We offer a range of courses and modules that inspire our students to become responsible ‘global’ citizens and face the environmental challenges ahead of them.
Whether we're creating low-carbon communities, designing a dress made from nettles or understanding the challenges of corporate social responsibility, our courses are preparing the next generation of professionals for a sustainable post-carbon society.
Sustainablity focus within our courses
DMU has led the way in teaching sustainability for over 20 years through its Master's programmes in the Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development including current programmes in Energy and Sustainable Building Design, and Energy and Sustainable Development. These programmes have been used by existing and up-and-coming sustainability professionals in business, government, NGOs, and students looking to focus on resource efficiency, climate change, sustainable energy and sustainable buildings.
Sustainability is a key focus of an ever-increasing number of DMU’s taught courses. Examples include undergraduate and Master’s degrees in the school of Fashion and Textiles, which critique ‘Fast Fashion’ and give students practical experiences of developing more responsible alternatives. You can explore sustainability in Arts and Festival Management, make a difference in government by studying International Relations or Politics with a sustainable development focus or develop as a more sustainable practitioner within health and life sciences courses by considering issues such as gender equality and resource use whilst promoting health and wellbeing.
DMU also uses the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the focus of our pre-sessional English courses, studied by hundreds of international students every year, and supports achievement of the SDGs through volunteering, study trips and other co-curricular activities.
Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
Education for Sustainable Development allows every human being to acquire the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values necessary to shape a sustainable future.
Education for Sustainable Development means including key sustainable development issues into teaching and learning; for example, climate change, disaster risk reduction, biodiversity, poverty reduction, and sustainable production and consumption.
It also requires participatory teaching and learning methods that motivate and empower learners to change their behaviour and take action for sustainable development. Education for Sustainable Development consequently promotes competencies like critical thinking, imagining future scenarios and making decisions in a collaborative way (UNESCO).
The university has launched a formal project to embed sustainability into teaching and learning at DMU. The project focuses on the three key areas of the formal curriculum (our teaching); informal curriculum (co-curriculum activities) and the hidden curriculum (what students experience during life on campus). Progress on implementing ESD at DMU and details of the different initiatives which are taking place as part of this project can be found on our Education for the Sustainable Development Goals (ESDG)
One of the mechanisms for monitoring our progress in this area by analysing module and programme descriptions to see the extent to which key sustainability words have been included. This is then reported to the university’s Sustainable Development Task Force which include Dr Adrew Reeves, who is responsible for the progress of Education for the Sustainable Development Goals. Details of progress in this area is shown below.
Monitoring ESD in Modules
The university has a mechanism for reviewing and reporting on progress of the integration of Education for Sustainable Development into the curriculum. The Sustainability Manager is responsible for running an annual assessment of module and programme descriptions to see the extent to which ESD keywords are included in the descriptions. The results are reported annually to senior management at DMU. The results of the recent assessment are included below:-
2015/16 - 88 modules
2016/17 – 79 modules
2017/18 – 88 modules
2019/20 – 102 modules
2020/21 – 131 modules
2021/22 – 128 modules
2022/23 – 197 modules
Academic Training and Support
Sustainability is also one of the guiding principles that underpin the University Teaching Learning Assessment Strategy (UTLAS). We aim to develop staff and students to become responsible ‘global’ citizens in the face of the environmental challenges ahead of them. We also acknowledge the importance of developing and/or embedding an awareness of sustainability in the curriculum in order to encourage respect for the future, support for a more equitable future and action on climate change.
Our aim is that all faculties will offer opportunities for staff and students to engage in sustainability projects aligned with the DMU Sustainability Strategy.
The university provides support and assistance to academic staff who wish to include education for sustainable development within their teaching. This support is available through the Education for Sustainable Development Goals (ESDG) webpages. The webpages provide background information to ESDG, case studies, advice on incoproating ESDG and further guidance.
Senior Responsibility for ESD
Simon Oldroyd Pro-Vice Chancellor Sustainability, Dean of Health & Life Sciences.
