Session highlights

The question is, are universities mirrors or lighthouses? If they are mirrors, they help students learn and understand the social, economic and environmental issues that face us; if they are lighthouses, they will also be creating spaces and pathways for students to experiment, and to learn their way through these rather tricky scenarios. Ultimately, we do not know our way out of these major issues, we are learning our way out of this threatened world, and learning requires experimentation experience.” Professor Daniella Tilbury, Commissioner for Sustainable Development and Future Generations, HM Government of Gibraltar  

  • Dr Diana Pritchard, International HE consultant and Principal Curriculum Developer, University of Bedfordshire, UK, presented the findings of research into HE practices that are being adopted by institutions across the world that aim to prepare graduates for employment, entrepreneurship, and community work, against the backdrop of complexity, precarity and uncertainty. She commented: "This is not just about developing what is going on in the head ... but also the ability to do, to make with the hands, and also to do with the heart with our values and ethos."
  • Dr Diana Pritchard highlighted the importance of building fun into learning experiences through methods such as role play or the use of virtual reality. “When you consider the extent of the existential threats that students are learning about … this seems to show how important it is for these students to overcome that feeling of being utterly disempowered,” she said. 

Session summary

In the context of our rapidly changing climate and environments, the pandemic has highlighted the ever greater imperative for higher education institutions and sectors across the globe to fulfil their potential to contribute to social and economic transformations that redress social inequalities and do not jeopardise the integrity of our health, prosperity and the planet upon which society depends. Appropriate responses include the adoption of educational approaches that respond to the environmental, social and political challenges, instead of dominant pedagogies and higher education practices which have perpetuated inequalities and unsustainability. While the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals establish the significance of quality education, this must include provision which averts "systemic global dysfunction" (Lotz-Sisitka et al 2015).

This interactive workshop will draw on new research on high impact teaching practices from across the globe and will build on practitioner experiences. It will enable participants to identify practices that are appropriate for their own institutional contexts and factors which facilitate and constrain implementation.

Key questions

  • What are the core characteristics of effective pedagogy and how has this changed in the last ten years?  How will it change in the next ten?
  • What distinctions do we need to account for in different contexts and for different groups?
  • Do we need to change not just how we teach but who we teach and how we enable this?


  • Chair: Dr Diana Pritchard, International HE consultant and Principal Curriculum Developer, University of Bedfordshire, United Kingdom
  • Joseph Nkandu, Executive Director, NUCAFE, Uganda
  • Dr Violeta Orlović, Associate professor in Department of Pedagogy and Andragogy, University of Belgrade, Serbia
  • Prof. Daniella Tilbury, Commissioner for Sustainable Development and Future Generations, HM Government of Gibraltar, Gibraltar