Geography, Geology and the Environment
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- Zoe Robinson
Dr Zoe Robinson
Director of Education for Sustainability
|Phone:||(+44) 01782 7 34303|
|Location:||William Smith Building : WS 1.32|
|Role:||Course Director for Applied Environmental Science;
Course Director (joint) for Environment and Sustainability;
Careers tutor for Geography and Applied Environmental Science
- Research and Scholarship
- Further Information
- Sustainability Outreach
I am a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Science and Physical Geography. I started lecturing at Keele in 2004 following a period of time working as a Geologist/Hydrogeologist with an environmental consultancy, working primarily in the area of landfill site management, contaminated land remediation and human health risk assessment.
My current research interests are in hydrogeological systems in glacial environments, and sustainability-related work ranging from the use of knowledge networks in communities for energy reduction, strategies for fuel poverty mitigation, and sustainability education, with particular emphasis on the link between employability and sustainability and the role of sustainability in organisations. This expertise in sustainability education has resulted in me leading Keele University’s strategy for embedding Sustainability in the Student Experience. I also carry out significant sustainability outreach work, working closely with a range of organisations to deliver sustainability education to school children, school teachers and the wider public, through our award-winning environmental education group Science for Sustainability.
These research and outreach activities have been funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Higher Education Academy, Institute of Physics, Learning Skills Network amongst others.
My research follows two different strands: 1) research in glacial environments and 2) sustainability-related research. Further details on both strands are given below.
Research in glacial environments
I have been working in glacial environments since 2000, completing my PhD on ‘Geochemistry and Behaviour of shallow groundwater systems in an Icelandic sandur, Skeiðarársandur, SE Iceland.’ I continue to actively research and publish on this topic and in particular I have looked at the hydrogeological implications of landscape evolution in glacial environments; geomorphological-hydrogeological linkages in establishing ecological niches in these hostile environments; and the influence of groundwater systems on the generation of distinctive ice at the base of glaciers. I review papers for Hydrological Processes; Aquatic Geochemistry; Arctic, Alpine and Antarctic Research; Earth Surface Processes and Landforms; Journal of Glaciology, and Water Resources Research
I am currently supervising a PhD student, Amir Levy, who is carrying out his PhD on “The effect of glacier fluctuations on shallow hydrogeological systems of glaciers in SE Iceland”
In 2011, a Dr Katie Szkornik and myself received a Nuffield undergraduate bursary to fund a second year undergraduate student, Nicola Brocklehurst to carry out a project entitled, “Ecological and sedimentological characteristics of kettle-hole lakes in the proglacial environment, Skeiðarársandur, south-east Iceland”.
- Cook SJ, Robinson ZP, Fairchild IJ, Knight PG, Waller RI, Boomer I. 2010. Role of glaciohydraulic supercooling in the formation of stratified facies basal ice: Svinafellsjokull and Skaftafellsjokull, southeast Iceland. BOREAS, vol. 39(1), 24-38
- Robinson, ZP, Fairchild IJ, Arrowsmith CA. 2009. Stable isotope tracers of shallow groundwater recharge dynamics and mixing within an Icelandic sandur, Skeiðarársandur. In Hydrology in mountain regions. Marks D and Sciences IAOH (Eds.). (vol. 326).
- Robinson ZP, Fairchild IJ, Spiro B. 2009. The sulphur isotope and hydrochemical characteristics of Skeiðarársandur, Iceland: identification of solute sources and implications for weathering processes. HYDROLOGICAL PROCESSES (vol. 23, pp. 2212-2224). JOHN WILEY & SONS LTD.
- Robinson ZP, Fairchild IJ, Russell AJ. 2008. Hydrogeological implications of glacial landscape evolution at Skeiðarársandur, SE Iceland. GEOMORPHOLOGY, vol. 97(1-2), 218-236.
