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Aston University and Aston Students Union achieve Responsible Futures re-accreditation!

January 25, 2024

SOS-UK are delighted to share that Aston University and Aston Students Union have successfully obtained their re-accreditation for Responsible Futures!

The Responsible Futures accreditation demonstrates the partnership’s commitment to embedding sustainability across all aspects of student learning. In particular, to working and collaborating with a broad range of internal and external stakeholders to progress Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and climate justice into student learning.

On 26th and 27th October, 12 students from Aston University and Students’ Union led an audit to determine how the partnership has progressed work related to Responsible Futures in the past two years. The audit involved documentary evidence reviews, focus groups and interviews with staff and students involved in this work.

Throughout the process, students reflected on their role in the audit. One auditor shared, “[the audit] gives you a different perspective - as a student we don’t know about all the work around sustainability, so this audit gives us a change of perspective on the university and students unions and all their aspects, not just learning and teaching.”

Some of the partnership's highlights include:

  • The partnership has successfully completed a student-led curriculum mapping project and they have reported the results back to the partnership’s teaching and learning committee. The results could determine the partnerships next steps for adjusting their curriculum for their students.
  • Working and collaborating with multiple stakeholders to progress Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) into student learning, including engaging with the institution and the student’s union.
  • The partnership has listed the strategies relating to education and sustainability. This is evident in Aston University’s 2030 strategy report making reference to the Responsible Futures programme under education strategies.
  • The partnership has developed a focus group called Sustainable Development in Teaching focus group (SDT) aimed to help advance some of the actions around ESD and the dedication to progress sustainability across the partnership.
  • The partnership has incorporated student coursework and dissertations across different discipline (including bio-medical science students) to tackle some of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs). The findings and research from student’s work can bring the partnership closer to exploring solutions and learning new topics around sustainability.
  • The partnership has actively engaged with a range with educational institutions such as Advance HE and Green Skills conference to progress sustainability in student learning.

To regain the Responsible Futures accreditation highlights the determination and enthusiasm of the partnership to consistently progress to embed ESD across all aspects of student learning.

“Thank you Aston University and Aston Students’ Union for your dedication, passion and enthusiasm shown through not only this audit process, but during the whole Responsible Futures programme. There has been some very impressive work happening across the Partnership to embed sustainability, from the implementation of Aston Power Skills and Aston Global Advantage, to the dedication to decolonise the curriculum alongside ESD. This is all impactful, positive work and I look forward to seeing how it continues to develop and progress over time. You have made such valuable contributions to this years’ Responsible Futures cohort and I look forward to continuing this work with you and support your ESD work going forwards.” - Kedijah Eaves-O’Connor (SOS-UK Project Manager for Responsible Futures)

“It has been a true team effort. The re-accreditation preparation and process was driven forward by a cross University working group with members from academic and professional services colleagues as well as student union representatives...” - Goudarz Poursharif (Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor Education, Aston University)