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This project produced a toolkit to enhance the wider-scale impact of work-based learners on global issues.


Focusing primarily on practitioners studying part-time, the project team collated best practices on how these individuals – as student intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs (SIEs) driving change within and beyond organisations – can combine their practitioner knowledge with new academic learning outside the classroom to tackle significant societal issues.


The project builds on wider-scale drivers and initiatives towards impactful learning and research, which is applicable across the sector in various contexts.


Using discussion forums and generative sprint day activities to gather feedback from students and broader stakeholders and create new resources and activities, the project team produced a toolkit that enables SIEs to develop the skills and attributes required to underpin effective influential strategies for global citizenship.


This project team consisted of Liverpool John Moores University (Lead: Prof Tony Wall), University of Chester (Lead: Dr Lisa Rowe) and Oxford Brookes University (Lead: Dr Simon M Smith).

If you would like to share feedback and/or discuss the Student Intrapreneur and Entrepreneur Toolkit, please contact the project team.

Student Intrapreneur and Entrepreneur (SIE) Toolkit

This toolkit is designed to support teaching and learning staff who work with work-based learners in business and management. The toolkit aims to:

  • provide teaching and learning staff with the tools to support work-based learners to enhance societal impact of academic learning
  • empower students to enhance the wider-scale impact of their academic learning by tackling significant societal issues within and beyond their organisation
  • create a community of practice for teaching and learning staff and student intrapreneur/entrepreneur learners to exchange best practices.

This toolkit of resources is split into three categories so that teaching and learning staff of all levels can embed impact into their teaching and learning practice at programmemodule, and activity levels. There is also a repository of external resources from leading impact and teaching organisations to provide staff with broader guidance.

Programme level

The resources in this section are for the programme level and include compiled resources that support embedding sustainability into the broader educational framework. These resources will benefit programme leaders seeking to enhance impact in the broader curriculum.

Author: Fiona Armstrong-Gibbs

Step-by-step instructions/guidance

The pedagogical approach underpinning the programme is inspired by the Finnish Team Academy model.

By using a variety of different coaching models, the programme provides a supportive and stimulating environment for students to engage in practical business activities and venture creation to gain an experience based understanding of sustainable business practice.

In a globalised world with grand challenges this programme focuses on heutagogy – the process of self-determined learning.

Use a process of ‘learning by doing’ and group learning approaches to explore personal and group approaches to sustainable enterprise.

Key to the success of this programme is encouraging students to develop the entrepreneurial competencies and behaviours to work effectively in teams. Throughout the programme teams will take an enterprising and proactive approach in creating and delivering value to customers and the wider community.

It is also essential that they develop the practice of critical reflection to support life-long learning and professionalism and the students become equipped with a range of transferable skills to enable them to make positive contributions in a range of contexts in business and society.

Learning is primarily achieved through experiential methods. Students are assigned to a team at the start of the course and work together for the duration of their studies to create and run business ventures and respond to business challenges, at the same time students are required to source and apply relevant knowledge and theory and engage in critical reflection.

As students’ progress through the levels of the programme they are required to engage in more complex and challenging business activities so by the end of their studies they will have gained an experience-based understanding of business and entrepreneurial practice. The experiential learning on the programme is supported by a coaching approach and structure based on the established Team Academy model.

Students engage in at least 9 hours of group coaching (training sessions) per week. The training sessions focus on supporting students’ self-directed learning in relation to their entrepreneurial practice and the business activities they are engaged in. Students will also have individual tutorials throughout the year focusing on personal development. In addition to the coaching / tutorial sessions there are a number of structured workshops that are delivered in the early stages of the programme to support the development of knowledge and understanding around the principles of business and basic business skills The acquisition and application of knowledge, understanding and practical skills/competencies is continually assessed across the three years of the programme. A range of assessment tools are used to ensure students are learning from the practical activities they engage in.


Learning portfolios are used in all modules except the final project. The portfolio is a flexible assessment tool that is designed to facilitate and promote reflective practice and collate evidence of business activity and related learning. Through the portfolios students demonstrate their practical and cognitive skills and their ability to apply knowledge in a practical setting.

Group assessments are also used in all modules except the project/dissertation to assess students’ ability to apply knowledge and work collaboratively to a given brief. Group assessments focus on the development of practical entrepreneurial skills and competencies (including creativity, decision making and resilience) and transferable skills such as teamwork and presenting. Group assessment include live business challenges (where students are required to respond to real business problems in a fixed amount of time), workshop design / delivery and business analysis reports. A range of formats are used for group assessments including poster presentations and business pitches.

Personal and professional development is a component of all modules on the programme though there is a specific emphasis on assessing it in three linked modules – one in each year / or level of the programme.

Learning contracts and psychometric profiling tools such as QUEST are used in these modules to support students’ critical evaluation of their competencies and professional objectives in the context of entrepreneurial practice and related theory. Critical analysis and general cognitive skills are most fully assessed through a project/dissertation at the final level. For their project, students are required to design a study that builds on their entrepreneurial practice and expands their knowledge in a specialist area of business.


