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Change your course to improve our tomorrows

UNIVERSITY NEWS LAST UPDATED : 18 JULY 2012

Birmingham City University are offering a new masters course to inspire the next generation of change-makers in environmental sustainability to take forward the vision, thinking and practices that can make a real difference to social, economic and environmental wellbeing.

The general disappointment over the recent Rio+20 talks on sustainable developments has demonstrated the need for today’s youth, graduates, visionaries and professionals to be knowledgeable of broader perspectives, skilled in using emerging approaches and confident in directly influencing and facilitating social and economic change in an era of rapid environmental change.

The MSc Environmental Sustainability course at the University’s Faculty of Technology, Engineering and the Environment, provides a fundamental base and essential skills for managing change towards a more sustainable society. The course is designed on the premise that no one single view, be it economic, community or environment, nor one single scale, can work in isolation. Rather than operating in specialist subject restricted silos, the course exposes students to a more diverse curriculum which enables appreciation of the connections across these different boundaries - which is where most sustainable development solutions lie.

Alister Scott, Professor of Environmental and Spatial Planning at Birmingham School of the Built Environment, part of Birmingham City University, said: “The course fuses with our current research agendas on linking the built and natural environment professions and disciplines together where we set out to cross boundaries and silos in pursuit of more interdisciplinary agendas and outcomes. In doing this we go outside comfort zones and challenge the disintegrated vocabularies out there which hinder progress”.

In addition to the general Environmental Sustainability route, the course also offers scope for students to specialise in certain fields: Design and Construction, Planning and Policy, and Green Economics (run in conjunction with the Green Economic Institute).

Roger Wall, Course Director at Birmingham School of the Built Environment, said: “The course will be informed by research and practice including areas such as the rural-urban fringe, guerrilla gardening and tools for ecosystem assessment.

“The environment provides a vast opportunity space to help us develop the kinds of society and places we want and need. The trick is to recognise and embed the range of environmental benefits into our business and community strategies.”

Classes are taught using a variety of approaches with an emphasis on participatory learning and inter-disciplinary team-working, allowing students to develop the skills needed to move beyond today’s management problems and become the inspirational environmental leaders of tomorrow.

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