Centre for Bioscience, The Higher Education Academy

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Education for Sustainable Development

Do our degree programmes already promote sustainability?

Almost certainly! Even if the word sustainability is not explicit in our curricula and learning objectives it is likely that we refer to issues such as energy use, resource acquisition, recycling and careful disposal of chemicals etc. If we want to make the link more explicitly it would be easy to do so in most cases. For example, when looking at the development of a new drug you might consider: the environmental impact of the development and manufacture process; the toxicity of the breakdown products from the drug; or how the drug may be ethically tested on animal and human subjects.

Some curricula include specialist modules in sustainability or sustainable development as core or electives. Examples include:

The Centre for Active Learning and the University of Gloucestershire published "Greener by Degrees" in 2007. This publication explores sustainability in departments and degree programmes across the institution, giving an insight into haw teaching staff have incorporated sustainability into their curricula, and also giving a student viewpoint on sustainability.

The Centre has produced an Ethics audit, incorporating sustainability, which may help you consider the content and design of your course with respect to the issue of sustainability (i.e. use of renewable resources) and to see where the programme of study could be developed to better address these issues.


But do employers want people who know about sustainability?