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Education for Sustainable Development Bournemouth, September 2005 Interdisciplinary Education for Societal Responsibility Charles Engel, Visiting Professor Bland Tomkinson, University Adviser on Pedagogic Development

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Education for Sustainable DevelopmentBournemouth, September 2005

Interdisciplinary Education for Societal Responsibility

Charles Engel, Visiting Professor

Bland Tomkinson, University Adviser on Pedagogic Development

Rosemary Warner, Head of Teaching Support, Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences

Adele Aubrey, Curriculum Development Officer, Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences

Combining the strengths of UMIST and

The Victoria University of Manchester


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Interdisciplinary Education for Societal Responsibility A Major Reform in University Education?

  • Why a major reform?

  • Why a responsibility of Higher Education?

  • Interdisciplinarity for societal responsibility

  • The Ultimate Challenge – a practical stepwise approach

  • Quo vadis? Moving forward the agenda

  • What is a University for?


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Interdisciplinary Education for Societal Responsibility Why a Major Reform in University Education?

  • National pressures

    • ‘Within the next 10 years, the higher education sector in this country will be recognised as a major contributor to society’s efforts to achieve sustainability – through the skills and knowledge that its graduates learn and put into practice…’

      HEFCE Sustainable development in higher education


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Interdisciplinary Education for Societal Responsibility Why a Major Reform in University Education?

  • A global perspective, eg:

    • Reduction of biodiversity;

    • Pollution of air, soil and water, with detrimental influences on the environment;

    • Growth of the world’s population, accompanied by increasing poverty in the developing world;

    • Competition for limited water supplies, resulting in threats of armed conflict.

      These developments stimulate extremism, terrorism and migration that affect social stability

      References

      See, for example: Brundtland GH (1987) Our Common Future New York, United Nations


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The a Major Reform in University Education?Talloires declaration

University Leaders for a Sustainable Future

The Talloires Declaration, first put together at an international conference in Talloires, France in 1990, is a ten-point action plan for incorporating sustainability and environmental literacy in teaching, research, operations and outreach at colleges and universities. It has been signed by over 300 university presidents and chancellors in over 40 countries.


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The a Major Reform in University Education?Talloires declaration

Ten point action plan

1. Increase awareness of environmentally sustainable development2. Create an institutional culture of sustainability3. Educate for environmentally responsible citizenship4. Foster environmental literacy for all5. Practice institutional ecology6. Involve all stakeholders7. Collaborate for interdisciplinary approaches8. Enhance capacity of primary and secondary schools9. Broaden service and outreach nationally and internationally10. Maintain the movement


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Why higher education? a Major Reform in University Education?

  • A global perspective requires leaders who are able to adapt to, and participate in the management of change – not only within their own professions, but also on behalf of society at large.

  • This involves inter-professional collaboration in research as well as in the remediation, and eventual resolution, of many complex problems.

  • Higher education needs to devise new curricula and to encourage wider, interdisciplinary learning to prepare graduates to participate in this.


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Interdisciplinarity – a pilot study a Major Reform in University Education?

A pilot project set out to explore:

  • The specification of abilities and skills needed;

  • The exploration of related educational interventions;

  • The construct of appropriate sequences of these interventions in interdisciplinary courses;

  • The conditions that would need to be met in different countries to develop and sustain such radical changes in higher education.

    The CAIPE report can be found at http://www.caipe.org.uk/documents/CEReport.PDF


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Areas of competence a Major Reform in University Education?

  • Decision Making for adapting to change and for participating in managing change;

  • Participating as a Change Agent in managing change;

  • Enabling competences – in relation to Society as well as profession;

  • Enabling personal qualities


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The a Major Reform in University Education?Ultimate Challenge

  • A major change towards interdisciplinary learning and teaching for societal responsibility needs care and sensitivity.

  • The first step is to foster informed opinion that encourages colleagues and students to participate and to develop a sense of ownership.

  • The second step is to embed interdisciplinary learning within the curriculum in such a way as to meet the identified global societal needs.

  • A document outlining a carefully planned sequence of activities for the development of The Ultimate Challenge has been submitted to the University.


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Quo vadis or, rather, a Major Reform in University Education?Quo vademus?

Step by step development:

  • Introducing the concepts

  • Fostering a climate of informed opinion

  • Defining abilities and skills to be developed

  • Designing educational interventions

  • Designing supportive and aligned assessment

  • Experimenting with interventions and assessment

  • Designing an interdisciplinary curriculum

  • Planning and implementing a pilot curriculum

  • Monitoring and evaluation


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Whither? II a Major Reform in University Education?

  • Designing the organisation for managing an interdisciplinary, integrated, cumulative, active learning curriculum;

  • Developing a viable system for recognition and reward of creativity and commitment within the spectrum of educational responsibilities.


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Whither? III a Major Reform in University Education?

Activities so far have included:

  • Explorations with staff and students, modelling how interdisciplinary groups could discuss global issues, using workshops with different triggers (at one the Deputy High Commissioner for New Zealand described the challenges to small island communities) and sessions for new, experienced and visiting international staff.

  • An exploratory conference on the topic of ‘Water’ involving representatives from UNESCO and water companies, Manchester Museum, academics, students and the public.

  • An pilot interdisciplinary residential summer school for students (covered in another session).

