Re-imagining education

To cope with a challenge on the scale of climate change and to be ready for a rapidly-changing world, we need to ensure the ways we teach and what we teach is highly relevant.

DCU recognises the distinction between education about environmental sustainability, and education for sustainability (EfS). Education about environmental sustainability relates to climate change, renewable energy and so on, EfS on the other hand, centres on the interdependencies and challenges within sustainability across social/cultural, economic, political, and environmental contexts. We are committed to addressing both.

Groundbreaking new programmes

To thrive in the ever more complex world of work, future graduates will need to be ‘human Swiss army knives’ – innovative, adaptable thinkers with a well-stocked toolkit of skills. 

In 2021, DCU introduced six new courses and four new specialisms to meet this need, each built on a radically re-imagined curriculum, designed to meet critical needs around sustainability, climate change, artificial intelligence and more. Of course, all of them draw on our deep industry partnerships. 

These courses empower students to learn in innovative ways, including challenge-based, immersive learning experiences, industry-led hackathons, significant final year projects and leadership skills development. 

Transversal skills

Transversal skills are the fundamentally human skills that differentiate us from the capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI) and other technologies. They are the skills that are invaluable in any walk of life, regardless of the nature of the work involved.

At DCU, we are focused on fostering a broad set of transversal skills that will enable our students to choose and achieve a life they have reason to value. These include highly relevant skills relating to sustainability, critical thinking, systems thinking, social capital, collaboration and more. 

Environmental sustainability micro-modules 

We envisage in future being able to offer stackable micro-modules relating to sustainability, which could include: 

  • Principles of Sustainability- Social, Cultural, Economic and Environmental
  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Global Challenges
  • Climate Change, Planetary Boundaries, Carbon Footprints and Budgets
  • Global Justice, Human rights, Equality
  • Biodiversity (including national and international biodiversity loss and the importance of eco-systems)
  • Sustainability at DCU 

Estimation of number of programmes that address sustainability themes as reported under UI Green Metrics

  2017 2018 2019
Number of courses/subjects related to sustainability offered 50 64 64
Total number of courses/subjects offered 122 147 147
Sustainability % 41% 44% 44%