Sustainability –related research
I carry out a range of sustainability-related research from the use of knowledge networks in communities for energy reduction, strategies for fuel poverty mitigation, and sustainability education, with particular emphasis on the link between employability and sustainability and the role of sustainability in organisations. These research activities have been funded by the Higher Education Academy, Economic and Social Sciences Research Council, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
Current research students:
- Nicola Ruston. Evaluating the effectiveness of environmental education programs: the impact on behaviours and attitudes of pupils and evidence of intergenerational learning
- Sophie Bessant. Sustainable Development and Higher Education Institutions in the UK
Some current projects include:
- Reducing Energy Consumption Through Community Knowledge Networks. Dobson, A., Robinson, Z.P., Ormerod, R.M., Catney, P., MacGregor, S. (£450,000, EPSRC-ESRC Energy in Communities)
- “Living what we’re learning”: A sustainable student house and its impact on the university community. Robinson, Z., MacGregor, S. (£10,000, HEA GEES subject centre)
- Evaluating ‘in-the-home’ fuel poverty alleviation interventions in North Staffordshire. Robinson, Z., Ormerod, R.M., Ruston, N. (£4,980 National Energy Action Chesshire-Lehmann Fund)
- Hybrid PBL: A scalable approach to sustainability education. Bailey, P., Robinson, Z., Ormerod, R.M., Bostock, S., Knight, P.G., Tomkinson, R., Tomkinson, C.B., Engel, C.E. Boast, R. (£200,000 National Teaching Fellowship Scheme Project)
Past projects include:
- £4,950 Robinson, Z. and MacGregor, S. Making the transition to interdisciplinarity: Effective strategies for early student support. Higher Education Academy Education for Sustainable Development.
- £25,000 Lead in Keele’s partnership in a GEES Consortium bid to JISC Open Educational Resource fund. ‘C-change. Open licensing of climate change and sustainability resources in the Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences’
- £2,100 Robinson, Z.P. Greening Business: Employability and Sustainability. An on-line resource for delivering linked sustainability-employability skills within the curriculum. Higher Education Academy Education for Sustainable Development project
- £4,100 Robinson, Z.P. Graduate employability skills: environmental responsibilities and the workplace. Higher Education Academy Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences subject centre
- £2,350 Robinson, Z.P. and Greenhough, B.G. Environmental citizenship: the student perception. Higher Education Academy Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences subject centre (October 2006-September 2007)
- ROBINSON, Z.P. (2011) Climate change education: Challenges and opportunities. In: Hasslett, S., France, D, Gedye, S. (eds.) Planet Special Edition: The Pedagogies of Climate Change.
- ROBINSON, Z.P. (2009) Greening Business. In: The Handbook of Sustainability Literacy. Stibbe, A. (ed.) Green Books, 130-136.
- ROBINSON, Z.P. (2009) Linking employability and sustainability skills through a module on ‘Greening Business’. Planet, 22, 10-13
- ROBINSON, Z.P. (2009) Embedding employability context through assessment design. Planet Special Edition Employability, Employer Engagement and Enterprise in the GEES Disciplines. 21: 64-67
- ROBINSON, Z.P. & DIGGES LA TOUCHE, G. (2007) Re-orientating a physical geography skills programme for careers relevance : An Environmental Baseline Teaching Simulation. Planet, 18, 36-39.
- ROBINSON, Z.P. & GREENHOUGH, B.J. (2009) Are GEES students ‘good environmental citizens’? Planet 22, 20-26.
Full Publications List show
Big society, little justice? Community renewable energy and the politics of localism. Local Environment. doi>2013.
Community knowledge networks: an action-orientated approach to energy research. Local Environment, vol. 18(4). doi>2013.
Forthcoming: Big society, little justice? Community renewable energy and the politics of localism. Local Environment. doi>2013.
Weathering reactions within a basaltic glacial outwash plain. GEOCHIMICA ET COSMOCHIMICA ACTA, vol. 66(15A), A643. link>2002.
Discharge of debris from ice at the margin of the Greenland ice sheet. Journal of Glaciology., vol. 48(161), 192-198. doi>2002.