Authors: Lilian Schofield, Lisa Rowe, Ann Hindley, Lisa Knight, Tony Wall

Step-by-step instructions/guidance
  1. Complete a full audit of each programme to review content and expose gaps in the coverage of SDGs. This might be done at business school review periods, programme re-validation, or ad-hoc strategic development events. It is important to involve colleagues, students and stakeholders in this process, so that the gaps are understood from the perspective of those who deliver the programme and those who engage and should benefit in the programme.
  2. Ensure that each module contains appropriate level of reference to SDGs to result in an even spread of content across the programme. Again, this should be done in consultation with the delivery team, students and other stakeholders.
  3. Some broad principles to embed:
    • Include longitudinal opportunities to continually engage students with sustainability topics, e.g., blogs, chat forums and web spaces
    • Develop a capstone project module which enables students to select, engage with and further develop specific sustainability topics covered in the module
    • Provide formative feedback at regular intervals to ensure continued alignment with the SDGs
    • Partner with organisations to provide live projects and placements so that students can explore how different organisations define and implement sustainability, and propose alternative solutions based upon the theories and ideas learned
    • Measure short-term impact in terms of the success derived from embedding sustainability activities and interventions Measures should include: the number of students opting to take the module; the type of report students produce; and the extent of student reflections and reflexivity
    • Build in opportunities for wider and regular sharing of project outcomes and findings to encourage further opportunities for students to learn across modules and share best practice
    • Ensure that assessment methods include opportunities for peer discussion and a genuinely reflective review of progress with key sustainability issues
    • Encourage opportunities for further impact e.g., publications, thought leadership pieces, speaker events, poster displays, conferences.
  4. Consider indicators of what you are looking to achieve with embedding sustainability and find ways to judge achievement. This might be through student success in the above opportunities, but it might be broader, as determined by the wider stakeholder group.
Extending learning
  • Use for programme development, ideally when most or all modules have embedded SDGs in their modules
  • Deepen and broaden coverage at each validation and/or periodic review, using feedback from stakeholders
  • Provide training and development opportunities for the programme design and delivery team
  • Consider the same processes for collaborative programme design and delivery
  • Utilize ‘naïve expert’ approach to enhance creative programme design.

Authors: Oliver Marnett, Ruth Slater, Fiona Armstrong-Gibbs, Lisa Rowe

Step-by-step instructions/guidance
  • Establishing a global community of practice for student intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs (SIEs) and their academic supervisors involves creating a collaborative environment where members can share knowledge, best practices, and resources. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you set up and facilitate such a community:
    1. Define Purpose and Objectives:
      • Clearly define the purpose of the creating a global partnership for all the goals (SDG17). 
      • Identify specific objectives such as knowledge sharing (e.g., master’s projects outcomes), professional development (sharing of best practice), collaborative projects and collaborative research. Some of the activities described within this document may also be scaled-up to an international community of SIEs.  
    2. Identify Key Stakeholders: 
      • Engage with universities, academic institutions, journals, professional bodies and organisations involved in work-based learning and professional development to explore levels of interest. 
      • Gain buy-in and resource allocation from senior team. 
    3. Create a Platform for Collaboration: 
      • Develop an online platform or utilise existing platforms that facilitate collaboration across different time zones and which accommodate different cultures (e.g., forums, social media groups, dedicated websites).  
      • Ensure the platform is user-friendly and accessible with the potential for future expansion.   
  • Vaghar, S., Wyatt-Buchan, S., Dayal, S., Banik, S. and Nahar, A. (2023), "The Power of Intergenerational Partnership: Students, Universities, and SDG17", Cabrera, Á. and Cutright, D. (Ed.) Higher Education and SDG17: Partnerships for the Goals (Higher Education and the Sustainable Development Goals), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 93-112.

Authors: Geena Whiteman, Lisa Knight, Kalyana Kamber

Step-by-step instructions/guidance
  • At the beginning of each academic year, or as part of an induction process, design and conduct a short survey with each cohort of learners to:
    1. Test key sustainability concepts and ideas and
    2. Identify specific sustainability knowledge gaps. This could be achieved through surveys or focus groups.
  • Consider learners' understanding of SDGs, Inclusive Growth etc and use the outcomes to clearly define the learning objectives for your programme or course, linking with key competencies in sustainability education (as noted in resources).
  • Develop the curriculum or materials within delivery workshops to incorporate diverse aspects of sustainability, including environmental, social, and economic dimensions. Consider exploring with colleagues to ensure an interdisciplinary approach to allow for the multi-faceted nature of sustainability.
  • Foster a learning environment that encourages active engagement and interaction with the topic of sustainability; consider the use of collaborative projects, debates, and peer review to enhance deep learning around sustainability. For example, you could facilitate 2-3 sustainability workshops/competitions throughout the year to advance knowledge, as well as embed ideas into the curriculum.
  • Utilise formative assessments to assess student understanding, provide feedback, and adjust teaching. This might include quizzes, reflection journals, or short presentations.
  • Incorporate summative assessment to evaluate the learner’s mastery of the topic. This could be in the form of a final project, exam, or portfolio that demonstrates their understanding and application of sustainability concepts.
  • Gather student feedback, to test development of knowledge over the year and evaluate embeddedness of sustainability across modules, this could be done through surveys, interviews, or focus groups.
  • Analyse learner data to:
    1. Test key sustainability concepts and ideas and
    2. Identify specific sustainability knowledge gaps and assess these against the start of the year/programme.
  • Identify improvements in understanding, skill development, and the ability to apply knowledge in real-world scenarios.
  • Based on the feedback and analysis, revise the resource/programme or curriculum to enhance its effectiveness for future cohorts.
Extending learning
  • Vary evaluation for each student group to tailor learning and outcomes (i.e., Undergraduate, Postgraduate) 
  • Incentivise completion
  • Student peer evaluators of modules for SDGs 
  • Leverage technology to enhance learning. Digital platforms could be used for simulations, virtual field trips, and accessing a wide range of multimedia resources.

