University’s Sustainability Forum nominated for national teaching award

Tue 25 July, 2017
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Core members of the Sustainability Forum at the University of Bedfordshire have been nominated for the prestigious national Higher Education Academy’s Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE).

The CATE celebrates collaborative work in teaching and learning and looks to capture creative and innovative practices that impact positively on the student learning experience. The award also looks for evidence of changes that take place at an institutional level.

The University’s Sustainability Forum is a dedicated cross-disciplinary community which shares teaching practices and organises to engage the University in education that enables students to construct healthy futures for themselves, their communities and the planet. It has developed an inclusive, multi-disciplinary approach to develop practices, knowledge and understanding of the challenges and opportunities of sustainability, particularly around climate change and sustainable development goals.

The core members were nominated for their sustained successes achieved since 2014. This includes having defined aspects of sustainability for incorporation into the curriculum framework; designing and implementing University-wide events which involve representatives from civic, public and private organisations; adopting experiential learning approaches; and implementing innovative curriculum enhancements, enrichments and assessments relating to sustainability, employability and civic responsibility.

Dr Diana Pritchard, Principal Curriculum Developer at the University and who coordinates the Sustainability Forum, said: “We are all delighted to have been nominated. Working collaboratively in this way has resulted in exciting learning opportunities for our students. Involving practitioners from beyond the University brings to life the imperative to learn about the challenges our communities and societies face, and points the way to work and career opportunities that exist in this field. It has also enabled us to interact with colleagues across the full spectrum of disciplines and to be creative and innovative.”

The value of the activities and impacts of the University’s Sustainability Forum have already been recognised externally. The University League: People and Planet, which placed Bedfordshire at 11 out of 150 universities in the UK, awarded the University full marks for these education initiatives.

Professor James Longhurst, Assistant Vice-Chancellor, Environment and Sustainability at the University of the West of England, and author of the HEA/QAA guidance for UK higher education providers, commented: “I am impressed with the approach they have taken to address the barriers to establishing a culture of education for sustainable development and to act upon the opportunities.”

The winners will be announced in September.

(Photo above: left to right: Dr Nicolas Worsfold, Biological Science; Dr Diana Pritchard, Centre for Learning Excellence; Dr Helen Connolly, Sociology; Dr Tamara Ashley, Dance Performance; David Jazani, Construction)

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