Leeds Sustainable Curriculum Placement Blog – James Bate

Having just completed the MSc Sustainability and Consultancy course within the School of Earth and Environment, I was delighted to be selected to work on the Sustainable Curriculum Programme on a part-time basis working with Kelly Forster and Thom Cooper. I believe that education can change the mind-set of a generation, therefore by embedding sustainability within the curriculum, students will be engaged with environmental issues and equipped with the knowledge and skillset to apply sustainability in full-time graduate employment.

As I studied BA Geography, I have been aware of sustainability throughout higher education, but this placement made me realise that sustainability is related to all academic disciplines in different ways. As a result, the placement involved developing resources for the various schools and faculties across campus, highlighting the links between certain subject areas and sustainability. In addition, the placement aimed to improve understanding of sustainability for staff who may not have heard of the Sustainable Development Goals, sustainability on campus Leeds and the Leeds Living Labs.

It has been a pleasure working in the Sustainability Service office, learning more about some of the amazing sustainability projects taking place across campus. Following the announcement of the ‘Climate Crisis: Principles for Action’, the university is making huge steps in ensuring the student body is engaged with sustainability, in part thanks to the expanding curriculum programme.

Sustainability Awards 2019

This year, the annual Sustainability Awards will be on Wednesday 12th June.  As well as celebrating the outstanding work being done by people across the University to make the campus more sustainable, we will also be looking back.  2019 is the 10-year anniversary of the Bike Hub, who keep the staff and students of Leeds travelling sustainably by offering bike hire, repairs and training (and plenty of biscuits!).  It has also been 10 years since we started employing student interns in the Sustainability Service, bringing fresh ideas and student opinions to the team.

The Vice Chancellor will be presenting awards for the four sustainability strategy themes – Embedding Sustainability through Collaboration, Building Knowledge and Capacity, Being a Positive Partner in Society and Making the Most of Resources.  There will also be a Sustainable Purchasing Award, and two student awards for curricular and non-curricular work.  The nominations for the awards are now closed.

After this, there will then be an entirely vegan, locally sourced (where possible) two course dinner .  Vegan wine and soft drink options will accompany what is always known to be a delicious meal, changing the perspectives of a vegan menu.

Finally, we will then be celebrating the first year of our new engagement programme, Blueprint. Launched in October 2018, this replaced the Green Impact programme, creating a bespoke sustainability action plan for individual Schools and Services.  This programme is proving to be very popular, having already reached a wider audience than we achieved with the Green Impact programme!

As always, the striking table decorations will be designed and supplied by the staff and children of Bright Beginnings Childcare Centre.

Nominations for the awards are now closed.

Roger Stevens Pond Development

Over the last few weeks, you may have noticed changes to the Roger Stevens Pond. The development was part of a multidisciplinary, collaborative project supported by the University’s Living Lab. The University’s Sustainability Services Team worked with Estates Services, School of Biological Sciences, School of Geography and the School of Civil Engineering to transform the cooling pond into a promoter for biodiversity and scientific research. We are also installing water quality monitoring equipment at the pond at the Brownlee Centre to extend the scope and potential for the project. There is a hope that once the neutrality of the water is in balance we will introduce fish to the pond. Don’t worry about the ducks – they have flown south for the winter and we await their return to their new home!

This project came about due to the operational need to improve the pond, to reduce operational costs and to increase biodiversity value. There are further benefits to come from this development scheme; enhancing biodiversity and research opportunities. The pond will be monitored throughout the year by PhD student, Dan Warren, from the School of Biology. The sensors installed by Sustainability Services and the School of Geography will provide data for research across a number of Schools and Faculties. By working in collaboration with Estates and Sustainability, anybody can use the pond as a living lab for their research. This might be dissertations, assessed projects or even fieldwork modules.

The Leeds Living Lab is a programme coordinated by the Sustainability Services and drives the University’s commitment to embedding sustainability through knowledge, engagement, collaboration and innovation. The Living Lab has already brought together over 140 operational and academic staff and students to identify and deliver sustainable solutions through research and innovation, using the University campus as a test bed. This allows us to create real world solutions on a campus or city-wide scale. In the last year interdisciplinary teams from across the University have developed nine collaborative projects and created ten individual student project and dissertation partnerships. We encourage staff and students to make the most of our campus and consider how their research or studies might benefit from using the campus as a test bed.

 

Living Lab Project Call: Single-use plastics at the University of Leeds

Following the University’s recent pledge to become single-use plastic free and the launch of the #2023PlasticFree campaign, Leeds Living Lab has funding available to support research and innovation projects that seek solutions and alternatives to single-use plastics across the University of Leeds (UoL) and Leeds University Union (LUU). Applications are open until Friday 1st February 2019.

