Sustainability in the curriculum

We're committed to delivering course programmes, academic initiatives and research projects focused on sustainable development

Education for sustainable development

LSBU is committed to delivering course programmes, academic initiatives and research projects focused on sustainable development. See below for examples of LSBU's education for sustainable development (ESD) initiatives.

Starting to integrate sustainability into the curriculum

In the 2016/17, LSBU undertook a multi-disciplinary course evaluation process whereby a detailed review was made to research the current provision of sustainability content within LSBU’s undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Course content was reviewed from a three-way perspective - economy, society and biosphere/environment – in line with the three “pillars” of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

LSBU’s assessment considered all 241 courses on offer during the 2016/17 academic year – 140 undergraduate and 101 postgraduate courses. The summary findings were:

  • 130 of LSBU’s undergraduate courses contain some references to sustainability (out of 140) equating to 92% of courses
  • 88 of LSBU’s postgraduate courses contain some references to sustainability (out of 101) equating to 87% of courses
  • In summary, 218 courses (out of 241) offered at LSBU in 2016/17 contain some references to sustainability equating to 91% of courses.

Follow-up action to verify the level of sustainability content within our courses, for example, whether this is “high, medium or low” in each case, as well as to make recommendations for further embedding of sustainability thinking into the courses, where practical was planned as a priority activity for the 2017/18 academic year to validate the on-going integration of further sustainable development content into the LSBU curriculum.

This review in 2016/17 built on previous work  Gail Langley completed in 2015 to identify Education for Sustainable Development activity across teaching and learning in LSBU. Prior to that, Dr Deborah Andrews had also undertaken a comprehensive review of the status quo of the coverage of sustainable development within the curriculum in LSBU. Thus, LSBU can demonstrate continuous improvement in this field.

Sustainable Development Goals in the undergraduate curriculum

In 2022, LSBU launched a new curriculum framework which sets out the expectations for the design, delivery and structure of LSBU courses. The principles set out in this framework are crucial to achieving the key provisions outlined in the Corporate Strategy 2025:

  • An inclusive curriculum framework: appropriate, accessible and meaningful approaches to academic learning and teaching
  • Credit-bearing workplace learning as standard
  • Apprenticeship/employer-sponsored education
  • Enterprise embedded in the curricula using the European Entrepreneurship Competence Framework – Entre-Comp
  • Social capital development that increases social mobility
  • 25% of students and staff engaging in a global experience
  • Learning in support of social good, and focussing on the UN Strategic Development Goals (SDGs)

The curriculum framework includes a compulsory module for all Level 4 courses linked to the SDGs.  40 Level 4 credits must focus on addressing business/societal challenges while building interdisciplinary student communities. Many of these would be based around one or more of the nine SDGs identified in the Corporate Strategy 2020-2025 and / or the development of academic / employability / professional skills.

Integrating sustainability into the curriculum

The Curriculum Working Group comprises academic colleagues from across London South Bank University’s seven schools.

In the 2016/17 academic year, LSBU initiated a multi-disciplinary course evaluation process whereby a detailed review was made to research the current provision of sustainability content within LSBU’s undergraduate and postgraduate courses delivered in the 2016/17 of teaching. Course content was reviewed from a three-way perspective - economy, society and biosphere/environment – in line with the three “pillars” of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Officially known as ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’, the UN SDG’s set out the road map (2015- 2030) that universities including LSBU can navigate towards to meet the seventeen aspirational ‘Global Goals’ (supported by 169 targets).

LSBU’s preliminary assessment included all 241 courses on offer during the 2016/17 academic year - 140 undergraduate and 101 postgraduate courses – the summary findings are as follows:

  • 130 of LSBU’s undergraduate courses contain some references to sustainability (out of 140) equating to 92% of courses
  • 88 of LSBU’s postgraduate courses contain some references to sustainability (out of 101) equating to 87% of courses
  • In summary, 218 courses (out of 241) offered at LSBU in 2016/17 contain some references to sustainability equating to 91% of courses

The results from the preliminary assessment look very promising. However, follow-up activity is now required to verify the level of sustainability content within our courses, e.g. whether “high, medium or low”, as well as to make recommendations for further embedding of sustainability thinking to the courses, where practical.

This will be a priority action for 2017/18 academic year as a means to validate the on-going integration of further sustainable development content into the LSBU curriculum.

This most recent work builds on past work Gail Langley completed in 2015 at LSBU to identify Education for Sustainable Development activity across teaching and learning. Prior to that, Dr Deborah Andrews also undertook a comprehensive review of the status quo of ESD within the curriculum, so LSBU is able to demonstrate continuous improvement in this field.