Authors: Adam Frost, Geena Whiteman

Step-by-step instructions/guidance
  • The purpose of this resource is for universities to identify in their curriculum where students would learn about and undertake assessments around sustainability and the UN SDGs.
  • At programme level, there should be a mapping exercise done identifying which SDGs are covered and to what extent:  
    • Level 1) Discussed in class materials
    • Level 2) Evaluated through in-class activities
    • Level 3) Knowledge and evaluation of them assessed.
  • This mapping should be then used to internally identify if any SDGs are covered multiple times (and if this in excessive and at extent of others) and if any are not addressed and should be.
  • The mapping can also be used to promote modules/units (especially elective ones) to students with the use of some form of digital badge to identify that students are learning about, evaluating and being assessed on SDGs throughout the course:
    • SDG Aware - (3 Modules at L1, 2 Modules at L2 or 1 Module at L3) 
    • SDG Champion - (6 Modules at L1, 4 Modules at L2 or 2 Modules at L3) 
    • SDG Expert - (9 Modules at L1, 7 Modules at L2 or 4 Module at L3).
  • Where it needs to be mainstreamed? 
    • Programme aims / learning outcomes – demonstration of a clear link to university and school objectives.
    • Module aims / learning outcomes - demonstration of mapping of the SDGs across the module, explicit learning outcomes targeting the SDGs.
    • Curriculum – demonstration of SDG discussion in classroom materials, explicit learning outcome focused on the SDGs.
    • Assessments – demonstration of relevance to the UN SDGs in class assessment, assessment criteria inclusion of discussion of SDGs.
    • Impacts – provision of guidance for students and teaching staff on how to make impact beyond the module/programme (such as in employability training).
  • How the different modules link together around SDGs and create one module per year that explicitly draws on other units to show links (such as social enterprise management – business management, entrepreneurship, finance and SDGs). 
  • Mapping the SDG journey of a student through their course:
    • Clearly mapping out the units/modules that students can pick that highlight SDGs they are covering and identify which they are missing
    •  Providing guidance on which modules to pick depending on which SDGs they are interested in
    •  Contrast this to what we want students to be: responsible, sustainable minded, entrepreneurial, critical thinkers? 
Extending learning
  • There is a need for a strong link between mapping tool and programme design:      
    • Use SDG Mapping Tool from Cork University as a reference point
  • Offering of digital badges (such as SDG Aware, SDG Champion and SDG Expert) for students when they complete a certain number of modules:
    • Create an award that goes on degree certificates/final certificates or provide an additional award ceremony/prize for students who reach the higher levels (such as SDG Expert)
  • Upon completion of SDG Champion/SDG Expert, students can join the ‘Sustainable Student Evaluation’ programme – where they are paid to evaluate sustainability embeddedness in curriculum/on campus:
    • This ties into employability and allows students to create impact – mainstreaming sustainability impact on the employability of students.

Authors: Lisa Knight, Sandra Hopkins, Tony Wall

Step-by-step instructions/guidance
  1. Identify all the staff involved in delivering a programme. This may include full time staff, part time staff, sessional or visiting staff – each member has a role to play for sharing SDG knowledge and expertise.
  2. Identify the wider stakeholders involved in delivering the programme, including internal, external, and alumni. These can be seen as the wider community which can contribute to the awareness raising activity.
  3. Assess the level of SDG awareness and understanding each of the stakeholders need. Here, stakeholder mapping tools can be very helpful. By this, we mean what level of awareness and understanding is required to operate responsibly now in that role. For example, those working in renewable energy are likely to need an in depth understanding of SDG Affordable Energy.
  4. Establish a baseline understanding of what people know already to identify gaps. This could be through a participatory event which collects any gaps, a survey, and an SDG mapping tool (see Cork University’s tool).
  5. The above information will develop a list of priorities for different groups, so the next step is to design and deliver awareness raising activity, such as training, video, workshops, infographics etc. This needs to reflect the interests, needs, and circumstances of the recipient group. You may also want to use resources that have already been developed such as posters of panels, link to professional standards, etc. 
  6. Deliver the development activity and then repeat the assessment of awareness to judge the effectiveness of the activity undertaken. This might benefit from bringing in someone from a different discipline to understand the comparison from a less involved perspective. You might want to judge the impact of this awareness raising through information such as:
    • Staff presentations at conferences linked to SDGs/your development activity
      Have strategic and operational policies and procedures changed to reflect items in your development activity
    • Employer feedback/comments 
    • Integration of SDGs in activities, modules, or programme specifications
    • Developments in the team’s research-informed teaching
    • Questions by students in modules/programme team meetings
    • Feedback from student module comments, e.g., how they understand SDGs
    • Student reference to SDGs in assessments
    • SDG focus or comments in peer-observation of teaching, peer-review of module/programme specifications, and buddying up. 
Extending Learning
  • Staff learning can be extended through wider university SDG training and awareness raising activity. This might include submission to, and communications around, The Times Higher Impact Rankings. 

