November 9, 2012, by sustainablenottingham

And the award goes to…

Sarah Speight, Academic Director of the Nottingham Advantage Award and Chair of the Grand Challenge on Education for Sustainable Development, shares her highlights of an evening at the Green Gown Awards.

Sustainability is certainly not about winning awards, but it does help!  Earlier this week Nottingham came away from the Green Gown Awards 2012 with a ‘Highly Commended’ in the category of ‘Learning and Skills’.  It was an interesting evening.  A party of ten attended the ceremony, held in the University of Birmingham’s splendid Great Hall.  Around us were the great and the good of ‘Sustainability Excellence’ across the tertiary education sector – universities, colleges, adult education centres and sponsoring organisations. These included the Higher Education Academy, HEFCE and the award organisers, the Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges (EAUC).

Dr Sarah Speight and Andy Beggan receiving their commendation

Dr Sarah Speight and Andy Beggan (right) receiving their commendation

Thirteen awards were given out, including Carbon Reduction (University of Cumbria), Green ICT (De Montford University) and Institutional Change (Manchester Metropolitan). The evening ended with the international awards, a slightly surreal section in which colleagues from Australia and New Zealand joined us by video-link to hear that they had been pipped at the post by UK universities in two categories although the University of Sydney won the final award. It is clear that a Green Gown is increasingly seen as a marker of excellence. The judging panel is drawn from a wide range of relevant organisations and includes the Carbon Trust, JISC, Ofsted, the NUS and Universities UK.

Back in 2010 we were awarded our first ‘Highly Commended’ for grounds management.  Since then, we’ve been working hard to move the sustainability agenda beyond the confines of our campuses and into our teaching and learning.  Our entry focused upon the work we’ve been doing with open educational resources and the Nottingham Advantage Award – developing new academic content about sustainability that can be accessed by everyone who wants it, not just Nottingham’s staff and students.   Sustainability runs throughout the project. The content is about sustainability, the design uses sustainable learning technology, and the learning format embraces sustainable pedagogies.  We’re currently publishing a series of e-books – a first for Nottingham.

Nottingham’s ‘Table for Ten’

It was a long night but worth it. Hearing of the work of colleagues across our sector is inspiring (although we thought the organisers missed a trick in not providing more information at the venue about all of the shortlisted projects).  Nottingham’s ‘Table for Ten’ reflected our commitment to sustainability in all that we do;  Estates staff, Students Union officers, alumni, academics, senior managers and a learning technologist.  The host for the Awards was the broadcaster Simon Fanshawe, alternately amusing and offensive! He certainly added colour to the evening.

There’s a full list of the winners and highly commended entries on the EAUC’s website.

Our first e-book, Sustainability in the Arts and Humanities, is available in two parts from the itunes store: part 1 and part 2. Engineering and Geography are also available now, with Business to follow.

Posted in teaching and learning