Sustainable Development in the Curriculum
There is a growing recognition, reinforced by independent research, throughout the business world that sustainable practices have increasing relevance to customers; this is particularly noticeable in the under thirty age group. To ensure this aspect of business life is captured effectively students who are studying business at WGU have the opportunity to study “Sustainable Business Practices” as a module to gain an insight into ways in which environmental issues are addressed by business. In addition corporate governance is also a topic that business students study to establish ways in which sustainable practices are managed in an effective manner.
Also in Childhood studies, the importance of teaching sustainability to children is now being recognised. Children who grow up understanding and practicing sustainability within their family units and locally in a community can have a powerful impact on everyone’s future. Proactive children who take sustainability seriously can teach others about reducing consumption, recycling and reusing items to preserve the Earth’s resources.
Ruth Davies, WGU Early Childhood Education Lecturer -
“The students are informed, both in theoretical and practical terms, of their responsibility of maintaining the environment for future generations. In addition appropriate pedagogical approaches are discussed within sessions and evaluated to ascertain which approach is most suitable when engaging with children in the natural environment. For the past two years and again this coming academic year all level 4 students on the BA (Hons) Education and Childhood Studies degree and the BA (Hons) Families and Childhood Studies degree are given the opportunity to undertake an Agored Cymru Award in Outdoor Learning. As part of this award students are made aware of the need to ensure the natural environment is sustainably maintained and enhanced. Part of this award looks at the impact of outdoor learning and play on the natural environment where students are required to identify ways in which outdoor learning and play can impact on the natural environment. They also have to define what is meant by biodiversity, identify local species of plants and animals while also identifying activities which could impact on biodiversity.”
The University has its own rural campus where the subject area of Natural Environment is located.
Undergraduate degree courses in Wildlife & Plant Biology and Animal Studies which both include modules on Wildlife Conservation, Environmental Conservation and Land Management, where the staff and students are involved in research on declining species, in the management and monitoring of a variety of species on campus and in studying the impacts and effectiveness of different management and surveying techniques. Students are also taught practical habitat management and conservation skills.
This area has a mission statement “to nurture scholarship, which builds on the long Welsh academic traditions, and lead the knowledge and skills of its local, national and international communities”. Its vison statement is “to develop and increase the sustainability of communities and the environment and add significantly to the quality of life and well-being”.
The theme of the subject area, and of the campus is “Sustainable and ethical management of natural and built resources”. These statements are ingrained into the modules of the subject area.
Courses in this area offered at WGU include:
Renewable Energy students have been on many field trips including a tour by Muir and Mick from Peel Energy's wind farm on the M53, a trip to Corwen micro hydro scheme and a visit to spring bank farm who use excess power from wind and solar to make hydrogen which runs a farm vehicle. - Photos below
Below is a list of the final year projects from Renewable & Sustainable Engineering course which highlight sustainability in our delivery.
· Research into the latest energy storage technology.
· How the energy market works and how it will work in a renewable energy future
· Hydro turbine low flow CFD modelling
· Bladeless wind turbine CFD modelling
· Design of a wood burning stove that also produces electricity for poor areas.
· Design of a smart grid
· Bio digester project (In collaboration with fre-energy)
· OTEC potential study. (Ocean thermal energy conversion)
· Electric vehicle vs. internal combustion engine vehicles- a comparison of life time carbon emissions
· Converting a remote Scout hut to be powered by renewables off grid
· Cooling of photo voltaic panels to improve efficiencies
· Perspective of education regarding renewable energies and sustainable Issues.
· Analysis of national grid substations energy losses and the possibilities of installing renewable energy to them.
Students also design a renewable energy scheme at level 5 and innovate a sustainable product at Msc level.