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School of Environment, Education and Development

BSc Geography and Geology with a year abroad / Course details

Year of entry: 2018

Course unit details:
Earth and Environmental Consultancy

Unit code EART30701
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? No

Overview

The course unit is based upon a previously successful Masters level course unit. It commences with students building their role play ‘early career scientist’ identity based on their academic interests and dissertation projects. They establish a portfolio of fictitious consultancy projects based on their other final year studies, and begin working on these under the supervision of their ‘section leads’ (role played by members of academic staff) in Williamson Associates. The students’ portfolios define the range of expertise, structure and business markets of the company. The core business includes wide ranging applied geology projects and environmental impact assessment. A business scenario which threatens the company suddenly arises and, in role, the students have to quickly learn how to develop a commercially viable business plan, based on market research, which has to be presented to current and prospective investors. The students are supported by a management consultant (member of academic staff in role) who facilitates the required learning and development.

The business plan will consist of a comprehensive analysis of the earth and environmental sciences business service sector, coupled with a concise competitive action plan, and design of promotional materials (brochures, posters, trade stand exhibits etc.). In addition to these written materials, in role, the students will present and defend their proposals to current and prospective investors. In role they will also need to reapply for their jobs supported by a letter of application. Following the role play exercises, the students will write a reflective appraisal of their learning and development, evaluating their own and their peers' performance.

The additional Masters level credits (5) will be attained by completing an applied science literature review presented as both a scholarly critical literature review (with mainstream academic objectives) and in the form of a professionally written consultancy report (with applied business oriented objectives).

Pre/co-requisites

1st & 2nd year Geoscience or Environmental Science programmes

Aims

To offer experiential learning which enables earth and environmental scientists to expand and apply their scientific knowledge in a business setting, and to quickly develop and implement business oriented professionals skills, whilst building their knowledge of key business management topics and potential career paths. This is achieved through realistic role play of early career scientists working for a fictitious Manchester based multidisciplinary consultancy specialising in applied geology and environmental impact assessment: 'Williamson Associates'.

Learning outcomes

 

  • Demonstrate level 6 to 7 knowledge of applied science in discipline specific areas relevant to individual students' interests and career aspirations. These will include applied geology for geoscience programme students, and environmental impact assessment for environmental programme science students.
  • Explain the basic concepts of strategic management and competitive marketing, as suited to the needs of early career scientists.
  • Evaluate current challenges affecting key business sectors which employ earth and environmental scientists.
  • Show awareness of career structures in organisations that employ earth and environmental scientists.
  • Apply scholarship and holistic approaches in the analysis of complex problems and the development of solutions.
  • Demonstrate judgement in accessing different sorts of information, coupled with awareness of the variation in level and quality across the wider spectrum of information resources.
  • Exhibit capability in problem solving and critical thinking.
  • Use standard computer applications in the support of essential business activities.
  • Show higher level skills in professional team working, project planning and project management.
  • Use basic techniques to enhance creativity and innovative thinking.
  • Reflect professionally on individual and team learning, development and performance, and on interpersonal interactions within a team setting.
  • Improve collaborative report writing, negotiating and presentation skills.

Teaching and learning methods

This is an experiential project based learning course unit, utilising role play. Staff and facilitators, will guide students towards a focus on shared ownership of project planning, implementation and delivery. Students will also be guided in themed discussions relating to team-working and cross-disciplinary projects that will familiarise them with the inter-personal processes involved in collaborative project work, and serve as stimuli for the individual reflective portfolio assignment. Students will receive feedback from facilitators and academic staff. Online learning resources will include a Blackboard learning space populated with directed reading and assignments details.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate level 6 to 7 knowledge of applied science in discipline specific areas relevant to individual students' interests and career aspirations. These will include applied geology for geoscience programme students, and environmental impact assessment for environmental programme science students.
  • Explain the basic concepts of strategic management and competitive marketing, as suited to the needs of early career scientists.
  • Evaluate current challenges affecting key business sectors which employ earth and environmental scientists.
  • Show awareness of career structures in organisations that employ earth and environmental scientists.

Intellectual skills

  • Apply scholarship and holistic approaches in the analysis of complex problems and the development of solutions.
  • Demonstrate judgement in accessing different sorts of information, coupled with awareness of the variation in level and quality across the wider spectrum of information resources.
  • Exhibit capability in problem solving and critical thinking

Practical skills

  • Use standard computer applications in the support of essential business activities

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Show higher level skills in professional team working, project planning and project management.
  • Use basic techniques to enhance creativity and innovative thinking.
  • Reflect professionally on individual and team learning, development and performance, and on interpersonal interactions within a team setting.
  • Improve collaborative report writing, negotiating and presentation skills.
  • Demonstrate scholarly and professional independence and resilience.

Assessment methods

Although the coursework involves all students working in teams, each student will be assessed individually on the basis of two portfolios of work: one an individual portfolio of single author documents; the other a group co-authored report and final team presentation, where students will be assessed for their individual contributions to both, with limited (+/- 5%) moderation based on inter-peer appraisal of each team member’s individual project contributions and professional performance.

 

Individual portfolio (50%)

  • Professional project diary including notes of all project activities, notes of all meetings and discussions. (10%)
  • Individual project portfolio including applied geology project work for geoscience programme students, and environmental impact assessment scoping projects for environmental science students. (10%)
  • Annotated listing of companies that employ earth and environmental scientists, demonstrating a range of different types of organisation. (10%)
  • Reflective appraisal addressing individual and team learning, professional development and performance. (10%)
  • ‘In role’ CV supported letter of application for re-employment, which shows awareness of the importance of business awareness as well as applied science expertise, and knowledge of appropriate professional governing bodies. (10%)

Group portfolio (50%) [With individual student marks determined via assessment of individual written and verbal contributions to group outputs, plus limited moderation (+/- 5%0 based on inter-peer assessment of individual team member’s project contributions and professional performance]

  • Co-authored business plan for taking forward a Manchester based consultancy specialising in applied geology and environmental impact assessment. (30%)
  • Final team presentation of co-authored business plan. (20%)

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Practical classes & workshops 36
Independent study hours
Independent study 64

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Colin Hughes Unit coordinator

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