Simon Kemp’s imaginative approach to teaching, particularly by putting students in high-pressure, real-life business situations, hugely impressed our judges. Moving away from traditional classroom-based lessons on environmental management courses, the principal teaching fellow in engineering and the environment asked students to conduct professional audits for several major organisations in Southampton, including Southampton General Hospital, Skandia Insurance and West Quay Shopping Centre, under his supervision.
Students presented their work to the clients and received feedback on their services – inspiring some to set up their own consultancy firms on graduation. They have worked with nearly 100 local businesses, prompting many firms to improve their green credentials. Students praise Mr Kemp’s teaching as “brilliant”, “extremely well designed”, “totally unique” and “incredibly academically rewarding”, and laud his dedication to providing an outstanding learning experience. Mr Kemp has also embraced technology, filming his lectures and using Twitter to extend debates beyond the classroom.
“Simon’s teaching exemplifies the best in innovative and inspirational teaching in UK higher education today,” said lead judge Philippa Levy, deputy chief executive of the Higher Education Academy. His imaginative approach to teaching sustainability and environmental management systems challenges and supports students to learn actively and to develop crucial employability and professional skills.”
it is said that primary school teachers teach children, but that secondary ones tend to teach their subject, with the assumption that university teachers do that even more so. Well, clearly not all do! Excellent stuff, Simon. Good to see sustainability learning at the top table.
Meanwhile, the 'sustainable development' award went to the University of Greenwich. The judges said ...
From a shortlist full of “heavyweights” in the field, the judges recognised the remarkable achievement of the University of Greenwich in “attaining and sustaining a standard that not just matches best practice elsewhere but introduces its own innovations”. Its winning entry was the result of three years of hard work that helped the institution to move from “laggard to leader” in sustainable development by rising 102 places in the People and Planet Green League to top the rankings in 2012. Under head of sustainability Kat Thorne, the university developed a “permaculture” change framework – an approach focusing on relationships aiming to minimise energy consumption, environmental damage and waste and to maximise synergy, productivity and well-being.
The list of achievements included: a 22 per cent reduction in the university’s carbon footprint compared with 2005, with a further 40 per cent cut envisaged by 2020; 200 solar panels installed in student accommodation; 100 per cent of university computers benefiting from power-down software; and achieving ISO 14001 accreditation – which provides assurance that environmental impact is being measured and improved.
“The methodology devised by the university to achieve this was particularly noted as having clear potential for use by other institutions with similar ambitions to make a step change in their sustainability performance,” said judge Patrick Finch, bursar and director of estates at the University of Bristol.
All obviously fine and commendable, but what strikes me is the absence of any mention of people in this. It's as if all this has been done without anyone's involvement, co-operation or enthusiasm, which is unthinkable. This is, of course, what the judges said; I'm sure the UoG cannot have made that error in its submission.