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SR in the Curriculum

(3 March 2017)

In support of the priority to encourage socially responsible graduates, Humanities provides funding to course leaders through the annual Social Responsibility in the Curriculum competition. The aim is for Humanities students to be encouraged to think how their enthusiasm for their subject can communicate, connect or be relevant beyond the immediate demands of their course. 

This week, we introduce you to a project by Dr Shahla Ghobadi, Lecturer in Enterprise Information Systems at Manchester Alliance Business School, who has developed a case study to boosts students’ analytical skills by analysing how new business policies can produce both expected and unexpected outcomes. 

As part of the project students researched news articles on the plastic bag charge introduced in England in 2015, and observed customers at shops that sell plastic bags for five pence. By engaging with people about their opinion on the use of plastic bags they gained a greater understanding of the behavioural decisions being made. The students then analysed the sustainability outcomes of the charging policy in the UK, and used their findings to develop business models for presentation to Manchester City Council (MCC).  

By developing a case study which impacts on students’ everyday lives, Shahla maximised their engagement while working to improve their critical thinking and employability skills. 

Shahla said: “I used business modelling to engage final-year students’ interest in business entrepreneurship and encourage them to analyse the short and long-term consequences of climate change policies in UK. Engaging students to learn through modelling arose from a research project I previously did to examine the impact of system thinking on improving people’s thinking habits. 

"The project encouraged students to engage with the public, stores, and Manchester City Council to develop a mutually developed ‘bigger picture’ of the long-term consequences of environmental policies. Students have begun to think seriously about the possibilities of being a successful business professional while serving as an ethical citizen of the world." 

The results of the project are available for academics, and MCC, to use for their research and business planning.