Our response to this QAA consultation welcomes the revised guidance and specific competencies, and argues that geospatial and environmental data skills should be given greater attention.
Response submitted 2021
There are a wealth of resources and good practice that have been developed by geographers (see for example those published in the Journal of Geography in Higher Education).
We welcome the emphasis in the document on simulation. Just as one example, this disaster management simulation game Stop Disasters, has been highly effective with students.
Our key point, though, is that any resources will need to be regularly updated. This section of the report should be dynamic or should link to a repository that is.
We welcome the QAA revised guidance for Education for Sustainable Development. We support the refresh, noting Geography’s leading role in this area previously and currently, especially in supporting critical engagement with Sustainable Development Goals. We commend the approach to inspire, inform and enable Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) to be designed into and across-curricula and the role of ESD in empowering learners to take informed decisions and responsible actions. In this context we welcome the recognition of the importance of ESD for, not just about, sustainable development and the importance of values, as well as skills and attributes, and how these will drive lifelong capabilities. We also welcome the centrality of the student voice and the passion and commitment of young people to a more equitable and just world now, and in the future.
The importance of geospatial and environmental ‘big’ data [sets and skills] is not adequately reflected. This is important both for solving problems, considering futures, and addressing sustainable development, but also in improving students’ employability prospects in this fields in the future. Spatial thinking is crucial to building understanding and the development of these skills needs to be at the core of ESD. We believe the understanding of data and development of appropriate skills to critically analyse, interrogate and visualise issues and challenges data are not given full enough attention in the document.
We also want to highlight the role of learned societies and PSRBs, at the interface of higher education and professional practice, as a highly relevant source of information, advice and networks of support in the development and delivery ESD. These bodies should be referenced more explicitly amongst other key stakeholders.
We welcome how the document ends with defined and specific competencies, but some in the community suggest that the word capabilities may provide a better framing. Capabilities and more consistent with the underpinning premise that ESD provides lifelong skills for an increasingly complex world.
Our invited response requests that the Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences and Environmental Studies statement explicitly acknowledge subject overlap with geography.
A call for evidence on the REF as part of Lord Stern's independent review. Our response stresses that current metrics, and definitions of output and impact, do not adequately assess research, particularly in interdisciplinary contexts.
We recommend the inclusion of subject bodies as key information providers and highlight the Society's provision of subject choice advice.
Our response to the European Commission Green Paper on EU research funding advocates for embedding geographical approaches in future research goals, and the simplification of funding and performance measures
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