UoL and LUU have together pledged to become single-use plastic free by 2023, with catering and office spaces achieving the target by 2020 and additional years to address more challenging areas such as laboratory equipment.

Collaboration and the use of the University as a test-bed are at the heart of the Leeds Living Lab and these funds will be used to provide match funding and seedcorn funding in support of projects which seek solutions to single-use plastics across the University through academic and non-academic partnerships.

Applications will be assessed by members of the Sustainability Steering Group based on the following criteria:

  1. Fit to the principles of the Leeds Living Lab
  2. Alignment with the University’s Sustainability Strategy
  3. Potential to support the University’s single-use plastic pledge
  4. Quality of potential outputs and impacts

We welcome applications led by University of Leeds academics, students (including UG, PG and PhD), research staff (including postdoctoral researchers), and professional and managerial staff across all Schools and Services of the University, and particularly those that develop new interdisciplinary collaborations. Students must have the permission of their supervisor to make the application.

Funding is split into the following two categories:

 

  1. Collaborative research project seedcorn or match funding

Funding is available for research and/or trials of innovative solutions and alternatives to single-use plastics across the University of Leeds. This might include but is not limited to development of new materials, assessment and analysis of current practices, behavioral studies, and tests or trials of innovative solutions.

Funding requested must not exceed £2000 and cannot be used to pay overheads.

Please complete the application form at http://sustainability.leeds.ac.uk/the-living-lab/ and return by email to plasticfree@leeds.ac.uk before midnight on Friday 1st February 2019.

 

  1. Student curricular project grants (i.e. a dissertation or assessed project as part of an UG/PG module)

Funding is available to support student projects focused on solutions and alternatives to single-use plastics across the University of Leeds. This might include but is not limited dissertations or assessed work on the development of new materials, assessment and analysis of current practices, behavioral studies, and tests or trials of innovative solutions.

Funding requested must not exceed £500 and students must ensure that they have the permission of their supervisor before applying.

Please complete the application form at http://sustainability.leeds.ac.uk/the-living-lab/ and return by email to plasticfree@leeds.ac.uk before midnight on Friday 1st February 2019.

All enquiries should be directed to plasticfree@leeds.ac.uk

 

 

Dissertations and Research Projects

At Leeds, we strive to promote research and learning that makes an impact on global challenges and is truly interdisciplinary. Our focus is on six key areas: health, water, food, energy, culture and cities.

Through these, we can examine sustainability from a number of perspectives including low carbon solutions, transport, ecology, cultural values, climate change and hydrology.  We support these key research themes, as well as a wide range of other research activities that link with sustainability.

Sustainability shapes everything we do – what we teach, learn, buy, use and share. It is a fundamental part of ensuring we have a positive impact on everyone and everything.

Find out more about how to embed sustainability into your research in the context of your discipline and other useful resources below. 

 

School Governor Programme

At the University of Leeds, we recognise the value to staff and alumni becoming school governors and the positive impact this has on children, communities and the University. We also have a clear strategic commitment to widening participation and to positively contribute to making Leeds the great City it is. 

As part of our commitments, we are working in collaboration with the charity Governors for Schools to increase the number of staff and alumni serving as School Governors in schools across Leeds and West Yorkshire.  Our programme has been developed to provide support to both existing and prospective school governors. As well as helping staff and alumni interested in school governance to find vacancies, we offer support and networking opportunities to everyone involved in our programme.

If you…

  • Have an interest in influencing and making a difference to children’s education and give children the best possible opportunities in life.
  • Have the ability to work collaboratively to meet a school’s aims and objectives.
  • Want to put your skills and experience to good use and offer schools on outsider’s perspective.
  • Have an interest in gaining new insights into the education system.
  • Would like to develop new skills and experience to enhance your own professional development.
  • Would like to act as an ambassador for the University’s work with local schools.

School governance is a great opportunity for you! 

Read our blog to find out what governance means to each volunteer and why we are calling on more staff and alumni to become a school Governor.

Download our School Governors Briefing for information on the School Governor role, the benefits and what you can expect from the role.  (PDF)

Local Schools Need Your Skills

Become a School Governor

Staff and Alumni interested in becoming School Governors can register with our charity partner Governors for Schools here. [1] Someone from the charity will be in touch about next steps with being matched with a school. [1] Please note, that Governors for Schools is a registered charity and operates independently from the University of Leeds. Your progress and any school placement details will be collected and monitored by the University. 

Training and Support

New School Governors can benefit from a package of training and support from the start of their roles. Through our charity partners, all staff and alumni have access to a suite of e-learning modules, monthly webinars and 6 months access to The Keys up to date intelligence, tools and resources.

