Social Responsibility

Ethical grand challenges

We want to equip our graduates to address some of the profound ethical challenges of the 21st Century.

Tomorrow’s leaders and citizens will inherit a world facing some of the greatest challenges to our human race. Our Ethical Grand Challenges programme enables all our undergraduate students to address some of the most profound ethical challenges of the 21st century. Embedded as a core part of our ‘Stellify’ student pathway, leading to the Manchester Leadership Award, the programme provides every Manchester undergraduate with the opportunity to confront key challenges concerning sustainability, social justice and workplace ethics.

In September 2016 the Sustainability Challenge was offered to all 8,000 first-year undergraduates. Working in interdisciplinary groups, students considered the challenges arising from a new major construction project – a new campus site for the hypothetical ‘University of Millchester’. They tackled the complex mix of environmental, social and economic dilemmas in a realistic scenario.

A third pilot for the second-year Social Justice Festival took place on 18 October 2016, with full implementation of this progrsamme palnned during the 2017/18 academic year. Students explore the concept of social justice through interactive workshops, exhibitions, performances and online experiences whilst also having the opportunity to attend our Volunteering Fair. Local third-sector and social enterprises and external speakers take part in the fair, with the aim of engaging students in practical action on social justice.

The third stage of the programme, which focuses on Workplace Ethics, is intended for final-year students and will be be implemented during the 2017/2018 academic year. It will involve a range of interactive workshops and training scenarios that encourage students to consider ethical dilemmas in real-life work situations.

Impact of the Ethical Grand Challenges programme

  • Over 5,000 students attending the Sustainability Challenge in September 2016
  • 3,000 students have taken part in pilots to shape the programme
  • 92% of students in pilots said they are more aware of the complexity of sustainability
  • 97% of students in pilots said they increased their awareness of justice in the workplace through our Workplace Ethics Challenge.

In September 2017 all 8,000 first-year undergraduate will have the opportunity to take part in our second Sustainability Challenge.

Find out more about how you can get involved in our Ethical Grand Challenges website.

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