DMU to put Sustainable Development Goals at heart of education

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals are to be embedded into the curriculum at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).

Academics are drawing up plans to finalise how the 17 global goals will be incorporated into all aspects of DMU’s teaching, learning and research.

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 It is the university’s aim to be uniquely defined by the objectives to improve a broad range of ecological and humanitarian issues including poverty, hunger, health, education, climate change and social justice.

As the lead HE institute in the UN’s #JoinTogether campaign, DMU is leading universities and organisations around the world to address each goal to ensure all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.

Abigail Moriarty, DMU’s Director of Learning and Teaching, said: “This is about standing up and saying this is what we are going to be doing.

“We will be looking at the Sustainable Development Goals and how we can incorporate them all into the curriculum.

“When it comes to education provision, we are going to put our stamp on these goals. We want them to be at the forefront of everything we do at DMU.”

She added: “Staff and students are all working together to show a real willingness to move forward with this.”

The environmentally friendly changes to the curriculum also come in response to requests from students. A recent survey by the National Union of Students revealed that 82 per cent of DMU students said they want wanted sustainable development to be part of their courses.

It is also hoped that this focus on some of the planet’s most pressing challenges will create a better knowledge and understanding of environmental issues, as well as promoting vital life skills such as leadership, critical thinking and resourcefulness.

Overall, it is hoped that students and staff will be inspired to become responsible ‘global’ citizens and face the environmental challenges ahead of them.

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Andrew Reeves, Senior Lecturer at DMU’s Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development, said DMU was showing how committed it was to supporting the UN’s global goals.

He said: “We are embedding the Sustainable Development Goals across all learning and teaching at DMU.

“This will include the formal curriculum, the informal curriculum of all activities outside the lecture theatre, and also the hidden curriculum of how everyday life is lived by students.

“Each faculty will have Sustainable Development Champions and these goals will also be implemented into strategies and staff development.

“Everyone is incredibly enthusiastic about these goals and this will absolutely help DMU to excel. It’s about empowering students for their future lives, but also adds to DMU’s quality and distinctiveness.”

DMU has always shown its commitment to successfully shaping a sustainable world. Teams of staff already take part in the Green Impact environmental accreditation scheme, which encourages them to adopt greener habits in the workplace. DMU’s Students’ Union has also signed up to NUS Responsible Futures, an externally assessed accreditation mark that reflects the social responsibility and sustainability of universities.

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Supporting UN Sustainable Development Goals

Members of DMU’s Sustainable Development Taskforce have been driving efforts to promote and incorporate the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals via the Education for Sustainable Development Forum. More than 20 academics, professional staff and students recently came together for a workshop to discuss the SDG plan, which is expected to be finalised by September.

Karl Letten, DMU’s Environment and Sustainability Officer, said: “We are doing a lot already, but there is much more to do.

“We want to keep this dialogue going and ensure staff and students have the skills, understanding and motivation to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals.”

 He added: “Changing education is the first step towards changing the whole of society.”

Posted on Tuesday 3rd July 2018

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