Leading Curriculum Change for Sustainability: Quality Enhancement

7th December 2012

The HEFCE LGM funded project which sought to introduce Education for Sustainable Development concerns into education quality agendas has now concluded. The Team would like to share the key outcomes with EAUC Members and beyond. 

Online Guide to Quality and Education for Sustainability in HE

The core output, the online Guide to Quality and Education for Sustainability in HE, is now live at: http://efsandquality.glos.ac.uk/.

The Guide contains video clips, insights, tips and adaptable tools for institutions to take and use, to help in the development of strategic approaches to EfS as a cross-cutting curriculum enhancement agenda.
 
The Guide combines lessons from the five institutional pilot projects with a sector-wide view of how ESD connects with quality assurance and enhancement in HE. It draws on the perspective gained from key partner agencies in the project, such as QAA and HEA, as well as the project’s expert advisers and critical friends. The aim in creating this resource was to share practice and insights from this initiative about how to bring ESD to life in systemic ways within loosely-coupled, complex HE institutions, including consideration of some of the academic and leadership issues involved.

QAA actions and the UK Quality Code for HE

The QAA has played a critical role in the project, helping to shape the project outcomes at sector level and taking specific actions to progress the agenda. These actions emerged through the involvement of the QAA and collaborative work with its Research, Development and Partnerships Unit. This level of interest in the initiative has signalled that there is now support at senior level for ESD to move into mainstream education discussion in HE, and in relation to the increasingly diverse range of HE providers.
 
QAA has taken two significant steps to advance thinking around ESD in relation to its own work, which also provide platforms and legitimisation for broader engagement:
 
i) Including ESD in the UK Quality Code for HE, which gives ESD its first point of entry into mainstream quality assurance frameworks at sector level. This positions ESD in the strategic approach to learning and teaching that is expected of all institutions and underpins the sector’s approach to institutional review to ensure the quality of academic programmes. 
 
ii) Commissioning the development of a QAA stakeholder-led guidance briefing on ESD, which will support and extend the inclusion of ESD in the UK Quality Code for HE. This document will be an important tool to improve sector-wide understanding and engagement around ESD, addressing key issues of definition, purpose and reach for a range of staff. The potential users of this national guidance include future subject benchmarking committees, professional bodies, external examiners, directors of learning and teaching, and collaborative partners. 

This launched in June 2014 - view it on the Sustainability Exchange

Inter-agency collaboration on ESD

Through the project work at sector level, connections have been forged with key forums and agencies connected with the curriculum, leadership, student perspectives and professional practice. Several actions will follow, to take the next steps in engaging relevant stakeholders with ESD in relation to their core areas of work and to ensure that the project legacy continues. 
 
These national agencies and funding councils plan to engage collaboratively on ESD to continue this line of work, with the intention to hold a sector-wide event in 2013. This participatory approach should help to progress the broader agenda and the systemic change impulse of ESD, to generate multi-level supports for further institutional change and curriculum innovation.
 
We hope that colleagues will engage positively with the ripples that have been initiated by the HEFCE LGM project over the next 12 months and would value feedback on the online Guide. 

HEFCE LGM Project Team: Daniella Tilbury, Alex Ryan, John Blewitt, Martin Haigh, Harriet Sjerps-Jones, Pauline Ridley, Marie Harder

Quality Assurance Agency Lead: Anthony McClaran
Higher Education Academy Lead: Simon Kemp
HEFCE Lead: Andrew Smith

 
 
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