Learning for Change: Cross-disciplinary Postgraduate Programmes in Sustainability

By David Grierson and Claire Hyland.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Through connecting the local and global, higher education institutions play a vital role in addressing social, environmental and economic challenges and ultimately achieving a sustainable future. New Horizons: Responding to the Challenges of the 21st Century (Scottish Government, 2008), outlines the contributions which Scottish universities should make to the economy, culture and society, and to the political priorities of the Scottish Government. Learning for Change: Scotland’s Action Plan for the Second Half of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (Scottish Government, 2010) examines progress to date and sets out the actions that higher education institutions have committed to undertaking in the second half of the decade and beyond. These two important documents provide the context for work that has taken place at the University of Strathclyde in response to the challenges set out within them. The University of Strathclyde has been ranked first in the Engineering Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Observatory Report 2008 and plans to build on this success. The challenges presented by Sustainable Development are inherently holistic, demanding equal responses from all disciplines and this requires the development of a framework for University-wide, cross disciplinary teaching. This paper describes work that has taken place within the University to develop a new university-wide, multi-disciplinary, Strathclyde Masters programme in Sustainability (SMS) aimed at articulating a framework for integrating flagship postgraduate courses & classes, sustainability literacy, skills training workshops and subsequent continuing professional development courses. Conclusions are presented from the three main bodies of work involved: a review of current thinking in ESD; a multi-stakeholder consultation process involving students, academic and professional services staff within the university, and external stakeholders, and the creation of a Sustainability Map detailing current postgraduate provision of ESD at the University.

Keywords: Education for Sustainable Development, Scottish Universities, Postgraduate Programmes

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp.37-50. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 831.691KB).

Dr. David Grierson

Programme Director, Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland, UK

Dr. Grierson is both an architect and academic. He is currently Director of Postgraduate Research and Knowledge Exchange in Architecture and has directed the Postgraduate Programme in Sustainable Engineering at University of Strathclyde Glasgow since 2004. His teaching and research interests are in sustainable architecture and urban design. He is particularly active in the integration of teaching and learning activity across the postgraduate community, and the promotion of knowledge exchange through increased engagement with business, industry, the professions, and other institutions. Dr Grierson is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) and a visiting professor at Universities in Rome and Florence. His own architectural work has been exhibited at the Royal Academy Exhibition in London and he has gained a number of architectural awards including two Glasgow Institute of Architecture (GIA) Design Awards. He is a recipient of the Sir Rowan Anderson Silver Medal for Architectural Design from th Royal Institute of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).

Claire Hyland

Research Assistant, Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland, UK

Claire Hyland graduated from Postgraduate Studies at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow in 2007. She is currently employed as a Sustainability Research Assistant in the Department of Architecture at Strathclyde supporting Dr. David Grierson in consulting widely on the framework for developing new postgraduate activity in the area of environmental, social, and economic sustainability. Claire’s main interests are in sustainable and accessible architecture and urban design, education and graphic design. She is also currently working with a visually impaired PhD student of Architecture, assisting in his research and image production and gaining experience through tutoring students. Additional projects include working in collaboration with colleagues in creating and designing workshop activities for school children based on sustainable communities (event to be held in the Science Centre, Glasgow as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science 2010). Previous to her engagement at the university, Claire gained professional experience working in architectural practices both in the Glasgow and Spain, where she experienced a different culture and working methods as well as gaining fluency in the language.

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