Responses should be made by 11 April 2005
Sustainable development in higher education
Consultation on a support strategy and action plan
This document seeks views on our vision for, and plans to support, higher education's contribution to sustainable development. The support strategy sets out the vision and in broad terms our approach to pursuing it. The action plan sets out a series of practical actions we propose to take within parameters set by the strategy.
|To:||Heads of HEFCE-funded higher education institutions
Heads of Universities in Northern Ireland
|Of interest to those responsible for:||Strategic management, Governance|
|Publication date:||January 2005|
|Enquiries to:||Nicola Dowds
tel 0117 931 7029
1. This is a consultation on our vision for, and plans to support, higher education's contribution to sustainable development.
2. We want to make sustainable development a central part of our strategy for the future development of the higher education sector. Our vision is that, within the next 10 years, the higher education sector in England will be recognised as a major contributor to society's efforts to achieve sustainability - through the skills and knowledge that its graduates learn and put into practice, and through its own strategies and operations.
3. In September 2003 the Department for Education and Skills published its 'Sustainable development action plan for education and skills'. The plan asked us to develop a sustainable development strategy for ourselves and for the way we interact with the higher education sector. We have chosen to do this by producing two interlinked documents: a support strategy (page 5) and an action plan (page 12). The support strategy sets out our vision for higher education's contribution to sustainable development and, in broad terms, our approach to pursuing this vision. The action plan sets out a series of practical actions we propose to take within parameters set by the strategy.
4. Institutions responding to this consultation are asked to involve all those responsible for strategic management in both academic and non-academic functions. We strongly believe that collaborating across the institution to develop a holistic response will provide feedback that addresses all aspects of our strategy, as well as helping to embed sustainability issues within the institution.
5. The action plan sets out a support role for HEFCE in four key areas:
- engaging with stakeholders to bring about policy synergies on sustainable development
- building the capacity of people to manage sustainable development
- sharing good practice, or supporting the development of good practice where none exists
- rewarding more sustainable behaviour.
6. Implementation of the proposed action plan is intended to support the sector in a way that encourages it to:
- embed the principles of sustainable development in its values, strategies, operations and organisational learning
- develop curricula, pedagogy and extra-curricular activities that enable students to develop the values, skills and knowledge to contribute to sustainable development
- strengthen links to businesses, the community, civil society, government and others in pursuit of sustainable development
- build the new skills, knowledge and tools needed for sustainable development through research
- continuously improve its own impact on the environment, society and the economy.
7. Comments are invited on the proposed strategy and action plan, using the response form at Annex B. An electronic version of the form is available. Responses should be e-mailed to email@example.com by 11 April 2005.
8. As part of the consultation exercise we are holding four seminars. We hope that all institutions will be represented at a senior level at these events. Further details are given in paragraphs 15-16. Please register for these events using our on-line form.