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Mission Impossible? Sustainability and steps towards transformative change: the Plymouth experience Centre for Sustainable Mission Impossible? Sustainability and steps towards transformative change: the Plymouth experience Centre for Sustainable Futures at the University of Plymouth ESD CETL www. csf. plymouth. ac. uk Dr Stephen Sterling Schumacher Reader in Education for Sustainability

‘Reinventing the university’ ‘…it is pre-eminently in the universities that we should be thinking ‘Reinventing the university’ ‘…it is pre-eminently in the universities that we should be thinking hardest about the implications of this whole world-system for our common life and its future, and bringing the best of our available intelligence to bear on the necessary changes. If not there, where? If that’s not the business of universities in the early twenty-first century, what on earth are they for? ’ -John Foster, 2007 From review of Michael M’Gonigle’s Planet U: Reinventing the University

Barriers Cited factors • Crowded curriculum • Irrelevance • Limited staff awareness and/or expertise Barriers Cited factors • Crowded curriculum • Irrelevance • Limited staff awareness and/or expertise • Limited institutional commitment • Limited commitment from external stakeholders • Too demanding Types of barriers • Paradigmatic/psychological • Policy/purpose related • Structural (governance, compartmentalisation etc) • Resource/information deficiency

‘Make it relevant’ ‘My perception that universities have pretty well isolated themselves from society, ‘Make it relevant’ ‘My perception that universities have pretty well isolated themselves from society, through their academic detachment, and that’s the way they’ve made themselves rather irrelevant to current issues of sustainability, which are absolutely critical. …. And…so I’ve felt that university education has to go radically localised, in the sense of integrating student learning with the local community. Universities have to become dedicated in service to their community…. . …that’s something that I see emerging quite strongly now…this is going to radicalise University education, and make it relevant. ’ - Academic, University of Plymouth, 2005

Towards ‘sustainable institutions’ FROM: Incoherence and fragmentation Large scale Poor connectivity Closed community Teaching Towards ‘sustainable institutions’ FROM: Incoherence and fragmentation Large scale Poor connectivity Closed community Teaching organisation Microcosm of unsustainable society TOWARDS: Human scale High connectivity Open community Learning organisation Systemic coherence and synergy Microcosm of sustainable society?

Two arenas of learning • Structured learning: - intentioned learning amongst students in formal Two arenas of learning • Structured learning: - intentioned learning amongst students in formal education which arises from educational policies and practices • Attendant learning: - the social learning response to sustainability in organisations, institutions and their actors

Organisational change • Systematic - policies, strategies, rules, procedures, assessment, evaluation, structures etc • Organisational change • Systematic - policies, strategies, rules, procedures, assessment, evaluation, structures etc • Systemic - emergence, collegiality, social learning, informal networks, collective intelligence, ethos, self-organisation etc

Melding paradigms? ‘Delivery’ Prescriptive Performance valued Instructive Meaning Participative Emergence valued Constructive Dialogue Invitational Melding paradigms? ‘Delivery’ Prescriptive Performance valued Instructive Meaning Participative Emergence valued Constructive Dialogue Invitational Mentored engagement Facilitative

Keywords – ‘C’ words • • • Connection Communication Collaboration Coherence Consistency Congruency Keywords – ‘C’ words • • • Connection Communication Collaboration Coherence Consistency Congruency

Goal of CSF The Goal of this CETL is to transform the University of Goal of CSF The Goal of this CETL is to transform the University of Plymouth from an institution characterised by significant areas of excellence in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) to an institution modelling university-wide excellence and, hence, able to make a major contribution to ESD regionally, nationally and internationally

Centre for Sustainable Futures § Has a mandate for transforming the University of Plymouth Centre for Sustainable Futures § Has a mandate for transforming the University of Plymouth into an institution modelling universitywide excellence in SD/ESD § Aims to have all students engage critically with sustainability agendas and their personal, ethical, professional and personal implications § Seeks to embed ESD into curriculum, learning and teaching across all schools § Undertakes pedagogical and institutional change research so development is research-informed § Aims to play a key role nationally by engaging with HEIs, Higher Education Academy and Subject Centres, HEFCE, EAUC etc

One-liner Response “To develop the transformative potential of higher education at the University of One-liner Response “To develop the transformative potential of higher education at the University of Plymouth and beyond for building towards a sustainable future”

