Foundational Climate Education in STEM

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


‘Shaping Tomorrow Together’ is a year-long, 15-ECTS-credit module delivered to over 400 yr1 UG students across 13 STEM disciplines and two global campuses, UK and UAE. The module foregrounds the Climate Emergency as a frame through which emerging specialists view their subsequent learning. The course delivers social, technical and political content around Climate Change as an engaging, discursive vehicle for building students’ key academic study skills and encouraging personal and collegiate growth. Multidisciplinary collaborative activity develops the core social and teamworking skills required to address ‘wicked problems’ (Rittel & Webber, 1973). It is unusual find a mandatory, multidisciplinary, credit-bearing module in Climate Literacy and advocacy in accredited STEM tertiary education. The authors propose that this innovation is analogous to the traditional Art School ‘foundation year’ experience, where personal growth, positioning and core skill development is facilitated via a broad pedagogic framework for exploration and experimentation. This approach can in turn be compared with recent innovations in widening access to HE and STEM subjects via foundational education provision as a gateway to accredited degree study. The paper presents an analysis of literature exploring the origins of the ‘foundation year’ in Arts Education and reviews this against three years’ delivery of this course to STEM students. Student feedback and reflections from past cohorts evidence the personal and academic development of students across the course. The paper concludes by positing the efficacy of this method in developing critically-evaluative, resilient and engaged students with a clear sense of purpose in tackling the Climate Emergency.
Period16 Nov 2023
Event titleAMPS Conference 'Teaching Beyond the Curriculum': Focus on Pedagogy 2023
Event typeConference
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • sustainability
  • SDGs
  • Climate
  • Education
  • Widening Access
  • Foundation
  • STEM
  • Arts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law