Across the UK (also covers our International work)
The Subject Centre for Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences (GEES) has a remit that covers England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Although many of our activities and services cover all our constituents (e.g. publications, on-line resources, national conferences, workshop for new and aspiring academic staff) we are also mindful of individual differences in need.
Our programme of bespoke Departmental Workshops is available across the UK and has had take-up from as far afield as the University of the Highlands & Islands, the University of Ulster, the University of Aberystwyth and the University of Exeter in Cornwall. These tailor-made workshops are run by an experienced facilitator from the GEES disciplines and are available to all HE (including HE in FE) schools and departments (indeed anywhere the GEES disciplines are taught) across the UK. The programme of workshops is announced annually at the beginning of each academic year (and includes over 15 different topics) with a deadline of around mid-October for requests.
Funding for learning and teaching research and/or development projects is also available across the UK. New rounds of funding are usually announced around Easter for projects starting in the following Autumn.
We maintain a mailing list of departmental contacts for all institutions that teach geography, earth or environmental sciences at undergraduate and postgraduate level (including HE in FE) across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. This ensures that all interested colleagues are informed of our activities and services, and that relevant publications and information from ourselves and other appropriate projects and organisations may be widely disseminated. We also maintain a 'jiscmail' announcement list, a low-volume moderated news and information service. You will receive news of events, support activities, resources and publications, as well as funding opportunities, as they arise. To view the archives, join or leave this list, go to GEES Subject Centre announcement list.
During 2004-2005 we visited Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and discussed the different needs of these regions with colleagues in the disciplines. In addition, regular contact is maintained with colleagues across the UK and each area is represented on our Advisory Board. Information on our particular activities are outlined below, together with a list of international events, organisations and other relevant links:
England is the largest of the four areas covered by the Subject Centre and has also benefited from additional funding for learning and teaching via the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). The Subject Centre liaises with all the relevant, discipline-related CETLs in order to support their work, share practice and ideas, and to enhance dissemination of their excellence nationally and internationally.
- Centres for Excellence in Teaching & Learning (CETLs)
- Fund for the Development of Teaching & Learning (FDTL)
The current initiative funded by HEFCE is the set of 74 Centres for Excellence in Teaching & Learning (CETLs). These have been funded for five years from 2005 and their resources include significant capital funding. The CETLs' primary responsibility is to develop learning and teaching in their area of excellence within their host institution, however, they also have a remit to disseminate their experience and expertise more widely. This dissemination is being undertaken in collaboration with the Higher Education Academy and its Subject Centres. The CETLs most closely associated to the GEES disciplines are:
Centre for Active Learning (CeAL) in Geography, Environment & Related Disciplines (University of Gloucestershire)
"CeAL is an international centre of excellence reviewing, developing, promoting and embedding inclusive and exemplary active learning for students in geography, environment and related disciplines, including landscape architecture, community development and heritage management. It is building upon the Department of Natural and Social Sciences' nationally and internationally-recognised record of excellence in active learning. CeAL have conceptualised the research and development activities of CeAL as being inter-related and mutually beneficial. This relationship is representative of an experiential learning cycle with development activities being used as research projects and all research feeding back into development through curriculum developmement, dissemination activities and capacity building." These developmental activities are supported through postgraduate research fellows; CeAL Fellows; CeAL projects; establishing projects with other institutions through a visiting fellowship scheme; and working with partner institutions.
Centre for Sustainable Futures (CSF) (University of Plymouth)
"The CETL aims to transform the University of Plymouth from an institution characterized by significant areas of excellence in education for sustainable development (ESD) into an institution modeling University-wide excellence and, hence, able to play a leading national role in helping HEIs, the HE Academy and subject-based communities to implement and deliver the learning, teaching and estates components of HEFCE's sustainable development in higher education strategy and action plan. A Centre for Sustainable Futures (CSF) has been established. The CSF Academic Core Group, composed of a Director, Associate Director, Reader, Senior Manager, thirty six Centre Fellows and a team of three researchers, forms the driving force for change, initially working to wide and deepen excellence in ESD provision in areas where excellence is already demonstrated before extending excellence outwards to second and third wave faculties and schools. The Core Group will encourage CPD-led curriculum innocation and the production of high quality ESD learning materials across the University, design new ESD programmes including a Masters in Education for Sustainable Development and generic undergraduate and graduate modules (customizable by discipline); promote and undertake pedagogical research; develop a University actual and virtual resource centre (the Sustainability Commons), and drive the CETL's internal, regional, national and international dissemination programmes."
