THERE IS at least one exception to Perri 6's view of British academics (THES, November 28). Since September 1996 Leeds Metropolitan University has offered a masters degree in foresight and futures studies designed to encourage students to take a constructive approach to the future.
The university's initiative in mounting this course was noted in the Office of Science and Technology's report Foresight Actions and Achievements 1997, under the heading "Changing the culture".
The masters is based around four core modules that give a futures perspective of methods, issues and dilemmas on which students base their own specialist studies.
Among the methods included is scenario building. The course does not underestimate the difficulties involved in thinking and planning for the future but by taking a critical and constructive approach encourages human responsibility for the future.
More details can be found at: http://www.lmu.ac.uk/dbe/benv/fore/fore-in.htm.
Graham H May
Course leader and principallecturer in futures research School of the Built Environment Leeds Metropolitan University