Facilitating learning

Facilitating learning

I have expertise in curricular design for undergraduate and postgraduate students (modules, whole programmes) and developing innovative approaches. Examples include:

Understanding and working with complex systems: Teaching undergraduates how to analyse and interpret the resilience of complex social-ecological systems. This involves students working to understand dynamic complexity of different case studies, such as vulnerability of New Orleans to Hurricanes, and then applying resilience theory. This a staged process of developing conceptual system models and analysing these in relation to resilience.

Developing creative visions and steps of how to there: Teaching masters students to examine key development related issues in an urban environment, develop ambitious visions, and backcast how to get there. The group work is based on real-world problems and results in professionally produced work.

Transformations to sustainability: Teaching masters students about how to deliver change projects. This involves group work to develop a theory of change and implement it, while support the work with continual training in how to work pragmatically with complexity, develop targeted and strategic pattern shifts using futures methods, and working with dilemmas. Students are also required to engage in deep reflexive thinking, such as asking themselves how the process influences their thinking about sustainability, change and thinking.

Working with large classes on behaviour change: Teaching large classes in innovative ways to engage them in experiential behaviour change processes. this included working with 300 first year students who develop their own behaviour change targets to reduce carbon emissions.

Teaching facilitation: Innovative approaches to teaching using facilitation methods to help develop skills and awareness of students about participation and working with groups. This has been delivered to masters and PhD students as well as with community leaders and action researchers in communities in Bangladesh and Solomon Islands.

Curriculum design: I have designed integrated and interdisciplinary programmes in sustainability for specific years (e.g. for 300 first year undergraduate students in St Andrews, drawing on expertise from 11 different schools) to whole programmes (e.g. MSc Sustainability at the University of Dundee). Much of this includes innovative elements (e.g. a focus on experiential learning about change and sustainability practice, combined with in-depth research methods training, for MSc Sustainability in Dundee).

Supervision of taught undergraduate and postgraduate research

Learning from doing research is key element of the development of critical analytical and problem solving skills of any student of sustainability. I have been actively involved in development and teaching of such training at undergraduate and taught postgraduate levels. This has included supervising over 120 Honours and Masters students in conducting research projects. Examples include:

  • Supporting provision of vegan food
  • How to support empowerment in disaster resilience
  • Transitions towards urban biogeneration schemes
  • Systemic issues associated with plastic production
  • Resilience and education
  • Urban gardens and potential for fruit tree expansion
  • Metaphors of multi-solving in a fruit tree planting project
  • A resilient university?
  • Deliberative valuation of ecosystem services in the Solomon Islands
  • Can a ball change the world? Contributions of grassroots football programmes for sustainable development;
  • How can Non-Governmental Organisations embrace Sustainable Development principles in Disaster Risk Reduction?
  • Growing Food, Growing Connections: An exploration of values of success on urban agriculture initiatives in Chicago, Illinois;
  • An Analysis of the Environmental Conflict around the Conservation of the Białowieża Forest, Poland;
  • Farming for the future: the future of sustainability in the UK’s agricultural industry;
  • Local perceptions to heavy snow contextualised within social vulnerability discourses: In rural Worcestershire;
  • Public participation in the establishment of protected areas;
  • Cultural tourism in New Zealand;
  • Public perceptions of wind-farms;
  • Public perceptions of cultural sites;
  • Indicators of human livelihoods in Solomon Island communities;
  • Public understanding and perceptions of conservation designations;
  • Barriers and opportunities to adaptation by farmers;
  • Farmers’ understandings and perceptions of wetlands