July 13, 2017

Foundations of Sustainable Development

Foundations of Sustainable Development, University of Surrey

  • Program name / towards what degree: MSc programmes on Sustainable Development, Corporate Environmental Management and Environmental Strategy.
  • Length and format: One week intensive course
  • Credits and evaluation: evaluated through 2 assignments on average per course (essays, group work, short writing assignments).
  • Student profile: Very mixed. Many have backgrounds in science and technology, but a substantial number come from social sciences.
  • Class size: 30-50
  • Teachers’ background: Interdisciplinary; senior staff; backgrounds from science, engineering, economics, other social sciences.
  • Course offered since: evolving over 5-10 years from previous courses
  • Main learning outcomes: Detailed appreciation, understanding and capacity for critical investigation of sustainable development concepts and issues of practical implementation in a variety of sectors and contexts
  • Topics addressed: fundamental issues in sustainability, including role of consumption in unsustainable change, ethical challenges, politics of SD
  • Key reading materials:
    • pre-reading packages (papers and briefings)
    • core reading: for example, S Baker (2016), Sustainable Development, Routledge: London; T Jackson (2009), Prosperity without Growth, Earthscan: London; P Jacques (2015), Sustainability: the basics, Routledge: London
    • There is no comprehensive introductory textbook on sustainable consumption and behavioural change.
  • Innovative approaches:
    • Use of films as basis for group discussion
    • Role-play exercises
    • Extensive range of senior guest speakers from business, public sector, civil society
    • Group research and presentation exercises
  • Student feedback: Feedback is very positive, especially to the range of expert guest speakers engaged