Innovative approaches for research led education: UCC’s Green Campus Living Laboratory Programme

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Kirrane, Maria
O'Halloran, John
Poland, Mark
Irwin, Sandra
Mehigan, Pat
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University College Cork
National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
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Research Projects
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Ireland’s National Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development (2014-2020), highlights the need to equip students with “the relevant knowledge (the ‘what’), the key dispositions and skills (the ‘how’) and the values (the ‘why’)” to contribute to a more sustainable future (Department of Education and Skills, 2014). Delivering on this challenge requires embedding sustainability within both the formal and informal learning that occurs on campus (Hopkinson et al. 2008), while also integrating sustainability both within and across disciplines (Byrne et al., 2018). UCC is a global leader in sustainability in higher education, being the first University in the world to be awarded a Green Flag from the Foundation for Environmental Education (Reidy et al, 2015). Sustainability at UCC is “student-led, research-informed, and practice-focused” that is, the programme takes an integrated approach and aims to utilise the collective student agency and research capability to deliver real and lasting change on the ground (Pelenc et al. 2015). UCC’s Academic Strategy, with sustainability and interdisciplinarity as key components of the new “Connected Curriculum”, aims to “facilitate students to develop values, skills and aptitudes that promote civic participation, social inclusion, sustainability, digital fluency and impactful, global citizenship” (UCC, 2018). A key aim of delivering its Sustainability Strategy is that UCC would become a “Living Laboratory”, where students, academics and practitioners work together, using the campus itself as a testbed for solutions to today’s major societal challenges (UCC, 2016). A Living Laboratory project should aim to: • Solve a real-life problem • Be based on a partnership among key stakeholders, often crossing disciplinary and/or sectoral boundaries • Trial and test ideas in real life settings • Share data and findings generated openly (EAUC, 2017).
Sustainability , Living Laboratory , UCC , University College Cork , Green Campus
Kirrane, M., O’Halloran, J., Poland, M., Irwin, S. and Mehigan, P. (2019) 'Innovative approaches for research led education: UCC’s Green Campus Living Laboratory Programme', Learning Connections 2019: Spaces, People, Practice, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland, 5-6 December, pp. 165-168. doi: 10.33178/LC.2019.33
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