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SR in the Curriculum

(8 December 2017)

In support of the priority to encourage socially responsible graduates, the Faculty of 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. The competition is currently open for applications for 2018-19 and the closing date for entries is 12 February 2018.

In 2016-17 Dr Kevin Gillan, Senior Lecturer in Sociology in the School of Social Sciences (SoSS), was awarded funding to enable his students to engage in public debate on some of the big challenges facing the world today.

Global Social Challenges was a new course introduced in 2016 and students examined social scientific perspectives on issues such as inequality, climate change, migration, radicalisation and corporate power.

The course is informed by the idea of 'public sociology' where the knowledge generated by our research is translated into forms that are more accessible and relevant for a wider public audience. Kevin wanted to understand what would happen if he stopped treating his students as an audience, and instead treated them as active 'public sociologists'.

His students rose to the challenge to write in an accessible and engaging style that neither hid their passions behind technical language nor lost sight of the need for considered reflection and evidence. The resulting written work demonstrated students' genuine and urgent interests in developing detailed understanding of the conditions of the world around them.

Among other issues, students deconstructed the ‘migrant crisis’, examined climate change, and scrutinised narratives of ‘radicalisation’. Selecting the best student work, Kevin ended up with a collection of 70 blog posts from nearly 60 authors on seven grand social challenges.

You can read the blogs on the Social Challenges blog site, and Kevin also wrote an article on this initiative for the Times Higher Education (TES)

  • Please see the Social Responsibility pages  on HumNet for more information about the 2018 SR in the Curriculum competition, along with details of previously funded projects.