  • A brief study of differences in educational approach by particular disciplines, as a requisite for effective interdisciplinary teaching and learning.


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Whither? IV a Major Reform in University Education?

  • Multi-disciplinary programmes within the Faculty of Humanities;

  • Possible ‘parallel stream’ in interdisciplinary studies within the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences;

  • Multi-professional studies within the Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences;

  • ‘Leadership’ programme for undergraduates;

  • Inter-faculty undergraduate projects.


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What is a University for? a Major Reform in University Education?

The world needs universities to take wider educational perspectives on global issues as well as the educational pursuit of sustainability at a more local level. HEFCE suggests that universities can take action through their role as educators and through leading national and international networks. Our belief and hope is that this becomes an explicit part of the mission of higher education and that specific capabilities to support the mitigation of complex problems are embedded in educational outcomes.


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What is a University for? a Major Reform in University Education?

Universities can be hamstrung by commercial pressures and a move to market-driven demands. Increased government interference in academic affairs exacerbates this and helps breed insularity, individualism, over-specialisation and over competition both within universities and in individual academics. The challenge is for universities to take control of the agenda for higher education and drive it back into the sphere of the public good.


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Interdisciplinary Education for Societal Responsibility a Major Reform in University Education?

Summary

  • A global perspective offers many benefits to HE, but these are balanced with quite serious responsibilities.

  • The wellbeing of the world’s population is seriously threatened by numerous developments that cannot be controlled by governments alone.

  • Inter-professional education has given some idea of the educational interventions and change needed, in mind-sets as well as curricula, to meet those challenges.

  • Universities need to take back the agenda for HE and inject a greater sense of societal responsibility.

  • The world starts on your doorstep


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Education for Sustainable Development a Major Reform in University Education?Bournemouth, September 2005

Interdisciplinary Education for Societal Responsibility

Thank you

bland.tomkinson@manchester.ac.uk

charlesengel@lineone.net

rosemary.warner@manchester.ac.uk

adele.aubrey@manchester.ac.uk

Combining the strengths of UMIST and

The Victoria University of Manchester


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The End a Major Reform in University Education?


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The a Major Reform in University Education?Talloires declaration

"Sustainability" implies that the critical activities of a higher education institution are .. ecologically sound, socially just and economically viable, and that they will continue to be so for future generations. A truly sustainable college or university would emphasize these concepts in its curriculum and research, preparing students to contribute as working citizens to an environmentally sound and socially just society. The institution would function as a sustainable community, embodying responsible consumption of food and energy, treating its diverse members with respect, and supporting these values in the surrounding community.


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The role of Higher Education a Major Reform in University Education?

  • Inter-professional collaboration calls for familiarity with the various professions, their “language” and ways of thinking: HE needs to devise new curricula and enable its staff to facilitate wider, interdisciplinary, learning.

  • Inter-professional collaboration in education and training is not new, but has been on a small scale and essentially inward-looking. In the UK this has been encouraged, but essentially as an attempt to achieve greater ‘efficiency’ in various sectors, notably the health service.


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B. Competences that Enable Task-related Competences to be Implemented In relation to Society as well as your Profession


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Area of competence - Implemented Decision Making for adapting to change and for participating in managing change

  • Identifying issues;

  • Analysing implications;

  • Critical appraisal;

  • Formulation of possible explanations/ options/solutions;

  • Decision construction – with and without stakeholders.


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Area of competence - Implemented Participating as a Change Agent in managing change;

  • Planning strategy and tactics;

  • Reviewing support and resources – including risk assessment;

  • Practicing self-directed learning;

  • Implementing plans of action;

  • Acting as an advocate;

  • Challenging and negotiating;

  • Assisting others to adapt to change;

  • Monitoring and evaluating.


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Area of competence - Implemented in relation to Society as well as profession

  • Problem solving;

  • Critical appraisal;

  • Creative thinking;

  • Application of theories of leadership and change process;

  • Collaboration and co-ordination and application of emotional intelligence;

  • Communicate across languages and professions;

  • Societal responsibility with a global perspective;

  • Lifelong, self-directed learning.


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Area of competence - Implemented personal qualities

  • Recognising the inevitability of change and uncertainty;

  • Balanced self-confidence and inquisitiveness;

  • Desire to keep up to date;

  • Personally secure and flexible;

  • Open minded;

  • Creative;

  • Balanced emotional intelligence;

  • Altruistic;

  • Professional.


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An inter-disciplinary approach Implemented

Maastricht course on ‘Globalisation and Diversity’

  • Available across all faculties, in whole or in part;

  • Problem-based learning with VLE support;

    • Globalisation and Inequality;

    • Cultural Diversity and Gender;

    • Migration.

  • Credit rated – supporting professional studies;

  • Attracts students to professional programmes, from home and overseas.


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Interdisciplinarity for societal responsibility Implemented

  • Governments, and inter-governmental agencies, need the help of the professions to undertake the long-term tasks of research and management of the mitigation and resolution of global problems. Governments are constrained by their limited life span, but the professions can contribute their accumulating experience and growing expertise. For this to flourish, the professions need to adopt an outward and proactive approach.

  • Members of professions must acquire the abilities and skills to adapt to change and to collaborate in the management of change, both for their professions and for society at large. Thus, higher education needs to accept the great challenge of helping present and future graduates to develop a new set of capabilities.


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