Authors: Martin Kerridge, Lisa Rowe

Step-by-step instructions/guidance

  • Selection of a specific area of the setting which would be appropriate for a Climate Action Audit (e.g., Department/Faculty/Building/Campus). 
  • Clear definition of the vision and mission of your student-led climate action plan including a clear and compelling introduction to explain the purpose and process of the Climate Action Audit, including reference to SDG13.  
  • Breaking down of tasks into smaller components appropriate for student led research to take place.  
  • Establishment of specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals into actionable steps and re-check alignment of objectives with SDG 13 targets.
Audit activities to comprise:
  • Review of current practice -
    • Documentation of existing activities related to climate action within the chosen site. 
    • Review of energy consumption, waste management, transportation, and curriculum integration. 
    • Audit of any stakeholders, programmes and initiatives involved with climate action within the institution.  
    • Reference to any ongoing successful initiatives or practices.
  • New data collection -
    • Collection of quantitative data on energy consumption, waste generation, and other relevant metrics to assess the carbon footprint of the institution and identify major sources of greenhouse gas emissions. 
    • Use of surveys or interviews to gather qualitative insights from students, staff, and other stakeholders. 
  • Identify opportunities and challenges -
    • Identification of obstacles preventing effective climate action. 
    • Consideration of financial constraints, lack of awareness, or resistance to change. 
    • Clear identification as to where improvements can be made. 
  • Ongoing reporting and communication -
    • Establishment of a system for tracking progress and evaluating the effectiveness of plans.  
    • Establishment of a student voice analysis of the audit using a self-critical tool.  
    • Co-ordination of student voice engaging with informal actions and linking to more formal platforms to inform strategy.  
    • Presentation of the strategy at Board level for further feedback.
    • Consideration of periodic reviews and adjustments as appropriate.
    • Creation of a reporting structure to communicate progress with other students and staff.
    • Utilisation of various communication channels beyond departments and faculties, including newsletters, posters, social media, and public events.
  •  Action to implement findings -
    • Identify the resources required for successful implementation. 
    • Consider financial, human, and time resources. 
    • Develop a timeline for the execution of each action step. 
    • Prioritise tasks based on urgency and impact. 
  • Review and celebrate outputs -
    • Reflect upon the progress made. 
    • Share success stories across other institutions for inspiration and future collaboration. 
    • Engage completing students as ambassadors to support an updated audit for the next student intake.
Extending learning
  • The audit tool could be developed as a method of support for a larger capstone project development and evaluation; a separate activity for a group or society; provide the basis for a student enterprise competition or underpin a citizen student initiative.

Author: Fredrick Agboma

Step-by-step instructions/guidance
  • The guide is designed to recognise the unique goals of each programme and the strengths of different institutions
  • Needs Assessment and Goal Setting
    • Identify Needs: Conduct a thorough assessment to understand the status of SDG-related content in the curriculum.
    • Set Clear Goals: Define what you aim to achieve by integrating SDGs, including which SDGs to focus on? These goals should align with the overall objectives of your programme
  • Stakeholder Engagement
    • Involve the Faulty/School: Engage academics across disciplines to gather insights and support
    • Industry Collaboration: Consult with industry partners to understand their needs and expectations regarding SDG knowledge and skills
    • Student Input: Gather input from past, current and prospective students about their interests and expectations regarding SDGs
  • Curriculum Mapping
    • Review Existing Curriculum: Analyse the current curriculum to identify where and how SDGs can be integrated
    • Gap Analysis: Identify gaps in the existing curriculum where SDG-related content is missing or inadequate
  • Curriculum Development
    • Develop New Content: Create new modules focused on SDGs and sustainable business practices
    • Integrate into Existing Courses: Embed SDG-related content into existing courses, ensuring that sustainability concepts are woven throughout the programme
  • Teaching and Learning Approaches
    • Interactive Learning: Use case studies, simulations, and project-based learning to engage students actively with real-world challenges related to SDGs
    • Cross-disciplinary Approach: Encourage cross-disciplinary teaching and learning, combining insights from business, (behavioural) economics, environmental science, and social sciences
  • Practical and Experiential Learning
    • Internships and Projects: Provide opportunities for students to work on real-world projects or internships with organisations focused on sustainability
    • Field Visits: Organise visits to Organisations and NGOs that are models of sustainable business practices
  • Assessment and Evaluation
    • SDG-focused Assessments: Design assessments that encourage students to apply SDG knowledge in practical and innovative ways.
  • Faculty Development and Support
    • Training for Programme Team: Provide training and resources to team members to help them effectively deliver and assess SDG-related content
    • Research Support: Encourage and support programme team research in areas related to SDGs and sustainable business practices
  • Resource Allocation
    • Allocate Resources: Ensure that adequate resources (funding, materials, technology) are allocated for the effective integration of SDGs into the programme&
  • Marketing and Recruitment
    • Promote the Programme: Highlight the SDG-focused aspects of the programme in marketing and recruitment efforts to attract appropriately interested students
  • Alumni and Community Engagement
    • Alumni Involvement: Engage alumni in mentoring, guest lectures, and as part of the broader network for current students
    • Community Impact: Encourage projects and initiatives that have a tangible impact on local communities in line with SDGs
  • Continuous Improvement:
    • Regularly review and update the curriculum based on feedback from students, faculty, and industry partners.
Extending learning
  • Lifelong Learning and Continuing Education
    • Alumni Programmes: Develop continuing education programmes for alumni focusing on the latest developments in SDGs and sustainable business practices
    • Online Learning Platforms: Employ online courses and webinars to provide ongoing learning opportunities
  • Research and Innovation
    • Encourage SDG-focused Research: Support faculty and student research projects that contribute to advancing SDGs
    • Innovation Challenges: Host competitions or challenges that encourage innovative solutions to SDG-related problems
  • Global Network and Collaboration
    • International Collaborations: Establish connections with global institutions and organisations focused on SDGs for exchange programmes, joint research, and shared learning
    • Global Forums and Conferences: Participate in or host (student lead) international forums on sustainable development, facilitating a global exchange of ideas and practices
  • Policy Advocacy and Public Engagement
    • Policy Workshops: Conduct workshops that focus on how business policies can be aligned with SDGs
    • Public Awareness Campaigns: Engage in or support campaigns that raise public awareness about SDGs and their importance in business
  • Practical Application and Entrepreneurship
    • Incubator Programmes: Establish or partner with business incubators that focus on sustainable start-ups and SDG-aligned business models
    • Mentorship Programmes: Connect students with mentors in industries that are leading in SDG implementation.
  • Alumni Tracking and Impact Assessment
    • Alumni Success Stories: Highlight how alumni are implementing SDGs in their careers
    • Impact Metrics: Develop metrics to assess the long-term impact of the programme on SDG implementation in the business sector.
  • Ortiz-de-Urbina-Criado, M., Mora-Valentín, E. M., & Nájera-Sánchez, J. J. (2023). Sustainability and entrepreneurship: Emerging opportunities for business and management education. Journal of Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies, 15(5), 1071-1088.
  • Weybrecht, G. (2021). How management education is engaging students in the sustainable development goals. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 22(6), 1302-1315.