Simon is responsible for the university’s activity and strategy related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in education and the curriculum, our continued role as UK SDG16 hub, its associated public engagement projects and all of our sustainability-related engagement with the UN. Simon is also responsible for DMU’s sustainability education projects and embedding sustainability in the curriculum and in our research, including carbon literacy and awareness/education-related work with DSU and DMU’s environmental policy/management activity across the DMU estate.
Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Forum
DMU has created an ESD Forum, led and co-ordinated by Dr Andrew Reeves, to create a space for dialogue, collaboration and participation around ESD. The forum meets on a regular basis (once a term) to discuss ESD issues and potential new initiatives.
The forum has already run a number of workshops around embedding ESD into the taught curriculum and linking to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The workshops have involved academics and students from across the faculties discussing how the taught courses at DMU contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals and what further actions and initiatives are needed. If you are interested in being part of the ESD Forum please contact Dr Andrew Reeves.
Case Studies of teaching and learning activities at DMU that contribute to sustainability and the SDGs can be accessed on the ESDG at DMU website. You can also find short talks and slides on DMU practice from several events organised by the ESD project on this page too.
ESD and the Sustainable Development Goals
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) define the university's approach to sustainability and it guides policy recommendations from academics. An ever evolving series of SDG Policy Briefs showcases the influence of the SDG's on research at the university.
The University is taking part in a programme called Responsible Futures, which is run by the National Union of Students (NUS). Responsible Futures is a whole-institution approach to embedding social responsibility and sustainability across the formal and informal curriculum. It is a supported change programme and accreditation mark that works to put sustainability at the heart of education.
Responsible Future is a framework to assist in creating an enabling environment for staff and students to work together to embed social responsibility and sustainability into teaching and learning. It seeks to legitimise and mainstream education for sustainable development, ultimately helping to ensure students leave education with the knowledge, skills and attributes needed to lead society to a more just and sustainable future.
The framework facilitates a close working partnership between the university and the students union in implementing ESD initiatives. Partnerships are audited by a team of trained students, trained by the NUS, resulting in an externally-verified audit report. Accreditations are awarded annually and remain valid for two years.
DMU undertook its accreditation audit to the Responsible Futures programme in April 2019. The audit was conducted by specially trained DMU students who assessed the institutions against the requirements of the Responsible Futures programme including interviews of senior management and sustainability team members. Following two days of auditing DMU was officially accredited to the Responsible Futures programme.
The University undertook its second Responsible Futures audit in March 2021 following the same process as outlined above. Following the audit by DMU students the University was reaccredited to the Responsible Future programme. Our most recent audit was in March 2023 when we were reaccredited to the Responsible Futures programme for the third time.
Students can boost their employability by getting involved with the dynamic DMULocal programme. The programme mobilises staff and student expertise for the benefit of local communities in Leicester through a variety of social and economic projects. By participating in one or more of our 50 projects, you can enrich your university experience and equip yourself with skills for life after graduation by helping the community living around campus. Students who take part have their efforts recognised in the Higher Education Achievement Report, which is given to you by DMU on completion of your course. Students can target the types of placements they need within projects which will help improve coursework and boost job prospects – with the support of the DMU Local team.
The DMULocal team support staff members to develop projects and initiatives for the programme which support education for sustainable development and engender civic responsibility and global citizenship in both students and staff.
DMU Sustainability Projects
The university also runs 'Living Lab' student projects within the institution which support the work of the sustainability team and are directly linked to coursework. These projects have produced promotional films for the university’s sustainability work and bicycle maintenance videos produced by students as part of their Photography and Video Degree.
The sustainability team within the Estates & Commercial Services Directorate have also worked with postgraduate students on PhD studies such as Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions Policies: Attitudinal and Social Network Influences On Employee Acceptability and Masters students on dissertations topics such as Investigation of High Base Loads in Non Domestic Buildings which used DMU buildings as a case study.
The University has also converted a house on campus to run on renewable energy which students can study and analyse. The University also supports students to discuss sustainability in their courses and on campus as well as running events that students can get involved in such as the 24hours with the Global Goals event and through the SDG Hub.