Enabling Achievement within a Diverse Student Body
(University of Wolverhampton)
"The University has the highest percentage of students historically under-represented in HE in the UK and is nationally recognised for widening participation. The interdisciplinary CETL aims to improve retention, progression and achievement within a diverse student body. The focus is on identification and support for individuals at level 1 with four identified subject areas [Design for Interior Textiles; Environmental Sciences; Politics & Philosophy; Education Studies]. Excellent student outcomes are achieved through the use of diagnostics and tracking to identify and support learner needs, the development of specific learning skills and embedding this work within the subject curriculum, blended together by a mature learning environment. The CETL will integrate this excellent work into guides, the virtual learning environment and use an e-portfolio to enhance personal development and planning whilst fully exploiting cutting edge communitations technology. By focussing on level 1, the CETL has the potential to benefit the whole student learning experience. The CETL activity will ultimately affect all academic staff engaged with level 1 students and has the scope to reach any student-facing member of staff within the HE sector as a result of the University's extensive internal and external networks and national contacts."
Experiential Learning in the Environmental & Natural Sciences (EL CETL) (University of Plymouth)
"The aim of the CETl is to reward and enhance the existing excellene in the 'hands-on' learning found in fieldwork, laboratory work and work-based learning. The 'core' CETL disciplines - on which the case for excellence was made - are geography, geology and earth sciences, biology and environmental sciences. The CEDTL's work focuses initially on these disciplines at Plymouth, but will extend to other disciplines at Plymouth and the 'core' disciplines nationally and internationally, in its later stages. The EL CETL's activities include research that will investigate how (if) students learn through their experience of fieldwork, lab work and work-based learning; designing and establishing new laboratory facilities (Lab+); transforming the university's planetarium into an Immersive Vision Theatre (IVT); increasing the number of students taking up work-based learning opportunities; developing the use of local areas for fieldwork, expanding the range of distant and overseas field locations, and developing materials that will help students prepare for and reflect on fieldwork; and to provide staff reward funds for any activities that benefit professional and personal development in learning and teaching."
Interdisciplinary Ethics Applied (University of Leeds)
"We are working to integrate inter-disciplinary ethics into the curricula of more than 14 disipline areas at the University of Leeds. The CETL builds on its established excellence in teaching medical ethics, where subject specialists and ethicists help students to integrate diverse ethical issues into a coherence ethics theme which crosses subject and year boundaries." The CETL is working in the following subject areas: biological sciences, business, computing, engineering, environment, medicine, nanotechnology, sport & exercise sciences." We have also developed a web based teaching package - An Introduction to Ethic Thinking - to support non-ethicists to integrate inter-disciplinary ethics into their programmes of study. We are developing an online database of resources for teaching inter-disciplinary ethics, which will include case studies. We are planning to launch this service in June 2008. We offer training and development opportunities for teaching inter-disciplinary ethics."
Spatial Literacy in Teaching (SPLINT) (University of Leicester)
"Spatial literacy and allied geospatial technologies, such as Geographical Information Systems (GIS), Satellite Remote Sensing and Global Navigation Satellite Systems are increasingly important in society and education. The Geography Department at Leicester has a long and distinguised pedigree in research and teaching GIS. The Department has a particular focus on innovative taught postgraduate teaching and has a long history in learning and teaching developments. This CETL - which is a consortium between the University of Leicester (lead), the University of Nottingham and University College London - will use its award to build on these foundations, while simultaneously sharing this excellence across many other disicplines, making the centre truly interdisciplinary, innovative and forward facing." The SPLINT CETL has three goals: to pionner innovative approaches to develop best pedagogic practice for the learning and teaching of spatial literacy; outreach of spatial literacy concepts and geospatial technologies to staff and students in other disciplines; and investment in new state-of-the-art computer, virtual and augmented reality facilities."
From 1996 - 2000 the GEES disciplines were provided for under the Fund for the Development of Teaching & Learning (FDTL) and the projects run under this programme fed into what is now the GEES Subject Centre. These projects included:
- Earth Science Staff Development
- Geography Discipline Network (GDN)
- Geography for the New Undergraduate
- Hertfordshire Integrated Learning Project (HILP)
The Subject Centre has close links with Queen's University Belfast and the University of Ulster, both of which run programmes in the GEES disciplines. Colleagues from these institutions have been awarded learning and teaching project funding, have contributed to Subject Centre events and publications, and have hosted a variety a departmental workshops (several colleagues are also amongst the Subject Centre's team of workshop facilitators).
- In 2005 the GEES Subject Centre Annual Conference was held in Belfast and included presentations on a wide variety of themes.
For more information or to discuss Subject Centre support for the GEES disciplines in Northern Ireland contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone the Associate Director, Yolande Knight on 01752 584531.
The higher education system in Scotland is slightly different to elsewhere in the UK (e.g. 4 year degree with a multi-disciplinary first year, the Quality Enhancement process, under-18s on fieldwork). Networking events are held in Scotland every few years to provide an opportunity for colleagues to meet with Subject Centre staff, discuss their needs and priorites, and share examples of practice. In addition, the Subject Centre has close links with the Scottish Earth Science Education Forum (SESEF) and regularly liaises with the Higher Education Academy's Senior Advisor for Scotland.