Authors: Ann Hindley, Tony Wall

Step-by-step instructions/guidance
  1. The first step needs to be identifying why social value is relevant to the programme, as this will help you identify the level of detail you need to embed within and across the programme. For example, maybe it is a way of fusing social value thinking into the social-entrepreneurial mindsets of the learners, or maybe it is a fundamental competence that is useful to the employability of the learners. This rationale also helps clarify how to introduce the ideas in the programme description, both in induction and across classes.
  2. Create a map of the programme learning journey, representing different learning content across the whole programme. This includes knowledge and skills, and a platform as to assess where social value might appear in different guises, in modules. This can then form the basis of the headings for rows in a mapping document. See the example below.
  3. Use Social Value International’s Principles of Social Value to list the key ideas and practices as the key headings for the columns. See the example below.
  4. Now use the table which combines the modules and principles as the basis of a mapping exercise to see where the principles and practices of social value currently exist. This might be done by the programme leader, or it might be done by the programme team who may have a more detailed knowledge of what is covered in a module. To aid this exploration, you might want to examine:
    • Module and programme outcomes
    • Module and programme description
    • Programme induction.
  5. The mapping will reveal areas of strength and areas which are missing, so the next step is to balance out across the programme and finding space within modules to be able to integrate new principles of specifical technical practices (e.g., such as “Willingness to Pay” or “Net Present Value” calculations).

Extending learning
  • Extensions can be made to deepen the learning (e.g., by giving more detailed examples during the experience) or broaden the learning (e.g., by using different examples from different sectors)
  • The changes may need programme and/or module level revisions to be able to fully integrate social value
  • The learning can be connected to SDGs 4, 5 and 10, which can strengthen understanding of social value and the SDGs. 

Principles of Social Value  
International Network for Social Value

Authors: Martin Kerridge, Ruth Slater, Tony Wall

Step-by-step instructions/guidance
  1. Identify the importance of the themes of sustainability within the programme learning outcomes, so that it makes intuitive and logical sense within the focus of the programme. This might mean describing sustainable and transformative leadership in terms relevant to the industries that your programme attracts.
  2. Establish or reconfirm the remit of a ‘programme leadership group’ to have oversight of curriculum development and to ensure that community and place advocacy is translated into the module outcomes and planned assessment strategies. Here, the group is specifically tasked with understanding the sustainable and transformative leadership journey of learners, their impacts as they develop, and how this is evidenced across the programme.
  3. Develop the student journey to support MBA learners who can analyse, evaluate and explore SDGs within and through their leadership – ensuring the outcomes are made explicit within the learning and assessment strategies.
  4. Across the programme, build research modules that introduce, develop and enhance the evaluation of impact, ensuring that such can be used to provide critically constructive responses to the delivery of relevant SDGs. Also see the tool on embedding social value.
  5. Locate a capstone project in the measurement of impact in relation to SDG-related outcomes. Consider student involvement and input to design the architecture of the project, peer and expert feedback, and the development of skills around impact reporting.
Extending learning
  • Build in the importance of leadership authenticity in and across the programme, using the notion of applied learning in context
  • Developing the ‘reporting of impact’ of consultancy projects, connecting this to feedback in an annual conference
    • This sort of extension helps to spread the learning and impacts of the learners in wider practice or community settings.

Module level

The resources in this section are for the module level and include compiled resources that support embedding sustainability into individual units of study. These resources will benefit module leaders seeking to incorporate sustainability into their curriculum.

