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Mainstreaming Climate Change Education in UK Higher Education Institutions

Thew, Harriet; Graves, Catherine; Reay, Dave; Smith, Shona; Petersen, Katrine; Bomberg, Elizabeth; Boxley, Simon; Causley, Jake; Congreve, Alina; Cross, Iain; Dunk, Rachel; Dunlop, Lynda; Facer, Keri; Gamage, Kelum; Greenhalgh, Christine; Greig, Alison; Kiamba, Lorna; Kinakh, Vitalia; Kioupi, Vasiliki; Klapper, Rita; Kurul, Esra; Lee, Michael; Marshall-Cook, Joanna; McGivern, Alexis; Mörk, Jane; Nijman, Vincent; O’Brien, Jennifer; Preist, Chris; Price, Elizabeth; Samangooei, Mina; Schrodt, Franziska; Sharmina, Maria; Toney, Jaime; Walsh, Conow; Walsh, Tristram; Wood, Ruth; Wood, Peter; Worsfold, Nicholas


Harriet Thew

Catherine Graves

Dave Reay

Shona Smith

Katrine Petersen

Elizabeth Bomberg

Simon Boxley

Jake Causley

Alina Congreve

Iain Cross

Rachel Dunk

Lynda Dunlop

Keri Facer

Kelum Gamage

Christine Greenhalgh

Alison Greig

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Assistant Professor - Environmental Design and Architecture

Vitalia Kinakh

Vasiliki Kioupi

Rita Klapper

Esra Kurul

Michael Lee

Joanna Marshall-Cook

Alexis McGivern

Jane Mörk

Vincent Nijman

Jennifer O’Brien

Chris Preist

Elizabeth Price

Mina Samangooei

Maria Sharmina

Jaime Toney

Conow Walsh

Tristram Walsh

Ruth Wood

Peter Wood

Nicholas Worsfold


Key messages
• Mainstreaming Climate Change Education (CCE) across all learning and operational activities enables Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to better serve their core purpose of preparing learners for their roles in work and wider society, now and in the future.
• Student and employer demand for climate change education is growing, not just in specialist subjects but across all degree pathways.
• The attitudes, mindsets, values and behaviours that graduates need to engage with climate change include the ability to deal with complexity, work collaboratively across sectors and disciplines and address challenging ethical questions.
• The complexity of the climate crisis means all disciplines have a role to play in delivering education for the net-zero transition. Embedding interdisciplinarity is crucial to ensuring that our response to climate change makes use of all of the expertise HEIs have to offer and promotes knowledge exchange and integration for students and staff.
• Student-centered CCE, including peer-to-peer learning, is a powerful tool for facilitating an inclusive and empowering learning experience, and developing graduates as change agents for the climate and ecological crisis.
• HEIs should develop learning outcomes for CCE that include understanding the scale, urgency, causes, consequences and solutions of climate change; how social norms and practices are driving the climate crisis; and the ability to identify routes to direct involvement in solutions via every discipline.
• Pedagogical approaches to teaching CCE should enable learners to engage with, and respond to, climate change as a “real-world” problem, such as through experiential learning.
• Further recommendations for the HEI sector include developing a strategy for aligning CCE teaching provision with governance structures; partnering with industry, government and third sector organisations to enable context-specific CCE; and working with trade unions and accreditation bodies to enable curriculum reform.


Thew, H., Graves, C., Reay, D., Smith, S., Petersen, K., Bomberg, E., …Worsfold, N. Mainstreaming Climate Change Education in UK Higher Education Institutions

Deposit Date Nov 26, 2022
Publicly Available Date Dec 15, 2022
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Additional Information COP26 Universities Network


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