Metropolitan College (MC) runs in collaboration with Queen Margaret University (QMU), Edinburgh the validated programme BSc (Hons) Speech & Language Therapy. Sustainable Development Goals have a central role in the programme of studies with many of them being addressed in the everyday academic life but also during the clinical experience of the students the last 20 years of this collaboration between MC and QMU.
During the COVID-19 period, many opportunities for developing a blended way of teaching emerged. This practically meant that students attended many of the classes online through the Microsoft Teams Platform. Both students and teaching staff stay at home while reducing expenses of transportation, baby care etc (SDG1) and the environmental impact of transportation (SDG11 & SDG13). Same practice is being held for Student Staff Consultative Meetings, Departmental Meetings and Examiner’s Boards saving all parties time and money. In the case where physical presence at the campus is necessary an effort is made for a convenient schedule. For the clinical practice an effort is made to allocate students in placements where public transportation is available, residence of students is near or one of the students has a car to share with his peers and minimize expenses and environmental footprints (SDG1, SDG11 & SDG13). In the framework of the Corporate Social Responsibility of Metropolitan College, the Department of Speech and Language Therapy works in collaboration with municipalities, local authorities and NGOs, students, lecturers & clinicians, to offer speech and language therapies in the College’s in-house clinic to paediatric and adult population, at no expense for the child’s or adult’s family. The College’s in-house clinic treats for free more than 40 patients every year, people who could not otherwise afford the cost of these treatments. All cases are handled by the BSc Speech and Language Therapy final year students, under the supervision of the academics of the Department. (SDG1, SDG3 & SDG11). Sustainability practices are adapted throughout teaching and in campus life with the following practices. Hardcopies of assignments have been substituted by electronic submissions and online exams, so have lecture handouts. Many interactive platforms, applications and software are now implicated in the learning process such as Kahoot, Wooclap etc, as well as a new online attendance system reducing paper consumption (SDG1, SDG12 & SDG13). Students are encouraged to recycle, use reusable bottles for coffee and water and sustainable and eco-friendly products from the cafeteria. The concept of “reducing, reusing and recycling” is also encouraged in the inhouse SLT clinic where students and clinical educators have organized the therapy material and stationery in a way that it can be available and reusable by all clients and therapists. Big whiteboards have also been installed in therapy rooms for drawing and writing so consumption of paper can be reduced. (SDG1, SDG3, SDG12 & SDG13). As part of the module Clinical Aspects of SLT, final year students attend lectures dedicated to ethics (SDG3, SDG4, SDG5, SDG8, SDG10) and sustainability in speech and language therapy (SDG17). As per the latter, students will be asked to work on a case study of a private practice or clinic, study how it works and devise a sustainability action plan (SDG17). Great emphasis has been put on the well-being of students with discussions and group work about clinical and/or ethical issues, issues of personal development as well as mental health. A personal academic tutor (PAT) is in place for every student and whenever needed referrals are being made to counselling centre or other facilities provided by the College (SDG3 & SDG4).