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Students develop proposals to address pressing global concerns

Dr Alastair Smith, Senior Teaching Fellow in Global Sustainable Development at the University of Warwick, tells us how he'll be particpating in the #SDGTeachIn.


As part of the University of Warwick�s B.A.Sc. in Global Sustainable Development (GSD), I am currently convening a module for our first year students concerning Environmental Principles for GSD. The module is structured around the nine planetary boundaries, and after introductory material we cover one boundary each week. My intended learning objectives are designed to provide students with a foundational natural science knowledge of these issues, a critical perspective on existing governance and management practices, and to push them to develop evidence-based proposals for improved responses to such pressing global concerns.

Assessment takes the form of a policy brief and policy pitch relevant to a chosen boundary. The intention of these assessments is not only to evaluate learning, but also create an authentic opportunity for students to learn actively about ways to create persuasive communication, as part of the sustainable development agenda. Examples of last year�s student submissions can be seen here (and I�d be very happy to share the specific instructions if others are interested).

During 19-23 February 2018, we will be addressing one of the two core planetary boundaries, climate change. This week will involve a rather radical pedagogy. Firstly, the week starts with a lecture from Prof. Andrew Levan, who outlines the scientific consensus on climate change from the perspective of an astronomer, researching heat/light dynamics between the sun and our planet�s atmosphere. However, students also hear from an external and prominently sceptical commentator, who questions the basis on which investment is made in responding to this consensus. During workshops, students critically evaluate both presentations to reach an understanding of the foundational scientific knowledge concerning climate change and the political economy of knowledge and governance creation.

Get involved, and pledge to support the #SDGTeachIn!