We are working with the NUS Responsible Futures programme - an accreditation mark and supported change programme for a whole-institution approach to environmental sustainability and social responsibility.

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Education for sustainable development is the process of equipping students with the knowledge and understanding, skills and attributes needed to work and live in a way that safeguards environmental, social and economic wellbeing, both in the present and for future generations. HEA QAA ESD Guidance 2014

The University and Student Union are working towards obtaining Responsible Futures accreditation by April 2019. Responsible Futures is the National Union of Students (NUS) supported change programme and whole-institution approach to environmental sustainability and social responsibility. It spans the formal curriculum (teaching, learning and assessment), informal curriculum (on campus and community activities) and subliminal curriculum (organisational policies and practices). The United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals provide the agenda for action in all three areas.

17 Sustainable Development Goals logo

The University’s Climate Change Education Strategy was approved by the Board of Governors in 2017 and commits us to ensuring students graduate from the University with an understanding of how climate change is relevant to their subject area and their everyday lives and how they can address the challenges it presents. 2018 saw the launch of the Centre for Climate Change Education and Communication.

We have been a member of the NUS Dissertations for Good initiative since 2016 and actively encourage students to partner with off-campus organisations and collaborate on dissertations and research projects themed around ethical, environmental, social or economic sustainability.

Responsible Futures Curriculum Audit

During the 2017-18 academic year, a curriculum audit was conducted on behalf of the University’s Responsible Futures Steering Group. The aim of the curriculum audit was to determine the current levels of teaching, learning, and assessment relating to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the University’s three core values, and Education for Sustainable Development pedagogy within taught undergraduate modules. Our aim was to: identify existing good practice; open up a discussion with academics, deans, and across faculties; and establish a quantitative baseline which allows for replicability to track progress over time.

The curriculum audit covered all four University faculties and encompassed almost 1500 modules. Twenty student volunteers, one PhD student and three Winchester Research Apprenticeship Programme (WRAP) students scanned each module’s descriptive document to locate references to the SDGs, the University’s values of Compassion, Individuals Matter and Spirituality, and sustainability more broadly. All results were fed back to individual faculties and work is underway in 2018/19 to progress the integration of the SDGs into the formal curriculum to ensure that all students at Winchester receive education on the SDGs as part of their programme.

Sustainable Development Goals pie chartUniversity Values inclusion pie chart

The results of the baseline audit showed that 49% of the University’s undergraduate modules cover at least one issue related to the SDGs, with 6% of modules covering five or more of the goals. In respect of the University’s values, 43% of our undergraduate modules reflect at least one of the values, with 10% reflecting all three.

Student-led Living Labs Projects

The Commuter Society

The Commuter Society, set up by 2017 graduate Claire Alison, is the largest student society on campus to date. Claire took part in the Student Fellows Project as an undergraduate in 2014/15, advocating for better recognition of commuting students’ circumstances and the challenges they face in immersing themselves in university life due to outside commitments. Claire worked closely with the Environment Team to develop a space on campus that student commuters could use between lectures. As a result of the project, the Commuter Society Lounge was opened at the start of the 2015/16 academic year. It features a kitchen and dining area, sofas, a shower, lockers, networked PC’s and a quiet study area. The new space has been a fantastic success and allowed commuting students from across the institution to meet and socialise together.

Student Interaction with Sustainability

Ross Hayes, a current PhD Student in the Business School, has undertaken a research project to examine the prevalence of student engagement with Responsible Management Education as defined by their choice of dissertation title. The purpose of this study was to understand whether the emphasis on PRME (and more recently on the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs) influences students when given free choice of study topics. He has worked closely with the Environment Team and Professor Carole Parkes on a Curriculum Audit in the academic year 2017-18, exploring where students encounter the SDGs at an Undergraduate level, which has fed into this piece of research.

Survey Results and Student Attitudes

The NUS Skills Survey runs annually at Winchester to track student attitudes and feelings towards sustainable development. The last two years findings show a growing interest and engagement with sustainable development as part of the formal curriculum.

How important is sustainability to us?