdisciplinary discussion, offering  academics new perspectives on their own disciplinary area and  a basis for interdisciplinary course design. The activity will take place in a number of stages. In the first stage  we are simply trying to get examples of artefacts or symbols from people with brief reflections on the connections they see between the artefact and their discipline or work.

In one of our first meetings, academics and a member of Manchester Museum staff talked about their Curio ( Click here for notes on the meeting). Examples of the curios can be found in the  ‘Forum’ space  under the Curio Challenge link. The challenge is being taken up also by  individuals beyond the academy.

We’re hoping that easy access to the  forum area, where  people can load their curios, will enthuse people to engage in the challenge.






The ultimate challenge: an Organic development

Image of tree
Courtesy of Helen Dobson

A significant challenge in developing sustainability education is to ensure the approaches used to do so are themselves sustainable. The presenters at the CoP meeting on the 18th February (Bland Tomkinson, Rosemary Tomkinson, Helen Dobson, Fumi Kitagawa, Alexander Clark, Veronica Sanchez and Anna Hiley) discussed ways in which this challenge has been addressed at the University of Manchester and in collaborations with other UK and international institutions. They discussed the rationale for and nature of the problem based approaches used on courses, the reactions of students to those projects and the ways in which collaborations and the work done to foster those collaborations has led to the ongoing organic development and proliferation of these approaches. The discussion is rich and well worth engaging with if you’re interested in sustainability education and its development and problem based learning.

Please find here a recording of the presentation and the related slides (each slide indicates the part of the recording it pertains to):

University of Manchester Community of Practice Sustainability in the Curriculum presentation by Ragged University on Mixcloud





 Key questions 

The presenters raised the following questions that they  were keen for anyone interested to consider and respond to:

  • Should we look at ESD in the wider context of CSR/global citizenship?
  • Do EBL /PBL approaches work for everyone?
  • How can we run student-focussed sessions without extra resources?

You can respond to these questions via the forum area (see top menu bar). You do not need to register to respond to these questions. Simply navigate to the relevant question and start typing.

Resources and references

Slide 5: Tomkinson B, Tomkinson R, Dobson H and Engel C (2008). “Education for Sustainable Development the RAEng pilot course unit”. International Journal of Sustainable Engineering. Vol. 1. No. 1

Slide 31: Problem based learning: A case study of sustainability education

Slide 32: ESD MEP Workbook 2015

Slide 33:  ESD Finland Handbook 2013ESD MEP Workbook 2015


 Slide 35: Hatton & Smith (1995) http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/development/reflection.html [accessed 18.3.15]

Slide 37: Guidance notes to support the development of creative problem-solving skills to address open-ended and wicked problems (please contact Anna Hiley) : [email protected]

Sustainability skills and the workplace

Phrases such as ‘the circular economy’, ‘creating shared value’, ‘social responsibility’ and ‘negative externalities’ reflect growing company/organisational concerns around socio-environmental issues. On June 18th, 2014, the UoM Sustainability in the Curriculum Community of Practice (CoP) focussed on this theme discussing:

  • the understandings and skills graduates need to help develop the sustainability initiatives of companies/organisations;
  • how the academic community can help students develop these understandings and skills;
  • How the importance of such understandings and skills can be conveyed to students;
  • how the importance of such understandings and skills can be conveyed by students to staff

A summary of points made during the meeting can be found here:


Sustainability skills and the workplace