Developing a Connected Curriculum: Integrating the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals within UCC’s Curriculum


The Initative Team

Initiative Lead
University College Cork

Primary Contact
John Barimo and Catherine O'Mahony

Initiative Budget


Initiative Type


UCC’s Academic Strategy commits the university to developing a “Connected Curriculum” with sustainability featured as one of six thematic areas. This reflects the government’s National Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development as well as a growing international literature highlighting the need for HE curricula to reorient towards the SDGs. This reorientation involves not just teaching facts about sustainability, but developing the mindset required to develop innovative solutions to global challenges (EUA, 2018).

This T&L initiative therefore seeks to support the professional development of UCC staff by enhancing teaching and learning both within (SDGs of relevance to the discipline) and across (cross-cutting competencies and skills) disciplines. Specifically, the initiative objective is to develop training resources for teaching staff including workshops and an online toolkit.


A baseline assessment of the inclusion of sustainability topics within the UCC curriculum has already been completed as part of UCC’s STARS Certification process. This project will build on that assessment and undertake:

• Desk-based research into global best-practice
• Focus group sessions with students and staff to co-produce desired learning outcomes
• Open Sessions
• Highlighting best practice internally and promoting learning across disciplines
• Developing of an online toolkit
• SDGs and Universities
• Learning outcomes
• Curriculum design for sustainable development

It is expected that the toolkit will be an open resource for all UCC teaching staff, promoted by CITRL through staff training, as well as the sustainability office. The ultimate outcome will be better coverage, measurement and assessment of the integration of SDGs within the UCC Curriculum.