KE6033 - Translating Environmental Science into policy, outreach and decision making

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What will I learn on this module?

Engaging with environmental issues and sustainable development beyond the academy has always been at the heart of Environmental Sciences at Northumbria . Environmental issues such as climate change mitigation and adaptation; reduction of pollution and plastics, reversing biodiversity losses; improving soil quality and managing urban growth present major sustainability challenges for the 21st Century. Environmental engagement can occur at multiple levels in society: business and corporate; government; public; education. On this module you will work towards completing a small piece of Application, Outreach or Decision making, the topic of which will be dependent staff expertise and partner engagement.
The aim of the module is to explore, understand, practice and evaluate means of environmental engagement. From building both the business and environmental cases for corporate engagement in the environmental agenda to communication with the public and embedding the environmental understanding into education. The module will examine concepts of risk and risk management, the application of environmental management and assessment tools. Bringing science into policy, the role of stakeholder engagement and communication in environmental change. How you can successfully engage with the public and how to bring complex issues to school children. The module will help you to develop the skills required to support the implementation of environmental programmes and change the environmental agenda at all levels of society.


Topics you will cover on the module include:

• Conceptual framework for translating environmental science into policy, outreach and decision making
• Sustainable Development Goals- differing interpretations, awareness and use
• Environmental communication – the role of stakeholder engagement and communication in improving environmental engagement.
• Practical tools for business engagement with the environmental agenda
• Making science-based policy decisions to improve the environment
• Environmental education – how, when and why?
• Public engagement – outreach as a tool to promote the environmental agenda
• Project management – approaches and issues.
• Group working – practical skills and professional approaches

How will I learn on this module?

This module is taught by a combination of lectures, seminars and project supervision.

Lectures will be used to provide the background to the various tools and techniques for environmental engagement with case studies used to illustrate application. In addition you will be expected to participate in in-class exercises and a short local field trip which will help you to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the approaches considered.

Working in groups, you will be supported by a staff member in undertaking a live project designed to apply your learning to an engagement activity. This is designed to give you a more “real-world” experience of working on a project, reporting to a supervisor and delivering a product on time. The nature of the activity will vary from year to year and from group to group depending upon client needs and current issues of concern.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

All teaching materials for the module are made available on the module eLP site. Each group will be allocated a member of staff to act as a tutor during their environmental engagement activity. Their role is not to provide the answers but to support the group through the input of advice and guidance on technical and practical issues as the activity progresses.

The module will involve working with partners from within the University (NUSTEM; Sustainability) and external partners (when available). To support this guest lectures will be delivered by practitioners and experts on the subject material.

Teaching staff operate an ‘open door’ policy for students meaning you can approach them anytime during normal office hours, or via email, to answer questions, receive feedback and support your learning on the module.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• MLO 1: Argue the case for promoting the environmental agenda and sustainable development to a target audience.
• MLO 2: Effectively communicate complex environmental issues, based upon extensive background knowledge, to a target audience
Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• MLO 3: Design and deliver an effective engagement activity on a topic of environmental science
• MLO 4: Apply critical research and your degree skills in a real-world engagement activity.
Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• MLO 5: Develop a critical awareness of yourself as an influencer to different stakeholder groups and your role in shaping the future of the environment.

How will I be assessed?

The module is assessed by two coursework components – a group report (40%) and an individual personal portfolio (60%). Both of these components relate to your “project”

The first assignment is also a checkpoint in the process of delivering the engagement project. As a group you will collaborate to produce a concisely written 2,000 word report to give you practice in writing a ”Case for Support”, “Activity proposal”, “policy brief” or “business evaluative briefing” style document. This report will form the basis for your project, and you should discuss requirements with your supervisor and “client” on a regular basis. You will use this assignment, formative and summative feedback to help in the successful delivery of the engagement activity.
Assesses: MLOs 1, 2, 3 and 4.
Once you have completed your engagement activity, assignment 2 is an individual reflection and evidence portfolio based upon the engagement activity. This will consist of a 1,500 reflection on the activity, the process of developing and delivering, the project management and the success/failure of your engagement activity. You will support your reflection with a variety of evidence gathered during the engagement project, the exact content being dependent upon the nature of the project but may include, meeting note, primary data, secondary data, student produced evaluations, procedures and presentations and will be negotiated with the group tutor. A seminar, supervisor meetings and guidance on structure will help you succeed with this assignment.
Assesses: MLO 3, 4 and 5

Pre-requisite(s)

None

Co-requisite(s)

None

Module abstract

The environmental agenda has never been more widely discussed in society. As graduates of the Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences you become ambassadors and influencers in these discussions. In this module you will learn about various avenues for engaging society with environmental issues and sustainable development. You will learn about practical tools, strategies and evaluation for corporate engagement, embedding environmental topics in education; embedding science into policy and decision making and carrying out effective knowledge exchange and public outreach. As part of the module you will undertake an engagement activity linked to one of the aforementioned topics. This gives you the opportunity to show off your knowledge, skills and creativity. Indulge your environmental passions and complete a significant piece of work that you can put on your CV and discuss at graduate job interviews. You will be assessed through a planning document that feeds into your environmental engagement activity. You will then evidence and reflect on your engagement activity for the second assessment. By the end of the module, you will be able to say “I did this… and it had this impact….”.

Course info

UCAS Code F751

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Geography and Environmental Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2021

Fee Information

Module Information

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