A blog as an assessment tool 

Authors: Lilian Schofield, Martin Kerridge, Lisa Rowe and Geena Whiteman

  • The use of blogs as an assessment tool is growing in popularity, as it encourages student engagement, diversifies student assessment methods, and develops students' transferable skills.
  • Making regular blog posts demonstrates students' engagement with the course and the course materials, allows them to practice reflexive writing and engage their critical thinking and writing skills.
  • As a ‘community of practice’, blogging encourages students to read posts, comment on the work of others and reflect on their learning as it develops throughout a course.

The process of this would be as follows:

  • Have students set up a blog account (Medium or LinkedIn) or set up an internal blog server on the university LMS platform.
  • A Medium/LinkedIn account has the benefit of being a public forum and having public engagement, which means students are more likely to get external feedback/commentary and a portfolio of writing to showcase an employer/build a network
  • An internal blog server on the university LMS platform is beneficial for protecting students from external commentary (if necessary).
  • Complete a weekly reflective blog post on the materials taught that week in class, which includes engaging with relevant literature or current discussions.
  • Give students samples of reflective modules and conceptual frameworks and give students themes to reflect on to help give them structure.
  • Put students in groups to provide commentary and constructive critical feedback to peers to demonstrate engagement with the blog platform/other people's work (peer review):
    • Reflect on the process of the reflective blog post (as part of the assessment)
    • What have they learned from their blogs and blogs of their peers?
    • How does it go forward (reflect on reflecting)
    • How can you create impact through blogging (reflect on assessment value).
  • Key outputs = building students' network and profiles (if platform is public), developing students' transferable skills (for employability) and a tangible output to show employers (a portfolio of writing).
Extending learning
  • Need to be conscious that this is a public forum so be aware of ethical practices.

Assessment criteria:

  • Ability to synthesise key discussions
  • Ability to critically argue, ability to draw upon evidence to create conclusions
  • Ability to conduct valuable peer-to-peer review
  • Ability to engage in good academic practice.

Ways to extend learning:

  • Creating a poster for the student blog and hosting a ‘poster display’, giving students the opportunity to discuss blogs face-to-face with each other, and with staff members.

Integrating circular economy into a module

Authors: Ann Hindley and Tony Wall

  1. Plan the module content against learning objectives and the programme specification. Here, it is useful to introduce systems thinking theory and the ideas of interconnections and interdependencies as the first session. This will provide the foundation for understanding the circular economy. Games are a very practical, experiential approach to emphasise the nature of these concepts (see The Impactful 5 / i5 resource kit). For example, the act of an entire group holding string or rope and asking one learner to tug on it, can demonstrate how far and wide impacts (tensions) can be felt.
  2. After the first session, plan to refer to the SDGs on a weekly basis (or each time the group meets) to demonstrate importance to sustainability and circular economy. Use current examples from the news to provide weekly practice of systems thinking and spotting interconnections and interdependencies, as well as using the language of the SDGs. Explore in each session, the impacts of not adopting a circular approach, as well as alternative approaches to a current circular economy challenge. This may involve students researching – for example on their devices – these alternatives, either individually or in groups. Additionally, you may ask students to bring issues they have noticed in their own communities or workplaces.
  3. Depending on the interest levels of the group (and the wider programme context, e.g., tourism, fashion, marketing, operations, etc), you might want to select an area of wide interest to students rather than leaving it open to unpredictability of current affairs. For undergraduate students, this might include fashion, which has significant circular economy supply chain challenges. In the context of education, this might be related to a public service that most people will have experienced, for example, healthcare, or the context of travel and tourism.
Extending learning
  • Learning can be extended by linking concepts within the wider module together, or even across the programme.
  • Learning can also be extended by connecting this activity to formative or summative assessment. This could be, for example, the creation of short videos (using free software such as Canva).

Critical perspectives of sustainability

Author: Geena Whiteman

  • This module will offer a comprehensive exploration of sustainability from critical perspectives, delving into the interplay between ecological, social, and economic dimensions.
  • Students will engage with diverse theories, methodologies, and case studies to critically analyse the current discourse on sustainability, questioning mainstream narratives and examining alternative viewpoints.
  • The module aims to foster a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities inherent in achieving sustainable development, encouraging students to think critically about the complexities involved in balancing environmental conservation, social equity, and economic prosperity.
  • Module Outline:
    • Week 1-2 – Introduction to Sustainability - Defining sustainability and its evolution, the historical context and emergence of sustainability as a concept and overview of key sustainability challenges and goals (MDGs and SDGs)
    • Week 3-4 – Theories of Sustainability - Critical perspectives, systems thinking and sustainability
    • Week 5-6 – Political Economy of Sustainability - Examining power structures, critical analysis of economic systems and their ecological consequences and the political ecology and the role of governance in sustainability
    • Week 7-8 – Social Dimensions of Sustainability - Social justice and equity in sustainability, Indigenous perspectives on environmental stewardship and community-based approaches to sustainable development
    • Week 9-10 - Technological Solutions and Critiques - Evaluation of technological innovations for sustainability, critiques of technological optimism and greenwashing and social and ethical implications of sustainable technologies
    • Week 11-12 - Globalization and Sustainability - Impacts of globalization on local and global sustainability, transboundary environmental issues and trade-offs and conflicts between economic development and environmental conservation
    • Assessment (Capstone Project) - Students will work on a capstone project applying critical perspectives to a real-world sustainability issue, including presentations and discussions on capstone projects, providing feedback and reflections on the module.
  • This module aims to equip students with the analytical tools and critical thinking skills necessary to navigate the complex landscape of sustainability, encouraging them to question assumptions, challenge dominant narratives, and contribute to innovative and inclusive solutions.
Extending learning
  • Field Visits and Case Studies (Extended Learning Activity):
    • Organize field visits to local sustainable initiatives, conservation areas, or community projects that align with the course themes
    • Students can engage directly with practitioners, observe the challenges and successes of on-the-ground sustainability efforts, and interview key stakeholders
    • Following the field visits, students can write reflective reports, highlighting how the practical experiences relate to the theoretical concepts discussed in the module.
  • Debates and Simulations (Extended Learning Activity):
    • Facilitate debates and simulations that require students to take on different roles and perspectives related to sustainability issues
    • For example, students could simulate a United Nations climate change negotiation or participate in a debate on the ethics of a specific sustainable technology
    • This activity encourages students to critically analyse and articulate diverse viewpoints, enhancing their argumentative and negotiation skills
    • It also provides an opportunity for students to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world scenarios, developing a more nuanced understanding of the complexities involved in decision-making related to sustainability.
  • Rupert J. Baumgartner (2011), Critical perspectives of sustainable development research and practice, Journal of Cleaner Production, 19 (8), 783-786.

