1. Swansea University Strategic Vision and Purpose
At Swansea University, we recognise that equipping students with the knowledge and understanding as well as the skills and attributes to work in a way that safeguards environmental, social and economic wellbeing is necessary to be able to shape a sustainable future. Swansea University is committed at the highest level to embedding sustainability within teaching, as outlined in the University’s Strategic Vision and Purpose.
Specifically, at the highest strategic level, our University's first commitment is to “align our work to the Sustainable Development Goals”.
Swansea University's Strategic Vision and Purpose:
Our Commitments: (page 7)
The climate crisis remains society’s biggest threat. We will align our work to the Sustainable Development Goals and will be a carbon-zero university by 2040.
Socially Responsible: (page 22)
We will work to embed the sustainable development goals across our curriculum, relating teaching to societal challenges. We will increase the proportion of BAME staff members at all levels and will integrate more Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic perspectives into our curriculum to address the attainment gap. We also recognise that learning should be a lifetime endeavour and will expand opportunities for adult learners to acquire new skills and to pursue their intellectual interests.
Our Research: (page 26)
Our research changes lives, drives innovation and regional growth, and is aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It impacts on our culture and society as well as on our health and wellbeing, our economy and our planet. We drive policy change nationally and internationally. We are at the leading edge in many areas including: advanced manufacturing and innovation in clean energy and the digital economy; nanohealth and the analysis of large scale health data; labour market evaluation, terrorist use of the internet, and preserving our industrial heritage. We are exploring new ways to assess and mitigate the risks of the climate crisis and are working to protect the most vulnerable in our society and to enrich all our lives through our understanding of history and the arts.
Our Research Priorities: (page 29)
We will establish the first Institute for Advanced Studies in Wales, with a particular emphasis on impactful, interdisciplinary and policy-relevant research that addresses Sustainable Development goals.
2. Implementing and Tracking Progress in Education for Sustainable Development
The Sustainability Team are currently in discussion with the Students' Union to enable us to proceed and achieve the NUS Responsible Futures accreditation. In the meantime, we use our external EMS system and a series of internal audit processes, as well as mapping the SDG work across the University, including in teaching and research in all Faculties, as part of the SDG Accord requirement.
3. Supporting Academic Staff
The University has long delivered extra-curricular HEAR recognised ‘Sustainability Award’ for all students. This has now moved from its existing format and sees ESD integrated more formally, as part of the curricula across faculties and courses. The new look Sustainability Award relates directly to the work of the University and the Faculty, with guest lecturers and researchers as well as volunteering and engagement with the wider Swansea community.
This ESD work consists of standard items, plus some level of adaptation and bespoke content depending on the Faculty/course. An example of the course content for MBA - level students in the School of Management is included here: Sustainability Award Timetable. The new integrated award is now available for all courses, and makes available support and training for academic staff by providing an ESD course that is specifically designed to be integrated in their specific curriculum.
4. Education for Sustainable Development Actions
Swansea University is a member and signatory of the Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME) which aims to integrate aspects of ESDGC and corporate social responsibility across curricula. The University demonstrates its support and commitment to ESD through a range of innovative, multi-disciplined and pioneering projects across all our faculties and departments.
Examples of the work academic departments and faculties to promote and offer academic opportunities for students to get involved and learn through real-world learning include:
Living Labs - Evidence of Projects
Examples of living labs can be found in our annual SDG report, such as:
- Our Desalination and Water Re-Use MSc enables students to work within the Centre for Water Advanced Technologies and Environmental Research (CWATER), and undertake research projects related to drinking water treatment, waste water treatment, and process-water treatment.
- Our Marine Research Vessel RV Mary Anning, is a key aspect of our undergraduate marine courses, equipped with a wet lab and a dry computer lab on board with a range of scientific equipment.
- The School of Bioscience, Geography and Physics runs a 3rd year field course to Sikkim, in the Indian Himalaya, annually. Sikkim is a unique location for fieldwork – renowned for its breath taking Himalayan environment, rich biodiversity, and the strong commitment to environmental values. On the field course, students complete interdisciplinary research projects on five themes: urbanisation, hydroelectricity, agriculture, ecotourism, and natural hazards.
For other specific examples, see below.
Living Labs with regard to Biodiversity on campus:
Examples of Living Labs with regard to Energy and Carbon on campus:
Our bay campus is home to the SPECIFIC: SOLAR RESEARCH AND ACTIVE BUILDINGS. Researchers on the project, including Professor Dave Worsley of Swansea University are behind the UK’s first energy positive classroom, which generates, stores and releases its own solar energy.
Within this Master programme, tours of the Campus are also offered to show the engineering technology currently providing heat and power to university buildings, particularly the District Heat Network and Energy Centre at Singleton Campus.
University campus buildings have also been surveyed by teams of BEng students to identify where LED lighting and water savings measures can be introduced with estimated capital costs and potential utility and carbon savings.
As part of the EG-M85 Engineering Master programme, Swansea University students engage with the Estates Technical Services team within the Project Management module to report how the campus can operate more sustainably. Up to date and detailed utility consumption data is provided to students (via the lead lecturer Dr Kiyohide Wada). This improves the learning experience from a “fictional” project to a “real world” situation where Swansea University can utilise the student project outcomes for future sustainability improvements.
Additionally, the University has also developed a number of related groups that work towards the Higher Education for Future Generations Groups for Wales (HE FGGDW). Through this group we focus on sharing good practice around Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and sustainability, and we recently took over the running of the UN Regional Centre for Excellence (RCE) Wales. Some of the other groups associated with the HE FGGDW include:
- Circular Economy Research and Innovation Group (chaired by Gavin Bunting, Swansea University).
- Learning and Teaching for ESDGC, Healthy Universities.
- Collaborating with Public Services Boards.
- Regeneration and Cohesive Communities, Effective Communication.
5. Equal Access to Higher Education
The University has a Sanctuary Scholarship for Postgraduate taught masters that will offer students seeking asylum the opportunity to apply for a scholarship. In addition to the scholarship, Our CampusLife colleagues have created a useful bank of resources for asylum seekers and refugees, which can be accessed on their web pages.