The University of Leeds School Governors Network

Any staff and alumni interested in becoming a school governor or are already working with schools can register to be involved with our School Governor Network.  Members benefit from our programme of support. Networking opportunities include a Jiscmail group and networking events through the year to facilitate the exchange of experiences, share best practice and provide support to staff and alumni in their roles.  Register your involvement by completing a short questionnaire, here http://sustainability.leeds.ac.uk/university-of-leeds-school-governors-network-registration/

Resources

Download Governors For Schools Professional development through school governance report. (PDF)

Download Governors For Schools Guide to Academy Trust Governance. (PDF)

Upcoming Events

None are planned at the moment but do come back and check again soon!

Past Events

Hot Topics for School Governors Webinar- Free Webinar

  • Thursday 16 May @ 8am-9am, or
  • Monday 20 May @ 7pm-8pm

This free webinar will help governors in maintained schools and academies get up to speed with what is happening in education that is relevant to their role. The session will be invaluable preparation ahead of board meetings this term.

  • This term’s topics will include:
  • New Relationship & Sex Education Guidance
  • New Teacher Recruitment Website
  • New Related Party Transactions reporting requirements for Academy Trusts
  • New Interactive School Financial Value Standard (SFVS) 2019-20
  • DfE funding to schools for Teachers’ Pension increases

If other stories surface between now and the day, the list may be subject to change.

N.B. This webinar will be held on two dates. You can select which session to attend on the sign-up page.

Sign up link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/rt/1633103919722625548

Headteacher Recruitment – Free Webinar

Thursday 27 June @ 8am-9am

In this free webinar we’ll look at what governors in maintained schools and academies need to know if they are recruiting a new headteacher.

Traditionally most headteachers are recruited in summer term, so this timely webinar will prepare governors for their part in the process and ensure they understand their responsibilities. We’ll explore the full process of headteacher recruitment including the initial steps, advertising, shortlisting and selection techniques.

Sign up link: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/7396365640524801548

Self-Evaluation of Governance – Free Webinar

Thursday 18 July @ 8am-9am

This free webinar will explore how governors, trustees and those serving on local academy committees can ensure, through rigorous self-evaluation and reflection, that governance is effective and fit for purpose within their school or trust. We will explore both the rationale behind effective self-evaluation and some of the tools and techniques that boards can use.

Sign up link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2961029192564814860

Governors for Schools webinars are supported by Lloyds Banking Group

How to get involved with School Governance- Free Webinar

December 18 @ 11.30-12.30pm

We believe the key to improving school performance is effective governance. By finding, nurturing and supporting a committed network of governors we help to drive systematic change in how schools operate.

Find out how you can get involved and what the benefits are to you and the community in a free webinar hosted by Governors for Schools. Governors for Schools exists to improve educational standards so that children and young people have the chance to realise their full potential.

Register your place at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1239198378170933003

Effective School Governance- Free Networking Event

December 19 @ 12-1pm

Led by the Leeds Governor Support Service, this lunchtime session will explore what it takes to become an effective school governor and run an effective school board. This is also a great opportunity to meet and network with other school governors over a mince pie.

Book a place for the event here: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/effective-school-governance-tickets-53295423045

Advertise Your School Governor Vacancy

If you are a School Head or Chair of Governors looking to fill a current vacancy, you can register your vacancies with our partner Governors for Schools.  They offer a bespoke matching service focused on finding the best school governors to support schools across England.  Register your vacancies through this link.

 

This initiative complements the existing staff opportunities offered through the Sustainability Strategy. See the other staff opportunities available through the Sustainability Service here. 

 

Sustainability in the Curriculum

Sustainability is part of being a student at the University of Leeds, no matter what your discipline. It’s that simple.

Sustainability is cross-disciplinary, perfectly slotting into undergraduate and postgraduate courses and opening up a rich seam of research possibilities. Concepts, issues and innovations relating to sustainability are integrated into our learning programmes.

In it’s Seven Principles to Tackle the Climate Crisis,  the University committed to further extend the Leeds Sustainable Discovery Theme programme to integrate sustainability into our teaching provision at all levels, and give opportunities to students to take part in activities to promote sustainability.

Alongside formal learning, we are committed to supporting you to develop, understand and communicate the skills that you have – from volunteering, internships and becoming sustainability auditors to getting out and trying your hand at beekeeping.

International Sustainable Campus Network Award

Leeds has won an award for embedding a collaborative approach to sustainability across all aspects of the University curriculum. Find out more about the award at sustainability.leeds.ac.uk/celebrating-sustainability-at-leeds.

 

 

 

 

Aminah’s Work Experience

Hi, I’m Aminah and after about 6 weeks, I will be in year 11 for my final year of my GCSE’s at Roundhay High School. I have been here with the sustainability team for 2 weeks of work experience, and I’m so glad I have! The team looked after me really well, on top of giving me lots to do and learn. This whole experience has given me a much better understanding of what subjects I may pursue as I move onto A-level, because I can now link the subjects with degrees I learned about, that I may want to do.