Key structures Core team Director Asst Director Reader Research Fellow Centre Manager Two Research Key structures Core team Director Asst Director Reader Research Fellow Centre Manager Two Research Assistants Support staff Student placements Steering Group Reps across UP and external partners Centre Fellows 20 Centre Fellows across Schools and Faculties Environment Committee IWG Interdisciplinary curriculum working group Fora Campus Community Curriculum

Wave model of change Wave model of change

The 4 C model The 4 C model

The four C model To enhance student and staff experience through embedding sustainability across The four C model To enhance student and staff experience through embedding sustainability across the curriculum To contribute to the regional sustainability agenda through university / community partnerships To embed sustainability practice across the Uo. P campus To engage with a cultural backcloth and attendant practices that feed unsustainability

UP Sustainability Strategic Action Plan Curriculum component Aim ‘To engage students at all levels UP Sustainability Strategic Action Plan Curriculum component Aim ‘To engage students at all levels with sustainability concepts and issues through their formal and informal learning’ Objectives include ‘To develop the sustainability literate graduate’ ‘To engage students with both disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives on sustainability’ ‘To build the capacity of staff for sustainability related teaching and curriculum development’

CSF’s curriculum related work includes… - UP Sustainability Policy and Action Plan - Indicative CSF’s curriculum related work includes… - UP Sustainability Policy and Action Plan - Indicative ‘generic module’ – key concepts, outcomes - Developing ‘Common Module’ - Building in sustainability dimension to Learning and Teaching Policy - Building in sustainability to ‘Skills Plus’ policy - Integrating ESD into LTHE programme - Staff wiki site on ESD resources and practice - CPD, website, resource centre and support - Supporting curriculum development and pedagogic innovation and research - Schumacher College Scholarship Scheme

Possible curriculum responses • • Minor modifications to existing programmes New “podules” (infusionism) Generic Possible curriculum responses • • Minor modifications to existing programmes New “podules” (infusionism) Generic modules (electives) New modules New programmes Common module Cross-disciplinary events and cooperation Extra-curriculum initiatives and events

What are your ‘unique selling points’? • Only CETL set up specifically to engage What are your ‘unique selling points’? • Only CETL set up specifically to engage in whole system change • Working to crack the ‘curriculum nut’ • Research emphasis – research ‘about’ and ‘as’ change- nine strands, evaluation and meta research • Four ‘C’ model • Centre Fellow model • Implementing systemic change approach • Student support • Chancellery support • Partnership with Schumacher College

Advantages of CSF • • • Well funded. Some prestige as CETL Well connected, Advantages of CSF • • • Well funded. Some prestige as CETL Well connected, knowledgeable staff Chancellery support; Corporate plan Unusual status in university, belonging to no faculty, and no previous baggage Free rein and encouragement from HEFCE to be innovative Fairly fertile ground – levels of interest and awareness Funded connection with HE Academy ESD Project Context: sustainability profile in HE and wider society Reputation in wider field and expectations on UP

Disadvantages/issues • • • All CSF staff were imports to Plymouth campus All CSF Disadvantages/issues • • • All CSF staff were imports to Plymouth campus All CSF staff have educational background Student body hard to engage Evidence of some resistance Large university Chancellery support now uncertain

Lessons • • • • Don’t overreach your capacity Marketing is important Attract allies Lessons • • • • Don’t overreach your capacity Marketing is important Attract allies and support them Create spaces for discussion, exchange and trust building Make connections that wouldn’t otherwise exist Don’t assume too much Slow is the new fast Balance systematic and systemic aspects Invitation not exhortation Find out about, and value what exists Learn how the organisation works Be exemplary as far as reasonable Ensure feedback

How is your CETL engaging with the wider HEI community? • Regional networking – How is your CETL engaging with the wider HEI community? • Regional networking – Partner colleges; SW ESD Coalition • HE Academy ESD Project • Papers and articles, book forthcoming, CPD workshops, conference presentations, website, wiki • Projects with other HEIs • Links to HEFCE, EAUC, Forum for Future etc • ‘All our Futures’ conference planned for Sept 08 • International links – IMESD, UNESCO, GHESP, OECD, Tbilisi plus 30 conference etc

Centre for Sustainable Futures Kirkby Lodge University of Plymouth Drake Circus Devon PL 4 Centre for Sustainable Futures Kirkby Lodge University of Plymouth Drake Circus Devon PL 4 8 AA 01752 238890 [email protected] ac. uk ESD CETL www. csf. plymouth. ac. uk Building the future…!