Professor Kathryn Williams

Professor Kathryn Williams has recently been appointed as a “Sustainability in the Curriculum Fellow” for the Faculty of Science.

Over the next couple of years, I will be leading action toward better integration of sustainability knowledge and values in science curriculum.

Sustainability might seem relevant only to environmental sciences. But if you a look at the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals - good health, zero hunger, affordable and clean energy, industry, innovation and infrastructure, climate action, life below water and on land, clean water and sanitation – it is easy to see how sustainability challenges underpin so much of what we work on in the Faculty of Science.

Our science curriculum already does much to build knowledge and skills for sustainability.  For example:

  • When we ask students to consider the implications of a new technology for environment or society, we foster the deep and integrative thinking needed to grapple with complex sustainability challenges.
  • When we teach students strategies to estimate and predict future states, we facilitate skills for evaluating and anticipating environmental change.
  • When we discuss professional ethical responsibilities in our field, we encourage students to apply their knowledge to act for positive change.

My plan is to act with colleagues to find out where this is working well in our teaching, make great practices visible, and work out how we can extend effective approaches across science curriculum.

This role is a joint appointment by Chancellery and the Faculty of Science, established as part of the University’s Sustainability Strategy 2017-2020, which commits to teaching and learning programs that “inspire and support students to be leaders for a sustainable future”. Please get in touch if you’d like to work toward that in the Faculty of Science.