Collaborative Leadership for Sustainability
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    Cookworthy Building, Plymouth University

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The Collaborative Leadership for Sustainability course grew out of an international research project to identify and develop the competencies of leaders for sustainability. 

This course is designed to develop your skills as a leader for sustainability. The course combines theory and practice: you will be introduced to the latest thinking on the topic, have the opportunity to reflect on your identity, values and style as a leader and to practise and develop your skills for collaborative leadership. 

Key ideas include identity, resilience, connectedness and global citizenship. This autumn there will also be a parallel programmes with a community in the far north of Canada. We hope to make it possible for you to connect with the participants there.

The course consists of six workshops between October 2015 and February 2016 and uses an action learning approach. 

This means that as well as attending workshops, you will be invited to participate in a community-based project with other course participants and to keep a reflective journal on your experience of collaboration for sustainability. 

The first session on Saturday 24 October is an introductory session where you will be able to meet the course tutors, find out more about the course and decide if you want to continue.

Session dates (all sessions are held in the Cookworthy Building)

  • Session 1: Saturday 31 October from 1pm-5pm (venue: Room 236)
  • Session 2: Saturday 12 December from 1pm-5pm (venue: Room 236)
  • Session 3: Saturday 16 January from 1pm-5pm (venue: Room 236)
  • Session 4: Saturday 23 January from 1pm-5pm (venue: Room 236)
  • Session 5: Saturday 27 February from 1pm-5pm (venue: Room 236)
  • Session 6: Saturday 5 March from 1pm-5pm (venue: Room 236)
Learning objectives
By the end of the course you will:
  • Understand what is meant by sustainability, complexity and “wicked problems” and made some links between sustainability and social justice or fairness at home and abroad
  • Have learnt about some theories of leadership and thought about your own leadership style
  • Know what helps and hinders collaborative working and have further developed your skills as a collaborative leader
  • Have considered your own identity and values and understand how these things affect the way people behave
  • Understand how relationships with others and self-awareness can contribute to the success of a collaborative venture and have learnt some tools for developing these
  • Have found out about, and learnt from, collaborative communities for sustainability in other parts of the world.

Sustainability includes social, environmental and economic sustainability, so anyone involved in community initiatives, such as young people's projects, food banks, energy efficiency, community composting; in fact anything that contributes towards the wellbeing of the community is welcome to participate.

Course leaders

  • Michelle Virgo has a degree in Environmental Science and has led a variety of community and environmental projects. She was a facilitator with Plymouth worker co-operative, Zebra Collective, for nine years and Chair of Plymouth Social Enterprise Network for two years. More recently, she has worked at Plymouth University researching sustainability in business. She is currently carrying out research into the significance of values for sustainability communication and the use of technology in cross-cultural communication and learning.
  • Enrico Wensing is based at the University of the Virgin Islands and is Associate Professor at the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University. His research looks at the skills and experience of community leaders for sustainability and he leads on the US National Science Foundation funded project on which this course is based. Enrico will be contributing to the delivery of most of the programme by video link.

Research project

You will have the opportunity to contribute to research into leadership development for sustainability by filling in a questionnaire at the beginning and end of the course. This is optional and will be fully explained at the beginning of the programme. 

Course costs

The course is free to Plymouth University students and alumni.

  • Eligible body or member of the public - cost £50
  • Participant joining on behalf of a limited company - cost £60 (includes VAT)

Email futurescentre@plymouth.ac.uk to register.


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