The University of St Andrews has won one of the UK’s most prestigious environmental awards for its establishment of a groundbreaking undergraduate programme in Sustainable Development.
St Andrews has been awarded a Green Gown Award 2009 in recognition of its Sustainable Development (SD) programme, which is now becoming a model for other courses across Europe. The programme was launched in 2004 with the first students graduating in Sustainable Development last summer.
The St Andrews course demonstrated “innovation, excellence and educational impact”, according to the Green Gown judges who praised University staff for their “hard work and commitment.”
The Green Gown Awards, now in their 5th year, recognise exceptional initiatives being taken by universities and colleges across the UK to become more sustainable. With sustainability moving up the agenda, they have become established as a prestigious recognition of the achievements within the further and higher education sector, as well as the environmental sector.
The St Andrews Sustainable Development Programme is considered Scotland’s flagship higher education degree programme related to sustainability, and was recently showcased by the Scottish Government as an example of good practice within Scotland contribution to the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.
The Green Gown judges commented, “The hard work and commitment of the university staff who have brought this course to life is obvious and the speed of its growth impressive. This unique interdisciplinary approach is well integrated with the intellectual process of what is taught and reflects great depth in what is being done.”
Dr Rehema White, Sustainable Programme Coordinator at St Andrews, said, “Winning a Green Gown Award means validation of the hard work we have put into bringing this visionary course to life. It sends a message that you can successfully be innovative and try new approaches in higher education; that a change towards transformative education is possible.”
The St Andrews Programme has been used as a case study by other universities interested in establishing sustainability programmes. It offers a unique, interdisciplinary curriculum, explores a new relationship between knowledge and society and seeks to nurture future leaders in Sustainable Development.
Whilst the Programme is hosted by the School of Geography and Geosciences, teaching on core Sustainable Development modules is undertaken by 11 schools across the University. Students combine SD modules with self-selected partner discipline modules within specialist SD pathways. This study area is now one of the fastest growing academic areas in the University. This is part of the University¿s drive to promote sustainable development through scholarship as well as practice.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
The Green Gown Awards have a variety of categories in which universities and colleges can illustrate their achievements in both academic and estates management. The Awards also run workshop events throughout the year sharing the good practice to the sector. The Awards are administrated by the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges and are governed by a cross agency steering group made up of Association of Colleges (AoC), Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE), British Universities Finance Directors Group (BUFDG), Guild HE, HEEPI, Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), National Union of Students Services Ltd (NUSSL) and Universities UK (UUK).
Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews
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Ref: Green Gown 010709
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