A chemist's view on the multidisciplinary perspectives of sustainable development

Willison, Debbie and Sengodan, Anand (2021) A chemist's view on the multidisciplinary perspectives of sustainable development. In: Variety in Chemistry Education and Physics Higher Education Conference 2021, 2021-08-16 - 2021-08-20, University of Glasgow.

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This presentation will outline the development of an innovative module at the University of Strathclyde which is available to all students studying at Strathclyde. UNESCO has been promoting Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) since 1991 and is now spearheading its follow-up, the Global Action Programme on ESD. Global issues urgently require a shift in our lifestyles and a transformation of the way we think and act. We need new skills, values and attitudes that lead to more sustainable societies. Education systems must respond to this pressing need by defining relevant learning objectives and introducing pedagogies that empower learners. The new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development clearly reflects this vision of the importance of an appropriate educational response. Education is explicitly formulated as a stand-alone goal - SDG4 - that is why education represents an essential strategy in the pursuit of SDGs and defined the need for this module. There is no other credit-bearing University of Strathclyde class currently available that has academic input from all four Faculties, and that can be attended by all students. The educational aims of the class also make it distinctive in seeking to develop students’ knowledge and understanding of some of the challenges facing the world as articulated in the SDGs. The structure of the module and how it introduces students to the 17 SDGs will be described. Through exploration of the challenges of four particular goals: SDG3 Good Health and Wellbeing, SDG6 Clean Water and Sanitation, SDG10 Reduced Inequalities, and SDG13 Climate action, students gain an understanding of the different ways in which various disciplines can contribute to addressing these challenges. This enables students to understand that a multidisciplinary approach can be more powerful than a number of independent contributions but does the module address and support staff interactions? This will be explored.