The University of Manchester has committed to ensuring that Environmental sustainability becomes ‘a key theme within the curriculum, with opportunities to study at all degree levels, in all disciplines and across all aspects of the wider student experience’ (Manchester 2020 Strategic Plan, 2012).
The Environmental Sustainability in the Curriculum Community of Practice ( CoP) aims to inspire UoM staff to critically and creatively engage with ways of integrating sustainability into the curriculum. In doing so it draws on the thinking, ideas and experiences of UoM staff and individuals and groups beyond the UoM .Through the face-to-face meetings (which run every month during semester time) and this on-line area, it is hoped that the CoP will become a rich hub hub for that critical and creative engagement.
The Online Space
This online space has been set up in order to share information, curriculum ideas, related sustainability events etc. The site is both for staff at the University of Manchester and for anyone beyond the University interested in sustainability in the curriculum
You’ll see that there are a number of areas for participation. The ‘Forum’ area is a space to ask questions, make comments and share ideas. You’ll see the prompt ‘add question’ in the forum area. You can use it for that purpose. Equally you can use it to share ideas etc. Don’t be constrained by the ‘ question’ tag!
A few notes on the term ‘sustainability’
There is significant discussion of the term ‘sustainability’. Some argue that the concept of sustainability is ‘too diffuse to be meaningful’ (Goggin, 2009) and is employed to describe activities that are anything but sustainable. Others, such as David Orr, argue that the nature of ‘sustainability’ will be diversely understood and realized in diverse contexts. The CoP errs to the view that the pliability of the term, and the resulting scope for inclusiveness, allows for rich explorations of sustainability in the curriculum.
The journey thus far
We’ve covered some ground. The below diagram (created in Creately) will give you a sense of what we have covered . You can expand the image to view it properly. In many senses however we are still at the start of the journey with much to do. We need to further explore ways of integrating sustainability so that it features throughout a student’s degree, rather than featuring sporadically and, therefore, incoherently. We are just beginning to get a sense of what academic staff are already doing in sustainability terms across different disciplines and what ‘sustainability’ can mean within and across these disciplines. We are trying to understand what ‘sustainability in the curriculum’ might mean in a research intensive UoM context. We are beginning to think our way into ways in which teaching generally can be enhanced through a focus on sustainability and the pedagogical practices generally associated with it such as ‘experiential learning’. We want to explore ways of working with communities beyond the University in ways which are mutually supportive and give a greater sense of the notion of sustainability in a Manchester context. We are particularly keen for people external to the University to engage with the community so do please come along. Our events are advertised via the ‘Events’ link.