Posters in module

Authors: Lisa Rowe and Geena Whiteman

  • The purpose of this activity is to enable the students to weave their learning from each module with one (or more of the SDGs) and provide a creative platform for them to articulate this to their peers.
  • Students will choose the relevant SDGs for the module and create a poster presentation discussing the linkages between the SDG and the module.
  • The process will go as follows:
  1. Identification of SDGs Aspect – explore the SDGs and identify one aspect that resonates with the core theme of the module. Consider sub-categories that align with the module's learning objectives
  2.  Poster Development - provide poster templates and offer ideas to guide students in creating their own posters that effectively communicate the nuances and importance of the chosen SDGs aspect. Encourage creativity and innovation in the design and content of the posters
  3. Online Poster Display - create a host page to upload posters e.g., Padlet has a poster option
  4. Assessment - adjust marking criteria to allow percentage adjustment (25%) and incorporate presentations and/or blog as part of the assessment (share across modules if possible). Mark and feedback, using peer review where possible (even if only at formative.
Extending learning
  • Ensure high quality filter for external use
  • Create permanent display of rolling posters (e.g., e-boards, screensavers, hard copies on pinboards for regular rotation)
  • Share display QR code with new/other module students
  • Use for marketing materials
  • Hold competitions with awards for best posters (eternal judges)
  • Share displays with other universities and alumni
  • Use during open days and recruitment fairs
  • Create an external event at which to share poster presentations – offer keynote speakers as a hook
  • Scaffold learning by building upon poster in subsequent module
  • Develop publication pipelines (requires further development of conceptual frameworks etc)
  • Share displays with public to share best practice and gain opinions/feedback.
  • Poster creation resources
  • SDGs (and subcategories of).

Green Project Management

Authors: Sandra Hopkins and Geena Whiteman

  • This module is designed to provide participants with a comprehensive understanding of sustainable project management principles and practices, with a focus on the Global Project Management (GPM) P5 Standard.
  • By mapping its guidelines to the UN SDGs, the P5 Standard ensures that projects contribute to global efforts to tackle climate change, ethical behaviour, social responsibility, and more - empowering project managers to create shared value that addresses the pressing challenges of our time.
  • Students will gain insights into integrating sustainability into project management processes, ensuring that projects contribute positively to environmental, social, and economic dimensions.
  • The module outline is as follows:
    • Week 1-2: Introduction to Project Management – this introduces key project management concepts and frameworks, and the importance of these frameworks for successful project execution
    • Week 3: Overview of the GPM P5 Standard – this introduces the GPM P5 standard, the importance of embedding sustainability into project management and provides a key understanding of the five key dimensions: People, Planet, Prosperity, Processes, and Products
    • Week 4: People Impacts: this provides an overview of the key issues regarding ‘people’ impacts – labour practices and decent work, society and customers, human rights, and ethical behaviour
    • Week 5: Planet Impacts: this provides an overview of the key issues regarding ‘planet’ impacts - transport, energy, land, air and water and consumption
    • Week 6: Prosperity Impacts: this provides an overview of the ‘prosperity’ elements of the GPM P5 – project feasibility, business agility and market and economic simulation
    • Week 7-8: Integration of Sustainability in Project Planning: this provides guidance in conducting sustainability assessments, developing sustainable project objectives and goals and stakeholder engagement for sustainable outcomes
    • Week 9-10: Sustainable Project Execution and Monitoring: this provides guidance in implementing sustainable practices in project execution, monitoring and reporting sustainability performance and addressing challenges and adapting to changes.
    • Week 11-12: Tools and Techniques for Sustainable Project Management
    • Assessment: Individual projects applying GPM P5 Standard to an organizational case study (from the students’ organization), and reflexive essay discussing process of applying GPM P5. 
Extending learning
  • Group capstone project on designing a project management strategy for specific industries (if students are from same industry).