Supporting academic staff

Prof. Ros Wade has facilitated a sustainability session at a Faculty Meeting for staff, and is constantly promoting the sustainability agenda in her capacity as Director of the London Regional Centre of Expertise.

Prof. Pat Bailey is also a Council Member of the Regional Centre of Expertise.

London South Bank University, in collaboration with the RCE London, hosted an open day for refugees, their families, friends and supporters on 24 June 2017. Prior to that, LSBU hosted the meeting of the European Regional Centres of Expertise on 23 and 24 June 2016.

Course modules and project work

LSBU offers some courses which are wholly on sustainability and climate change. An example includes LSBU's MSc Sustainable Engineering Systems: students consider the broader implications of what is covered in modules such as Energy Resource Use and Analysis, measuring Life Cycle impact as well as considering the use of renewable energy systems.

Many other courses also cover sustainability and climate change, such as:

Our second year Chemical and Petroleum and Mechanical Engineering students also cover sustainability and sustainable engineering.

  1. Sustainability is embedded into the Product Design and Engineering Product Design courses in the School of Engineering. The elements include a specific Design for a Sustainable Society module; sample assignments include design for dementia, reducing food waste and reusing waste from the hospitality industry. Many of the design projects address topics on Sustainability and/or Climate Change.
  2. The Masters in Engineering Management module entitled Energy, the Environment and Product Life Cycle introduces students to sustainability, enabling them to develop their thinking about the engineering, design and current practice in these fields.
  3. On the BSc Chemical and Petroleum and Mechanical Engineering students also cover sustainability and sustainable engineering
  4. The National Bakery School also covers sustainability in the following modules: Business/Environmental Management and QM Best Practice; Food Regulations and Sustainability; and Food Control and Sustainable Practice.  The expertise of some LSBU academic staff members is recognised internationally. For example, Dr Delia Ojinnaka gives an annual lecture on food security and sustainability at the University of Valencia in Spain.

Many student's academic projects also feature significant elements of sustainability. Recent student projects have included:

  • Product Design: a roof garden to grow fruit and vegetables for students, staff and the local community
  • Digital Design: developing posters and new recycling bin graphics
  • Informatics: analysis of complicated electricity consumption data
  • Engineering: students are involved with the Engineers Without Borders charity

Students

Some of our courses feature significant elements of sustainability. Recent student projects have included:

  • Product Design: a roof garden to grow fruit and vegetables for students, staff and the local community
  • Digital Design: developing posters and new recycling bin graphics
  • Informatics: analysis of complicated electricity consumption data
  • Engineering: students are involved with the Engineers Without Borders charity

If you want to develop an environmental project as part of your course, get in touch with the Sustainability Team.

The following is a list of courses (a mixture of undergraduate and post-graduate) that London Southbank University offers that feature sustainability in one or more of their modules.

Arts and Creative Industries

Events and Entertainments Management

Built Environment and Architecture

Architectural Technology
Building Services Engineering
Commercial Management
Construction Management
Property Management
Surveying
Sustainable Energy Systems

Business

Economics
International Business Management

Engineering

Chemical Engineering
Engineering Product Design
Petroleum Engineering
Product Design

Law and Social Sciences

International Commercial Law LLM
Politics
Professional Doctorate in Education with special focus on sustainability, equality and diversity - EdD
Sociology
Urban and Environmental Planning

Embedding sustainable action

LSBU plays an active role in encouraging and engaging students and staff to get involved in sustainability initiatives across campus. This helps us make continual improvements in what we do and delivers the long-term change that is required in order to address the challenges society faces. Fundamentally, this engagement has the most significant impact when a student or staff member embeds these values into their lives.

With this in mind, the University has developed a number of curriculum-based sustainability projects that give students 'real world' experience in addressing sustainability challenges:

The Elephant free-cycling app

LSBU has supported a student to develop a free-cycling app for students and staff to offer and exchange items for free on campus in order to reduce the amount sent to landfill each year. Find out more about the Elephant app.

Designing a rooftop garden

The Sustainability Team works with Product Design students to assess opportunities to develop roof spaces into gardens. The students' designs are then assessed through their coursework and presentations.

Recycling communication

As part of their coursework, Product Design students develop posters and campaign ideas to improve recycling rates and visibility across campus.

Selling free-cycling

MSc Marketing students have developed a marketing plan for a free-cycling app and identify innovative ways to help reduce waste on campus.

Travel survey

LSBU supported an Engineering student to create, deploy and analyse a university-wide travel survey for their dissertation. This was crucial in understanding the travel habits of students and staff and the associated environmental impacts.

Using art to talk about climate change

Photography students take a tour of the heating and hot water systems in our buildings, led by LSBU Estates Maintenance engineers. Their photographs tell the story of LSBU's investment in energy efficiency and capture the strange beauty of this hidden but very important work.