Carys Jones, Senior Lecturer at Manchester University reflects on how the teaching world is adapting to a new online format, the benefits of working from home and how being an IEMA accredited University is invaluable for supporting students in their academic and career goals.

As we struggle to move forward into new ways of working in a changing landscape constrained by Covid-19, we are all looking for ideas and resources to help us. How can we do things differently? How can we get round what we can no longer do at all? Can we actually start doing things better than we did before? The questions and uncertainties seem to go–and-on. What we can be certain of though is that talking to colleagues and contacts will be supportive, if not essential, in generating ideas and finding solutions. I have had more discussions and brain storming meetings with colleagues since lockdown in March than I have had for years. Despite all the strains and stresses of the past few months, we have had the time and space to stand back a bit, and I have found this helpful and invigorating.

As Programme Director of the Masters in Environmental Impact Assessment and Management at the University of Manchester, I need to find new ways to deliver lectures, workshops, small group teaching, field trips, and the list goes on. A key part of our teaching is to engage with real-world examples by bringing in external speakers from consultancies, statutory bodies, etc. to set the principles that we teach in a wider practice context. Therefore, we are drawing on the expertise and skills of our past graduates and those with long-standing links to our department, to help us develop engaging online material relating to EIA, SEA and wider environmental management, including short presentations, hosting Q&A sessions, and case studies from practice – both good and bad! Our membership of IEMA, as an accredited programme, is also proving invaluable in providing students with links to the wider practice community, guidance on moving into professional employment and access to a range of videos, publications and contacts to support their studies and career development throughout the coming session.

Finally, for me, there are some very positive aspects of working from home. Not having to commute into Manchester several days a week. Walking out into the garden to observe and record the fauna and flora (the British Trust for Ornithology Garden BirdWatch project is a great initiative to get involved with). Being able to drink tea all day and, finally but by no means least, the ‘support’ of our two new kittens Poppy and Willow. As you can see, Willow is a great supporter of IEMA!

Carys Jones Blog
Willow the Cat supports IEMA

Please note: the views expressed in this blog are those of the individual contributing member, and are not necessarily representative of the views of IEMA or any professional institutions with which IEMA is associated

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Carys Jones

Carys Jones is a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Assessment and Management in the Department of Planning and Environmental Management, School of Environment, Education and Development at the University of Manchester. She is the Director of the MSc EIA and Management programme and teaches various EIA, SEA and environmental modules.