Teaching

Find out about how we are embedding sustainability in our students’ education.

Our commitment 

The University’s Education Strategy 2018-22 reinforces its commitment to ensuring that graduates are aware of the future consequences of their actions on society and are confident in dealing with them.

Education for sustainable development

Surrey students will develop the knowledge and understanding, skills and attributes needed to work and live in a way that the needs of the present are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Students will be nurtured as future leaders in sustainability thinking and empowered to take informed decisions and responsible actions that promote the wellbeing of present and future generations.

Education for sustainable development at the University is overseen by the Sustainability in Curriculum Working Group chaired by Professor Angela Druckman, our Academic Lead for Sustainability in Curriculum. Members of the group include senior management, staff and students.

Our strategy

We are embedding sustainability in the education of all our students:

Taught degrees

All students will learn about sustainability within the context of their discipline throughout their programme. This will be specified in learning outcomes, and progress will be assessed.

Learning will be underpinned by reference to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Implementation:

  • Existing programmes: pilot 2021, rollout 2021–22, 2022-23 and 2023-24.
  • New programmes: sustainability embedded in all new programmes from 2021–22.

Research degrees

Students provide a statement about how their research relates to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of their formal six-month review, followed by a reflection on progress in their 24-month review.

Students are required to report against at least three SDGs; they can choose whether to report on how their research topic links to the SDGs, or on how the practices they adopt in their research contribute to achieving the SDGs.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, implementation has been suspended, and will be started as soon as possible.

Reporting progress

The Sustainability in Curriculum Working Group shares progress on the implementation of the aforementioned strategy at the Executive Sustainability Steering Group chaired by Professor Graham Miller. The group reports to the Estates Building Executive Committee and Executive Board as appropriate.

Support and training

A short ‘Introduction to Sustainability’ course is available to all staff and students. The course is voluntary and takes around 2 hours to complete, with a certificate being issued on successful completion.

The course was launched in September 2020, with 170 people completing it in the first two months.

Current opportunities

We have integrated various opportunities to experience education for sustainable development within our University:

The Global Graduate Award in Sustainability is an extracurricular module open to all students free of charge which offers the opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of a wide range of issues affecting the sustainability of our planet.

The University offers postgraduate and CPD courses in sustainability. Many of these are run by the Centre for Environment and Sustainability.

There are optional and compulsory modules in sustainability available across our programmes at the University.

The programme provides funding to undergraduate students for carrying out a placement or research project in a sustainability-related topic. Selection of projects happens through an annual competition.

We work with our accrediting body, the Engineering Council, to ensure our engineering programmes meet the six principles of sustainability that all Chartered Engineers sign up to.

The School of Hospitality and Tourism Management provides training for their students in our Lakeside Restaurant and Coffee Shop, where students learn how to embed sustainability in line with Lakeside's commitment to sustainability.

View their Sustainability Policy (PDF) to find out more.