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ENVS3017 The Sustainability Professional

Module Overview

The Sustainability Professional is a high-level skills practical module delivered in partnership with a range of contributors from local and regional environmental and sustainability consultancies and other organisations. This module aims to provide students with the skills, knowledge and expertise to pursue a career in this rapidly growing employment field. Students will be able to develop academic knowledge of the subject area, but also be able to gain practical experience of professional project work through working in partnership with internal and external experts on ‘real-life’ case studies on a weekly basis. The emphasis in this module is on professional skills development, problem-solving, and group exercises. Students are encouraged to participate in discussion and development of solutions as opposed to traditional lecture-based classes. Students will complete a series of weekly case study exercises, each of which will be written up in the form of a summary analysis report to be submitted as a ‘Sustainability Portfolio’. Students will then be able to select one case study to write up as full consultancy report to be submitted as the primary assessment. By the completion of the module, all students will have a sophisticated professional level understanding of this diverse field, experience of working with experienced on case study exercises in a professional capacity, and high number of professional skills to add to their CVs.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

1. To understand the theory behind the different disciplines that form the portfolio of a ‘Sustainability Professional’ 2. To apply the skills of a ‘Sustainability Professional’ through a range of case study exercises 3. To understand the work practices of individuals and organisations working in the field of sustainability 4. To develop a range of new transferable skills that will be of value in gaining employment upon graduation

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The need for both a multi-disciplinary and an interdisciplinary approach in advancing knowledge and understanding of Earth systems, drawing, as appropriate, from the natural and the social sciences.
  • The terminology, nomenclature and classification systems used in environmental science.
  • Issues concerning the availability and sustainability of resources, for example, the different value sets relating to the Earth's resources as commodities and/or heritage.
  • The contribution of environmental science to debate on environmental issues and how knowledge of these forms the basis for informed concern about the Earth and its people.
  • The contribution of environmental science to the development of knowledge of the world we live in.
  • The applicability of environmental science to the world of work.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Receiving and responding to a variety of information sources (eg textual, numerical, verbal, graphical).
  • Developing the skills necessary for self-managed and lifelong learning (eg working independently, time management and organisation skills).
  • Identifying and working towards targets for personal, academic and career development.
  • Developing an adaptable and flexible approach to study and work.
  • Communicating appropriately to a variety of audiences in written, verbal and graphical forms.
  • Appreciating issues of sample selection, accuracy, precision and uncertainty during collection, recording and analysis of data in the field and laboratory.
  • Preparing, processing, interpreting and presenting data, using appropriate qualitative and quantitative techniques and packages including geographic information systems.
  • Using the internet critically as a means of communication and a source of information.
  • Solving numerical problems using computer and non-computer-based techniques.
  • Identifying individual and collective goals and responsibilities and performing in a manner appropriate to these roles.
  • Recognising and respecting the views and opinions of other team members.
  • Evaluating performance as an individual and a team member.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Planning, conducting, and reporting on environmental investigations, including the use of secondary data.
  • Collecting, recording and analysing data using appropriate techniques in the field and laboratory.
  • Undertaking field and laboratory investigations in a responsible and safe manner, paying due attention to risk assessment, rights of access, relevant health and safety regulations, and sensitivity to the impact of investigations on the environment and stakeholders.
  • Referencing work in an appropriate manner.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Recognising and using subject-specific theories, paradigms, concepts and principles.
  • Analysing, synthesising and summarising information critically, including prior research.
  • Applying knowledge and understanding to complex and multidimensional problems in familiar and unfamiliar contexts.
  • Recognising the moral and ethical issues of investigations and appreciating the need for professional codes of conduct.

Syllabus

The Sustainability Professional is a high-level skills practical module delivered in partnership with a range of contributors from local and regional environmental and sustainability consultancies and other organisations. This module aims to provide students with the skills, knowledge and expertise to pursue a career in this rapidly growing employment field. Students will be able to develop academic knowledge of the subject area, but also be able to gain practical experience of professional project work through working in partnership with internal and external experts on ‘real-life’ case studies on a weekly basis. The emphasis in this module is on professional skills development, problem-solving, and group exercises. Students are encouraged to participate in discussion and development of solutions as opposed to traditional lecture-based classes. Students will complete a series of weekly case study exercises, each of which will be written up in the form of a summary reflection and analysis report to be submitted as a ‘Sustainability Portfolio’. Students will then be able to select one case study to write up as full consultancy report to be submitted as the primary assessment. By the completion of the module, all students will have a sophisticated professional level understanding of this diverse field, experience of working with experienced on case study exercises in a professional capacity, and high number of professional skills to added to their CVs. Typical Weekly Timetable (All sessions will be a triple timetable slot) 1. Module introduction and Professional Skills development 2. Environmental and Sustainability legislation, policy & standards 3. Workshop 1: Environmental Management Systems 4. Workshop 2: Water management 5. Workshop 3: Biodiversity and conservation 6. Workshop 4: Sustainable waste management 7. Workshop 5: Strategic Sustainability & Development – construction 8. Workshop 6: Air quality management 9. Workshop 7: Carbon management 10. Entrepreneurship and consultancy – setting up and running your own business 11. Life as a Sustainability Professional – senior management speakers outlining personal experiences in the field, and tips for how to get a job and develop your sustainability career N.B. The workshop areas might vary to respond to a new area of scientific and policy importance in the sustainability professional world, but will always focus on the learning outcomes of the module. The order of workshops is likely to vary depending upon the availability of external speakers.

Special Features

Where the case study workshops involve a field visit, a preparatory site visit will be undertaken by the module lead where any special requirements will be assessed and mitigations put in place.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

- Lectures - Discussion and feedback sessions - Case study workshop - Student (consultancy group) presentations - Case study site visits The module will be delivered by lecture and workshop sessions, with an emphasis on student discussion and group exercises. Students are required to participate in debates and workshops at all times. The lectures will be delivered by the module lead and external experts from a local or regional consultancy. The case-study workshops and student presentations are expert-led with continual feedback from the module lead.

TypeHours
Practical classes and workshops21
Lecture12
Fieldwork6
Follow-up work18
Completion of assessment task60
Preparation for scheduled sessions18
Wider reading or practice15
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Resources. ISO 14001; 2015; Environmental Management Systems- specification with guidance for use; British Standards Institute. Additional resources will be highlighted and provided (in some instances) by the external partner organisation delivering the case study workshop.

Assessment

Formative

Presentation (Case study)

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Consultancy Report 50%
Portfolio 25%
Portfolio 25%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Consultancy Report 50%
Portfolio 25%
Portfolio 25%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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