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Education for Sustainable Development at Warwick - An Overview

At the University of Warwick, we recognise the importance of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and adhere to ESD principles in the education we provide. Following the creation of the SDGs, the Global Sustainable Development Link opens in a new window(GSD) Department was established in 2016 as a response to urgent global sustainable development challenges. As a world-class university in the UK, Warwick is committed to fully integrating the University's mission to create excellent research relevant to local, national, and international stakeholders. We do this while providing students with a highly enabling environment to reach their potential as future leaders, responding to the current and future sustainable development challenges. Through this holistic approach to research and education, we are better able to prepare our students to support social, cultural, and economic growth and enable social transformation for a sustainable future.

'Sustainability’ is a wicked problem, which is by nature controversial. It addresses the tensions between economic, social, and environmental development and combines them into a single concept. 'Sustainability' therefore requires a holistic perspective to understand the urging complex sustainable development challenges around the world. In order to tackle these challenges, UNESCO highly recommends using an inter- and trans-disciplinary education approach to address the complexity of sustainable development. The University of Warwick offers unique inter- and trans-disciplinary education that joins disciplines from arts, humanities, social, and natural sciences as we believe that current/future sustainable development challenges are all interconnected among the economic, environmental, and social principles. Interdisciplinarity, therefore, is essential in teaching, learning, and research at Warwick.

The Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies

In 2012, the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies Link opens in a new window(CIM) was established to foster innovative and experimental forms of knowledge production through a sustained focus on methodology. Since then, CIM is dedicated to expanding the role of interdisciplinary methods through new lines of inquiry that cut across disciplinary boundaries, both intellectually and institutionally. Staff and students have a real opportunity to transcend these disciplinary boundaries and create new knowledge about the world we live in.

The Global Sustainable Development (GSD) Department

The GSD Department, based in the School for Cross-faculty Studies, offers 12undergraduate programmes: a Single HonoursLink opens in a new window degree and 12 Joint Honours degrees.Link opens in a new windowThese innovative degrees provide a unique transdisciplinary learning experience for students. On the Joint Honours degreesLink opens in a new window, students have the opportunity to learn and train skills in their desired discipline. For example, students may enrol in the BASc Sociology and Global Sustainable Development Link opens in a new windowto learn anthropological and social implications of sustainable development, or participate in the BASc Education Studies and Global Sustainable DevelopmentLink opens in a new window to examine the relationship between education and sustainable development and the associated challenges facing the education sector both in the UK and overseas.GSD also provides postgraduate taught and research opportunities for students who wish to dive deeper into the world of global sustainable development. The MASc in Global Sustainable Development Link opens in a new windowoffers flexibility for students to combine academic learning with practical action and applied thinking to tackle problems linked to the SDGs. The MPhil/PhD programme in Global Sustainable Development provides young researchers the opportunity to cross disciplinary boundaries to address complex challenges of global sustainable development.

The Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning

The Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning (IATL) Link opens in a new windowcreates innovative and collaborative pedagogies that support interdisciplinary and international education at Warwick. The eye-opening pedagogies Open-space Learning and the Student as Researcher ask students to re-identify themselves as co-creators of knowledge in open spaces. IATL’s innovative modules are open to all Warwick students. For example, the module Rethinking Health Science Link opens in a new windowexplores science, life sciences, and medicine to rethink the benefits and limitations of science and medicine in the Covid era. This module highlights SDG 3 (Health and Well-being), and fosters the development of critical thinking and communication skills.

The Liberal Arts Department,

The BA Liberal Arts degree, offered by the Liberal Arts Department in the School for Cross-faculty Studies Link opens in a new windowplaces competence training at the heart of learning, developing students' critical thinking skills and encouraging innovative problem solving. The Problem-Based Learning pedagogy allows students to understand a topic by examining complex problems from a variety of perspectives, which will develop their own distinctive stance on that problem. The undergraduate Liberal Arts programme also approaches ESD through the interdisciplinary curriculum design. Students on this course select either a disciplinary route or a bespoke pathway, bringing together knowledge from across the University to develop specific expertise in their area of interest.