Using COIL (Collaboration Online International Learning) for the SDGs

Authors: Tony Wall, Ann Hindley, Alison Lui and Lisa Rowe

  • COIL is a co-designed and delivered approach involving tutors/students from two countries (though it can be implemented with more than two countries, this can become increasingly complex). It is most productive when the tutors from both countries design the COIL experience together, to cater for the specific needs of student groups, time zone differences, and higher education delivery patterns.
  • Identify the partners to develop a COIL experience with and the learner groups that you are wanting the benefit from the experience.
  • Consider the different models of COIL. Embedded COIL is where it is built into the design of a module, Extra Curricular is where it sits outside of a module but forms part of a broader programme or departmental/university experience. Both of these experiences are typically hosted online. Hybrid, however, is where there may be some physical travel to enable synchronous learning experiences in another country. Given the focus on the SDGs, the COIL experience can open up international learning to those who may not be able to afford international travel and enable an international experience with a significantly reduced carbon footprint.
  • Some ideas for getting started with COIL, i.e., potential topics:
    • Choose an SDG to be central to the learning experience (but does not have to be limited to one). For this example, SDG1 No Poverty will be used
    • What are the national challenges associated with that SDG? Students can prep research this before an online experience commences, i.e., know their own national position (s* to cater for international students). So, with SDG1, what are the poverty rates nationally and potentially regionally? News articles related to the topic. Affected stakeholders?
    • Comparison of challenges, but also what projects/initiatives are in progress to address the SDG? What shared practice can be learned? E.g., How is poverty currently being addressed? Any future plans?
    • What actions should be taken moving forward (a critical perspective)? i.e. How to reduce poverty?
    • Optional: Engage in actions and report back. (These can be small steps, conversational, theoretical and so on). E.g., Volunteering, social media engagement, talking to activists for change, talking to government, surveying ideas, and so on.
  • Develop the detailed plan together, for example, over 5 weeks with induction and final presentation. This means there will be 4 central sessions, which might focus on awareness of local SDG challenges.
  • Assessments could promote teamwork and analysis of SDGs and solutions.
Extending learning
  • Learning can be extended by considering alternative models of COIL, for example, embedding into a module experience to all students engage in the experience rather than just a select few
  • Learning can also be extended through presentations for local institutions, communities and/or businesses.

Integrating futuring with ambiguity

Authors: Tony Wall, Ann Hindley and Fran Shollo

  1. Within the context of your teaching and learning content, identify a strategic decision that relates to the content. For example, it might be related to the decision to outsource or insource a call centre with the SDGs in mind (in the context of operations and supply chain management). Or it might be how to respond to a crisis situation caused by climate change, with a longer-term view of the SDGs in mind.
  2. Map out learning opportunities which are framed and handled with ambiguity, and which build upon each other within the boundaries of a class session, across a module, and/or across a programme. If it is a class, the activity might simply sit within the class, but the depth of learning will be limited to that class. It might also be a module-long, experiential process which unfolds over the full duration of the class, building much more opportunities for depth of dealing with ambiguity. Or it might be an experience which lasts the whole duration of a programme for deeper and broader skills development.
  3. Introduce (frame) the learning opportunities with ambiguity, which means some element of emergence or unfolding, without the ‘answer’ (or outcome) being known upfront (or maybe the ‘answer’ is never known). This is intentional, to develop confidence and tolerance in dealing with the complexities of difficult knowledge often associated with the SDGs or an aspect of them such as climate change.
  4. Ambiguities in the introduction could be related to the task-in-hand (reflecting an instruction from a manager under pressure, or new work setting), and/or in the information available (reflecting many work settings or crises settings). For example, you might ask the group – as a group of leaders, managers, marketeers, accountants, etc – to respond to a request in some way. This needs to link back to a decision relevant to the topic area, with a direct or indirect consequence on a single SDG or multiple to reflect the real complexities of the decision making. So, if it was a crisis situation, they may be asked "what are our options to respond to the flood in Liverpool?” with no further information provided.
  5. The unfolding setting each week can be planned in advance, so you can sequence and scaffold the learning. Or you can respond to relevant news items. The former allows you to clearly plan in advance, and the second is more unpredictable (in line with the principle of uncertainty).
  6. It is important to confidently introduce these ideas in class, module and/or programme descriptions so that learners understand this is intentional activity which has been carefully planned and has employability benefits (in the context of many modern business school classrooms where there are typically clear-cut answers, ambiguous activities can appear as though the tutor has not thought about or planned the detail). Confidence and conviction in the competence to deal with ambiguity is critical.
  7. The learners will need to be put into groups to have meaningful dialogue about how to respond, and these are spaces to reflect on what is needed and explore options. The response from students may need some element of 'role play’, but to mention it can create even more anxiety or distraction. It is often more useful to express the task in a more playful manner without mentioning ‘role play’.
Extending learning
  • Some learners may find ambiguous activities challenging so make sure explicit framing is given. This framing benefits all learners, so that they are at least partially aware of how they can interpret what is about to happen.
  • The tutor may want to walk around (literally or virtually) to prompt the reflections in the groups.
  • The full list of SDGS can be used to help learners explore different aspects of impact:
    • Additionally, the ‘flower’ tool (Framework for Long-Term, Whole-System, Equity-Based Reflection) to help explore different impacts.

Activity level

The resources in this section are for the activity level and include compiled resources that support short-term and one-off sustainability, business and management activities. These resources will benefit staff with significant teaching responsibilities, such as sessional tutors, lecturers and trainers.

Other Collaborative Enhancement Projects

QAA supports a number of projects every year, covering a range of topics and interest areas. Each is led by a QAA Member, working in collaboration with other members institutions. You can find more information on all projects, and access resources and outputs, on our website.