On my first day (Monday), I got a huge tour of the University campus, which I’m really grateful for because if not I would have got lost countless times during these two weeks. It was also really interesting to see all of the different schools, and how much variety there is with degrees, that I before was oblivious about.

Tuesday was especially good, because a free breakfast was served due to 4th July, along with its supposed theme, which made me feel extremely welcomed. During the rest of the day, I was in a laboratory for the first time. Working with Jane-Marie, who is a laboratory manager in the School of Earth and Environment, where I was setting up for the Environmental Science Academy field trip about water ecology for the next day, and getting a head start with all I was to do the following day. This was incredible, and probably the day I learned the most.

The Wednesday and Thursday of my first week, was probably the highlight of my work experience. I absolutely loved being out on the field and discovering things for myself, and meeting new people. On the Thursday I was actually volunteering on the trip as supposed to the day before where I was taking part. Volunteering gave me a responsibility I wouldn’t usually carry, but did inspire me to volunteer more when I can, because I never knew how much I enjoyed it until then. I also think I will defiantly keep my eye out for more field trips in the future to get involved in, because it’s an amazing opportunity that I’ll kick myself if I miss.

To finish up my first week, I mainly stayed with the sustainability team, doing an online research task, where I learned about how other universities are tackling issues of laboratory sustainability, compared to the University of Leeds, and then using this information to suggest improvements to the sustainability team.

Overall my first week was super enriching for me with new experiences and information, and I would do it all again if I could. I never knew the extent of how interesting and engaging sustainability and the Earth & Environment subjects could be until now.

On the Wednesday of my second week I did some tree surveying as part of a research project on campus, where as a group we went out and recorded data about the trees in St. George’s field. We also tried identifying what they were, however it was quite tricky because there are so many variations of the same tree. It was a new experience for me and I’m glad I did it because it was a nice break, and the weather was lovely too.

For the other four days I stayed in the office and continued to develop on the research tasks and gather as much information as I could. I also attended a sustainability meeting. I think it was important for me to experience what a work environment was like, and I’m glad I have because I’ve come to find it’s not as daunting as I thought it was, and for the record…way better than school!

To conclude, my whole work experience has been phenomenal, thanks to the whole sustainability team, and I wish you all the best. A special thanks to Claire Bastin for offering me to come in the first place, I enjoyed it immensely, and I hope other work experience students share the same extraordinary experiences as I did.

Sustainability in the Curriculum: LUBS Commercial and Professional Skills Module Update

This year, Masters students taking the Commercial and Professional Skills module at Leeds University Business School were given the opportunity to work with the Sustainability Service as part of a consultancy project!

Posing as internal consultants, student groups were tasked to review the student and staff awareness of sustainability initiatives across the University and develop recommendations that could improve people’s knowledge of the Sustainability Strategy and what they can get involved in.

After initial meetings with members of the Sustainability team, groups went away and collected data using a questionnaire to gain a better understanding of people’s sustainability knowledge and activities that are already taking place. They also reviewed specific areas of engagement by the University, using their results to highlight gaps for improvement and make recommendations.

The student’s proposals ranged from utilising social media trends and behaviours, to increasing visibility on campus, and tailoring campaigns for specific audiences.

This is just one of the ways we are integrating sustainability into student learning as part of our commitment to giving all students the opportunity to study and be involved in sustainability.

Student Consultancy

Sustainability Role of the Manager Course

This course is suitable for all academic, professional and support staff
with management and/or leadership roles across the University. This
course will be essential for managers who are involved in delivering the
University vision and strategic aims, and therefore need to know how to
implement elements of the University’s Sustainability Strategy as
relevant to their own roles.

Main topics covered will be:
• Sustainability: what do we mean and why is it important
• The Sustainability Strategy: Overview; Sustainability initiatives
and outcomes; Progress against the action plan; Implications for
managers
• Setting sustainability aims and objectives: personal objective
setting for sustainable outcomes in your teams

Learning and teaching methods:
The session will be very ‘hands
on’ with only short, information giving, presentations including
examples of real world scenarios. Individual and group work will be
included in the session.

By the end of the session delegates will:
• Understand what sustainability is and why it is important for the
University.
• Be equipped with the skills to identify sustainability issues in
work and wider contexts.
• Know about the University’s Sustainability Strategy and approach
to embedding sustainability.
• Understand the implications of the strategy for their roles and
develop an individual action plan relevant to their school/service/role.
• Know who to speak to about any ongoing issues they might have and
started to develop an action plan to achieve their own sustainability
goals.

Please register your place here