The futures initiative report - the first two Years, Canterbury Christ Church University

Tags: students | community | courses | future | academics

The Futures Initiative seeks to develop sustainability perspectives in academic life at Canterbury Christ Church University. Launched in 2011, the initiative has worked closely with 20 colleagues from all Faculties of the University and drawn over 100 more into wider debates and discussions As well as promoting links between the University and external community groups, the Futures Initiative actively encourages the involvement and engagement of students in both the planning and the delivery of new courses,. The long term aim is to build the capacity and critical mass needed to initiate long term institutional change.

The Futures Initiative is underpinned by a number of clearly articulated principles and understandings including:

  • Staff development: a focus on staff development and capacity building.
  • Voluntary change: a commitment to organic, evolutionary and voluntary change.
  • Inclusive philosophy: an inclusive philosophy which encourages participation from both staff and students.
  • Shallow hierarchies: an organisational structure which favours shallow rather than steep hierarchies.
  • Interaction: a bias towards interactive, holistic and creative approaches to learning.
  • Informal learning: a recognition that learning happens in unexpected ways, often beyond the constraints of the formal curriculum.
  • Emotional dimension: recognition that learning involves emotional and spiritual as well as the cognitive dimension.
  • Hidden barriers: an appreciation that sustainability is a complex notion and that there are many hidden barriers to learning.
  • Uncertainty: a willingness to tolerate uncertainty.
  • Futures: a focus on future needs and responsibilities which cross discipline boundaries.

These principles imply that the Futures Initiative is an exploratory process with no fixed agenda. Making connections to oneself, to others and to the environment stand at its heart. Creative engagement and critical reflection are the tools which are central in its implementation