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.

View content

The University’s Climate Change Education Strategy was first approved by the Board of Governors in 2017. It 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.

These first steps have evolved into sustainable development and learning about the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals becoming embedded into all aspects of the curriculum including formal, informal and subliminal learning. Our Sustainable Development Policy and Environmental Strategy explain how we approach this as an Institution, in partnership with our Student Union. 2018 also saw the creation of the Centre for Climate Change Education and Communication.

2021 was an exciting year which was the launch of the Centre for Climate Change Action and Education, led by Dr Simon Boxley. The Institute for Climate and Social Justice was also created in 2021, focusing on the intersections of climate change and social justice in global communities and led by Professor Robert Beckford.

Participation in the NUS Responsible Futures Programme is an essential guiding element of our education for sustainable development strategy. In 2019, the University was awarded the prestigious Responsible Futures accreditation, demonstrating a whole-institution approach to education for sustainable development. We will be seeking re-accreditation in 2021.

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 Programme and Curriculum Audit

Responsible Futures is a whole-institution supported change programme and accreditation mark to embed sustainability across all aspects of student learning. The framework assists partnerships (made up of institutions and students' unions) to legitimise and mainstream education for sustainable development as a tool for delivering an education, which enables all learners and educators to realise their potential as global citizens.

During the 2017-18 academic year, a baseline 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.

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.

A follow-up Audit at Programme Level was completed in June 2021, led by Dr Simon Boxley. The findings have been disseminated to Faculty Deans, the Sustainability Committee and Student Representatives to individual faculties 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.