Sustainable Development Goals Teach In 22 February-5th March 2021

The Sustainable Development Goals Teach In - or ‘SDG Teach In’ - is a national campaign with an aim to put the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the heart of education. The campaign calls upon educators to pledge to include the SDGs within their teaching across these weeks.

In 2021, the SDG Teach In will take place 22 February-5 March, overlapping with our 'Sustainability Week' from the 1-5 March - a campaign week we are co-delivering with colleagues from across the Exeter and Cornwall campuses and FX Plus.

We invite and encourage educators from across the University to pledge to get involved in creating a more conscious curriculum! Check out the resources below for some resources to help make the most of this campaign, as well as their FAQ for educators.


You can check on the current reach and impact of the 2021 campaign here.

The latest NUS Sustainability Skills Survey (2019-20) indicated that 83 % of Higher Education students agree that sustainable development is something which all courses should actively incorporate and promote. A number of Exeter academics are already offering some great SDG-related courses through Future Learn here.

More about the campaign and cause 

The SDG Teach In national campaign aims to put the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the heart of education. It calls upon educators to pledge to include the SDGs within their teaching across one week.​​​​​​​ The campaign is coordinated by Students Organising for Sustainability (SOS-UK), which grew out of the sustainability work of the National Union of Students (NUS). The campaign was first run in 2018, with the aim of encouraging the use of the SDGs in exploring how different disciplines and subject areas relate to sustainability and social justice.

As for the SDGs themselves, these are a set of 17 goals which provide a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. They are at the heart of 'The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development', which was adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015.

In short, the SDGs provide a blueprint for sustainable development and a sustainable future, which set out targets to end poverty, protect the planet, and achieve prosperity for all by 2030.

With the backdrop of the climate and ecological crisis, inequality, and poverty, the transition to a more sustainable way of life is more important than ever, and education is key to catalysing shifts towards more sustainable behaviours and lifestyles.


The Careers Zone is here to help you with your career planning, whatever stage you are at. There are a range of opportunities available that you can get involved with to gain experience and explore a sector further, including:

  • The Exeter Award is an employability Award designed to help you make the most of your professional experience. The new Sustainability Theme highlights the type of sessions you can be involved with if you want to explore the sustainability sector further.
  • Sustainability Skills course on ELE, which count towards the Exeter Leaders Award
  • Career Development for Sustainability page with information on how you can develop your skills and gain experiences in the sustainability sector.
  • Challenge Online : Challenges Online is a project week, during which you will work with other like-minded students in interdisciplinary groups to design innovative solutions to real-world challenges, tackling issues raised by the Sustainable Development Goals. Sign ups are now open.

The University of Exeter had amazing success participating in the ‘NUS Sustainable Development Goals Teach In’ 2019 - finishing top in both the 'number of teaching staff pledged' and 'students reached' leaderboards.

The campaign successfully raised awareness of why the Sustainable Development Goals should be at the centre of education. Across the institution, 38 educators pledged to include the Sustainable Development Goals within their teaching, learning and assessments during the week. The week ran 18th-22nd February 2019 and resulted in over 3,000 Exeter students having the SDGs integrated in to their learning experience that week.

Below are the final leaderboards and a small selection of photos from the week can be viewed here

Leaderboard (% of students reached)   Leaderboard (teaching staff pledged
1st Place University of Exeter   1st Place University of Exeter
2nd Place De Montford University   2nd Place UWE, Bristol
3rd Place Canterbury Christ Church   3rd Place Canterbury Christ Church
Thank you to all those involved and the educators listed below for making it such a huge success.
  • Stewart Barr, Director of Education and Professor of Geography
  • John Heathershaw, Director of Impact and Associate Professor of Politics
  • Sarah Hartley, Senior Lecturer in Management
  • Nils-Christian Bormann, Lecturer in Politics
  • Gregorio Bettiza, Lecturer in International Relations
  • Jamie Stevens, Associate Professor of Molecular Ecology
  • Beverley Hawkins, Director of Education, Associate Professor of Leadership & Organisational Studies 
  • Melvyn Hillsdon, Associate Professor in Sports and Health Science
  • Adrian Bailey, Senior Lecturer in Management
  • Michael Winter, Professor of Land Economy & Society
  • Dawn Lees, Curriculum and Work-related Learning Manager
  • Rachel Sloan, Work-related Learning Coordinator
  • James Dyke, Senior Lecturer in Global Systems
  • Damien Mansell, Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography
  • Jonathan Cinnamon, Lecturer in Human Geography
  • Alison Hill, Senior Lecturer in Biosciences
  • David Studholme, Associate Professor in Bioinformatics
  • Mick Dumper, Professor in Middle East Politics
  • James Marks, Lecturer in Accounting
  • Chris Perry, Professor in Tropical Coastal Geoscience
  • Salah Troudi, Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Education
  • Stephen Hickman, Senior Lecturer in Organisation Studies
  • Steffen Boehm, Professor in Organisation and Sustainability
  • Joanne Connell, Senior Lecturer in Tourism Management
  • Ulrike Zitzlsperger, Associate Professor of German
  • Baris Yuce, Lecturer in Engineering Management
  • Dr Rosey Davies, Academic Skills Adviser
  • John Shanahan, Academic Skills Adviser
  • Simon Allington, Peer Support Co-ordinator
  • Dr Rachel Canter, Academic Skills Adviser
  • Kelly Louise Preece, Researcher Development Manager (PGRs)
  • Lynette Mitchell, Professor in Greek History and Politics
  • Saffron O'Neill, Associate Professor in Geography
  • Neville Morley, Professor in Classics and Ancient History
  • Stephane Baele, Senior Lecturer in International Politics
  • Dunia Urrego, Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography

Geography - Dr Damien Mansell

GIS for Professionals students applied their skills to embrace the Sustainable Development Goals ‘Teach-in’ by developing sustainable Operations Dashboards for Exeter Streatham Campus. This new module led by Dr Damien Mansell focuses on students applying spatial analysis and mapping skills to the work place, including work-relevant assessment . The University Sustainability Officer Joel Smith came to a lecture pitching for an updated and interactive sustainable map. Students worked in groups to meet the client’s needs, producing an Operations Dashboard and a sales pitch video. Example outputs can be seen here: Operations Dashboard

Sales Pitch for Sustainable Development map and app

Sales Pitch for Sustainable Development map and app

The work was weeks long but as part of the NUS Sustainable Development Goals ‘Teach in’, Damien re-purposed the content of the students maps and set them to produce a 3D version in a computer practical session.  The sustainable development goals which were specifically being addressed included sustainable  cities and communities (i.e. Streatham Campus) but students extended this out to include affordable and clean energy by looking at energy consumption and use of solar panels of campus buildings, and some groups looked at the life on land goal by looking at biodiversity of green spaces on campus.