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School of Environment, Education and Development

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Engaging our communities

SEED is inspired by our communities and we aim to work together to understand and improve the uneven relationships between society, economy, and the environment to ultimately make a difference. Our communities are on campus, in our local area and worldwide.

On campus

We are committed to developing socially responsible graduates who are equipped to tackle some of the world’s greatest challenges.

That might be through:

  • the Ethical Grand Challenges
  • volunteering
  • SEED teaching and Learning, which often takes a project-based or critical enquiry approach
  • our research.

A good example is the 10,000 Actions programme, which is the biggest environmental sustainability initiative in the higher education sector. More than 10,000 members of the University staff have been given an opportunity to engage in an intensive programme of learning and positive action on sustainability. More than 25,000 actions were pledged by staff.

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In the community

Reducing poverty

SEED is using its knowledge and expertise to help create a fairer Greater Manchester.  

We’re leading an independent Inclusive Growth Analysis Unit in partnership with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation which is helping to make poverty reduction central to processes of growth and devolution in our city region.

The JPI funded project, Learning loops in the public realm, aims to build a participatory co-creation methodology and platform to demonstrate ‘learning loops’ (i.e. new ways of decision-making that bring together citizens, stakeholders and policy-makers to iteratively learn how to address such urban challenges).

With investment from SEED Social Responsibility, Professor James Evans and Dr Joe Ravetz are working in partnership with communities in Ardwick, one of the University’s anchor institutions, to consider the key issues, frame the problem, collect the data but, most importantly, assist to address the problems.

Supporting local schools

For more than 150 years, SEED’s Initial Teacher Education (ITE) team, based within the Manchester Institute of Education (MIE), has provided local schools with inspiring teachers who aim to tackle disadvantage. We have continually been ranked as one of the UK's leading providers of teacher training and our programmes are rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.

Our ITE team has maintained a strong commitment to inclusion, social mobility and tackling disadvantage through developing inspirational teachers who go on to serve our local communities, with 80% of trainee teachers taking up their first teaching position within 20 miles of the University.

Perhaps more significantly, we support local schools and develop stronger relationships by:

  • supplying teachers
  • working closely on research projects
  • providing free professional development for teachers
  • brokering relationships with the wider University (e.g. through Widening Participation)
  • supporting schools to develop their own forms of initial teacher training through School Direct and school-centred teacher education.

Every year, our highly motivated and very able graduates spend approximately 70,000 days in local schools improving the life chances and education of local children, while colleagues from across the University regularly work with local schools to improve outcomes for learners from all backgrounds.

Finally, 'Read with SEED' is a primary school initiative led by a 12-strong team of Professional Support Services (PSS) staff. Staff work in two schools with socio-economic challenges - Medlock Primary School, Ardwick, and Claremont Primary School, Moss Side - to provide one-to-one reading time with children.

In 2016-17, six members of staff attended each school once a week to read with three children for 20 minutes each. 'Read with SEED' gave each of the children a certificate and ‘well done’ bag, and donated sets of reading books to the classes as a whole. Children's reading ages accelerated 55% more than those of their peers, while the team experienced a unique development experience. The children have derived measurable educational benefit, and they and their teachers have formed a positive relationship with the University.

Hosting festivals

SEED delights in welcoming the community to see who we are and what we do, both on campus and further afield.

Led by Dr Emma Shuttleworth, our intrepid Physical Geographers challenged revellers at the Bluedot Festival to consider the uncertainty and fragility of the small blue dot on which we live, planet Earth. ‘Citizens of the Anthropocene’ were invited to learn about their impact on the planet and how they might do things differently.

Better still, Dr Abi Stone travelled there, with her kit, on Triangulum’s electric cargo bikes – which really is SEED social responsibility in action.

SEED was also a proud exhibiter at the University’s Community Festival, where we welcomed several thousand visitors who had the opportunity to take part in SEED research through Dr Gail Millin-Chalabi’s Virtual Vivarium and to identify pollen grains with Tom Bishop.

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Worldwide

SEED proudly hosts Equity and Merit Scholars. The Equity and Merit Scholarships aim to assist talented but economically disadvantaged students from some of the world’s poorest countries. The scholarships are jointly funded by the University and its donors.

The Equity and Merit Programme has awarded 206 scholarships in the last decade. The University covers the tuition fee in full and the generosity of donors pays for students’ living expenses, flights to the UK and visas.

Scholars also learn virtually through online courses.

Our scholars are keen to use their master’s study to make a difference in their home countries. Hear how Valentin Olyang’iri plans to use his learning from SEED’s MSc in Environmental Governance to help him make a difference to farmers and pastoralists in rural Tanzania.

SEED also has the largest dedicated development research and teaching institute in Europe, the Global Development Institute (GDI), which is ranked first for research impact in the UK. Our research led Cadbury to invest £45million into cocoa-growing communities.

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Contact

If you would like to find out more about any of SEED’s Social Responsibility activities or priorities, please email Jen O’Brien, Director of Social Responsibility.