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NBS8982 : Sustainability (PT MBA)

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Jenny Davidson
  • Owning School: Newcastle University Business School
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The aim of this practice-based module is to enable students to develop and enhance, to an advanced level, their knowledge, understanding and practice of sustainability. The module will provide students with the opportunity to enhance their skills of contextualising and making sense of big global challenges for them and their workplace. By the end of the module, students will have:

•       a strategic view of identifying and analysing global sustainability challenges
•       explored how these challenges have been tackled through civic society, business and governments
•       recognised the role of collaboration in tackling global challenges including, cross sectoral, intra and intergenerational and emerging tools, techniques and processes for delivery

This module provides the opportunity for learners to apply their learning by collaborating across sectors (academia and practice) to tackle grand global challenges. Learners will work in multidisciplinary teams, on one of two projects, to explore and apply tools and techniques relating to digital and data, appropriate to specific contexts, for tackling grand global challenges.

Outline Of Syllabus

The syllabus will include topics such as:

•       Identifying and exploring global sustainability challenges
•       Intra and inter-generational perspectives
•       Materiality
•       The evolution of sustainability and sustainable development
•       Responses to these challenges; civic society, business, government
•       Emerging practices to deliver sustainability
•       Responsible business and ethics (including governance)
•       The role of the individual and moral development
•       Identification of a grand global challenge
•       Tools and techniques for tackling the grand global challenge
•       Application of tools to deliver against the grand global challenge
•       Student-led research to advance relevant discipline knowledge
•       Cross-disciplinary team collaboration

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture81:008:00PiP Lectures (and workshops) scheduled in blocks
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion160:0060:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities112:0012:00Online to include discussion board/padlet or similar
Guided Independent StudySkills practice112:0012:00Work based
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops82:0016:00PiP Collaborative learning space for applying content to learner's context, scheduled in blocks
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops11:001:00Online synchronous module orientation session
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops11:001:00Online synchronous assessment surgery session
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity120:0020:00Designed to broaden and deepen knowledge
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study122:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyOnline Discussion14:004:00asynchronous
Guided Independent StudyDistance Learning Advance Preparation144:0044:00Online learning activities designed to support scheduled PiP to include discussion board/padlet
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The teaching methods recognise the importance of learners learning about context, content and processes for their own individual and organisational development of advanced professional practice.

The teaching and learning methods support achievement of the module’s learning outcomes. The processes of teaching and learning, within this blended learning module, include but are not limited to the following: Face-to-face and online opportunities to acquire knowledge and understanding of theory in practice are provided through attending lectures, listening to and watching podcasts and/or videos, reading and research, and work-based and reflective learning. Learning through dialogue, discussion and collaboration, in face-to-face teaching and online, enables students to articulate, respond to and provide feedback on theory, knowledge and practice application, and to question and challenge their work-based practices. Collaborative social learning, online and in the classroom, is a hallmark of the module and will involve peer learning, co-production of knowledge and ideas about practice, and feedback.

As a post-experience programme, contextualising theory in practice requires not only academic input but also practitioners’ knowledge and expertise and, therefore, some lectures or workshops will be taught by adjunct staff. Reflection on practice, through completion of a reflective journal, supports the learner to evaluate their understanding of the relevant subject knowledge, and to question and challenge their work-based practices, through applying and integrating theory in practice.

Students are expected to enhance their face-to-face and online learning by independent reading and enquiry, for which they are given guidance on relevant materials.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report1M1004,000 words
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Reflective log1MPreparation for summative assessment
Oral Presentation1MGroup Presentation on the global sustainability challenge
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Formative Feedback

Formative feedback is provided throughout the module by encouraging learners to respond to questions and engage in reflection, dialogue, debate and discussion in online and face-to-face contexts. Collaborative learning, online and in the classroom, is a hallmark of the module and involves co-production of knowledge and ideas about practice, and feedback.

Summative Feedback

The module assessment enables learners to achieve the learning outcomes and to consolidate their learning by articulating their conceptual understanding and how it is used in practice. The assessment has 2 components:

1.       50% Individual Report: This 2,000 word report enables learners to identify and analyse a material sustainability issue for an organisation, and to demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate theories, tools and techniques used to identify the issue.
2.       50% Individual Report: This 2,000 word report enables learners to analyse and explore possibilities and opportunities for tackling an issue and develop an organization-specific strategic action plan. The report will be supported by extracts from the learner’s reflective practice log, demonstrating their ability to collaborate in a multi-disciplinary team to tackle a complex issue.

The summative assessment is supported by a formative Group Presentation on the global sustainability challenge. The presentation will be supported by appropriate supporting materials for key stakeholders.

A reflective learning Portfolio is central to completion of the summative assessment, and is an appropriate assessment method for all learners, enabling them to consolidate what they have learned by reflecting on and articulating their personal and/or organisation practice and how it relates to their current conceptual understanding.

Summative feedback on the assessment will include ‘feed forward’, enabling learners to improve future academic and/or practice action.

Reading Lists