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Durham University

Learning and Teaching Handbook

3.13: Environmental Sustainability within Programme and Curriculum Design

1. The following summary outlines some key Environmental Guidelines to consider when developing new programmes proposals.

Departmental inductions:

2. As a minimum, all staff and postgraduate students should receive a short environmental induction when joining the department. Key information should include: responsible energy management; the Beat the Baseload scheme; waste prevention and recycling guidance; and green travel information. A template of environmental information and an accompanying PowerPoint slideshow are available from Greenspace. They should also complete the Environmental Sustainability Training Module accessed via duo.

Course content:

3. Ensure students understand the environmental implications of their research and are briefed on best practice e.g. teach a responsible lab culture to reduce energy wastage.

4. Consider opportunities for engaging with the university’s environmental agenda through the content of your course e.g. using the university as a case study for environmental initiatives (Engineering, behaviour change, social marketing etc.). Suggestions of environmentally-themed student research projects in a range of disciplines are available on the Greenspace website (Should you have further suggestions or presentations for inclusion on the webpage, please email Greenspace).

Reduce the need for travel:

5. Prioritise local locations when identifying suitable fieldwork destinations. Where a greater distance needs to be travelled, consider all green travel options i.e. using rail where suitable etc.

6. Audio-visual equipment, Lync and Skype can support international-engagement without the need for travel. Consider these options where relevant.

Reduce the use of paper-based resources:

7. Departments should avoid the issuing of paper-based resources wherever possible. This includes:

a. Prioritising online/electronic handbooks and prospectuses (though paper-based versions should be available on request).

b. Hand-outs should not be provided to attendees unless necessary e.g. lecture notes should be available to students via duo before, during and after the lecture.

c. Preparatory reading should, where possible, be issued to students in electronic format, via web link to the journal or via electronic reading lists.

d. Consider whether additional paper-based resources can be avoided e.g. could simple worksheet templates be projected for students to follow, rather than printed and distributed to all?

Efficient equipment:

8. Ensure the equipment you use is as efficient as possible i.e. lab equipment, computing equipment, audio-visual equipment etc. Where more efficient versions are available, consider applying to the Carbon Ring-Fenced Budget in liaison with your Environment Champion for support to purchase the item.

Further questions or suggestions regarding environmental sustainability at the university can be made to your Environment Champion or via Greenspace’s online Questions and Suggestions form.