The feasibility and challenges of energy self-sufficient wastewater treatment plants. Applied Energy. doi>
Greening Business. In The Handbook of Sustainability Literacy. Stibbe A (Ed.). Green Books.2009.
Stable isotope tracers of shallow groundwater recharge dynamics and mixing within an Icelandic sandur, Skeiðarársandur. In Hydrology in mountain regions. Marks D and Sciences IAOH (Eds.). (vol. 326).2009.
Weathering reactions within basaltic outwash plain. Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta Abstracts..2002.
GPR-derived architecture of November 1996,jokulhlaup deposits, Skeidararsandur, Iceland. Eos Trans AGU 82(47)..2001.
Proglacial groundwater response to multi-magnitude atmospheric/volcanic events. Earth Systems Processes Abstracts.2001.
My administrative roles include:
- Programme director for BSc Applied Environmental Science
- Programme director for BSc Environment and Sustainability
- Programme Director for PGCert Sustainable Business Management
- Lead in Environment and Sustainability collaboration with Nanjing Xiaozhuang University, China
- Careers tutor for Geography and Environmental programmes
- University lead – ‘Sustainability in the Student Experience’
I was awarded the Keele University Teaching Excellence award in 2008, and have received over £250,000 in external funding and £15,000 of internal funding for teaching-related projects.
I currently teach the following undergraduate modules at Keele:
- ESC-10042 Environmental Science Skills (module leader)
- ESC-10044 Introduction to Environment and Sustainability (module leader)
- ESC-10043/ESC-00004 Greening Business: Employability and Sustainability (module leader)
- ESC-10039 Fundamentals of Physical Geography
- ESC-10041 People and the Environment
- ESC-10045 Introduction to Geology for the Environmental Sciences
- ESC-20029 Practical Physical Geography
- ESC-20030 Regional Landsystems
- ESC-20033 Research Skills in Environment and Sustainability
- ESC-20032 Environmental Analytical Methods
- ESC-30018 Global Environmental Change
- ESC-30020 Water Resources (module leader)
- ESC-30019/ESC-30035/ESC-30031/GEG-30006/GEG-30008 Dissertations for Geography, Applied Environmental Science and Environment and Sustainability
I take part/run in field courses to the local area, Centre for Alternative Technology, Lake District and Iceland
Since 2006 I have been running, alongside Professor Mark Ormerod, an environmental education group, based in Keele University’s School of Physical and Geographical Sciences, called Science for Sustainability. The group delivers a range of sustainability workshops for school children, school teachers and the wider public. Our school workshops can be targeted at any ages from 5 to 18, can be integrated into a range of disciplines from geography to science, and can cover a range of topics from waste management, life cycle analysis, carbon footprinting, energy reduction, climate change, to food miles. All our workshops are highly innovative and hands-on and are targeted to the needs of the schools. Our workshops for school teachers aim to help give teachers the confidence and innovative ideas for teaching about sustainability and climate change, and how to embed their teaching into making sustainability improvements in the school, and attain Green Flag Eco-School status. Nicola Ruston, our full-time Environmental Education Officer is a trained Eco-Schools assessor. The Science for Sustainability group also takes part in public events. In 2011 we were took part in the major international music festival, Bestival, on the Isle of Wight, attended by 50,000 people.
We have strong partnerships with a number of sustainability-related organisations in the region including: the North Staffordshire-based fuel poverty charity Beat the Cold; Aspire Housing, a major Registered Social Landlord; Staffordshire County Council; East Staffordshire Borough Council; Stafford Borough Council; Newcastle Borough Council; Sustainable Staffordshire and the Staffordshire Business and Environment Network. Our team play a key part in the Staffordshire Climate Change partnership.
Our work has been funded by the Defra, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Economic and Social Research Council, Research Councils UK, Institute of Physics, National Energy Action
The team are also regularly invited to give public lectures on issues of sustainability.