The Subject Centre's summer residential conference is to be held in Edinburgh, 2nd - 3rd July 2008, with the theme of 'Employability and Employer Engagement'. For more information, contact the Dissemination Co-ordinator, Susie Bissell at email@example.com
- GEES Scotland Networking Event (2005)
- 'Employability and Employer Engagement' (2008)
- Scottish Network Meeting (2008)
- Resource Pack: One Step Ahead: Enhancement through the GEES Disciplines, a Scottish Perspective (2009)
- HE Academy Scotland
- HE Academy Scotland Travel Fund - Call for applications 2009-10
- Scottish Earth Science Education Forum (SESEF)
- Scottish Funding Council (SFC)
- Scottish Quality Enhancement Themes
For more information or to discuss Subject Centre support for the GEES disciplines in Scotland contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone the Associate Director, Yolande Knight on 01752 584531.
Mae Canolfan Bwnc DGDdA yn cynnal cysylltiadau da â chydweithwyr yng Nghymru er mwyn sicrhau bod ein gweithgareddau a’n gwasanaethau’n parhau i gefnogi eu hanghenion. Cynhelir digwyddiadau rhwydweithio yng Nghymru o bryd i’w gilydd er mwyn rhoi cyfle i gydweithwyr gyfarfod â staff y Ganolfan Bwnc, trafod eu hanghenion a’u blaenoriaethau a rhannu enghreifftiau o ymarfer. Hefyd rydym yn sicrhau ein bod yn mynychu digwyddiadau perthnasol yn y dywysogaeth megis cynhadledd yr Academi Addysg Uwch ar “Strategaethau Dysgu ac Addysgu Sefydliadol Cymru” yn Rhagfyr 2005 er mwyn sicrhau bod ein dealltwriaeth o faterion perthnasol yn gyfoes.
Am fwy o wybodaeth neu os ydych eisiau trafod cefnogaeth gan y Ganolfan Bwnc ar gyfer disgyblaethau DGDdA yng Nghymru, cysylltwch ag email@example.com neu ffoniwch y Rheolwr, Yolande Knight, ar 01752 584531.
The GEES Subject Centre maintains good contacts with colleagues in Wales in order to ensure that our activities and services continue to support their needs. Networking events are held in Wales every few years to provide an opportunity for colleagues to meet with Subject Centre staff, discuss their needs and priorites, and share examples of practice. We also ensure we attend relevant events in the principality such as the HE Academy’s conference on “ Welsh Institutional Learning and Teaching Strategies” in December 2005 in order to ensure our up-to-date understanding of relevant issues.
For more information or to discuss Subject Centre support for the GEES disciplines in Wales contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone the Associate Director, Yolande Knight on 01752 584531.
By definition, the disciplines of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences are global in nature. Research in the disciplines often involves overseas fieldwork and many research projects are collaborative with international institutions. Students are also involved in this global perspective through study abroad and, in particular, international fieldwork. Consequently, there is a broad base of common ground in higher education curricula internationally. In Western higher education, at least, there are also many similar issues affecting learning and teaching including teaching large classes, the dichotomy of research and teaching, supporting students from a diversity of social and education backgrounds, and the need to enhance the development of employability-type skills. These various factors ensure that there is considerable synergy both in research and in teaching of the GEES disciplines in higher education across the globe, and this is borne out by the range of countries represented at international education conferences in the disciplines (e.g. GeoSciEd, INLT).
Since its inception, the GEES Subject Centre has built on and developed the international contacts, collaborations and conference contributions initiated by its individual staff members. These ‘international liaisons’ are considerable in number and have proved to be extremely useful for promoting the work of Higher Education Academy, sharing experiences and resources, and showcasing UK good practice. These have developed on an ad hoc basis over a period of time as a result of ‘cumulative causation’: the snowball effect with contacts and networks and a good dose of serendipity!
The main aims of the GEES Subject Centre’s international strategy are to:
- Share experience and resources with international colleagues;
- Showcase good practice from the UK;
- Develop an international perspective of learning and teaching;
- Enhance the personal and professional development of GEES Subject Centre staff and colleagues.
These aims will be achieved through activities such as:
- Attending and contributing to international conferences;
- Sharing of resources via the Resource Database, PLANET, and international databases and publications;
- Development of key contacts;
- Hosting international visitors and visiting colleagues / departments overseas;
- International collaboration on joint research and development projects;
- Contributing to international networks and associations.
- Organisation: International Network for Learning & Teaching in Geography (INLT)
- Organisation: International Geoscience Education Organisation (IGEO)
- Event: GeoSciEd V, 18-21 Sept 2006, Bayreuth, Germany
- Event: International Network for Learning and Teaching Geography in Higher Education (INLT) Workshop 2006 - Brisbane
- Event: International Network for Learning and Teaching Geography in Higher Education (INLT) Workshop 2004 - Glasgow
- Publication: Journal of Geography in Higher Education (JGHE)
- Publication: Journal of Geoscience Education
- Our Earth Sciences Senior Advisor: Helen King (consultant)