Integrating Sustainability into the Undergraduate Curriculum

Best Practices and Pedagogical Resources

Interest in sustainability is sweeping college and university campuses across the country. From wind turbines and local foods to campus energy competitions and bike share programs, students are finding new and innovative ways to transform campus operations. But what about the curriculum? Despite student demand and a need for creative minds to help design a more sustainable future, precious little on sustainability has penetrated the curriculum of higher education. But this is changing as a growing number of faculty are rethinking what and how they teach in ways that are reinvigorating their classrooms and bringing renewed student interest.

You could be part of that change!

Join faculty from across the Midwest at Luther College for an April 2011 conference on integrating sustainability throughout the curriculum. This conference is the concluding event of a year-long collaborative project funded by the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) organized by Luther, St. Olaf, Macalester, and Carleton Colleges. This free, day and a half conference provides an opportunity to learn about what is happening in sustainability education throughout the country and to share curricular resources and best practices for teaching sustainability.

April 3-4, 2011
Luther College
Decorah, IA

Registration is free and open to faculty and staff from any college or university
Conference schedule and Registration will open January 15, 2011

The conference will include:

  • Keynote Address by James Farrell*, author of The Nature of College: How a New Understanding of Campus Life Can Change the World and Boldt Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Humanities at St. Olaf College
  • Breakout sessions focused on academic disciplines that feature resources on teaching sustainability within each discipline as well as focused discussion on successful pedagogical strategies within the discipline
  • Specific examples of sustainability-themed courses from across the disciplines
  • Information on using STARS (AASHE's Sustainability Tracking and Reporting System) to evaluate and enhance sustainability within your curriculum
  • Sessions on place-based learning, assessment and student learning outcomes, sustainability within general education, using campus operations as a teaching tool, and sustainability related research
  • Resources on faculty development focused on sustainability and successful strategies for developing a plan to reach more faculty
  • Information on the academic component of the President's Climate Commitment and ways to use the ACUPCC to leverage curriculum change on your campus
  • Information on online curriculum resources such as the Science Education Resource Center (SERC), CAMEL (Climate Adaptation and Mitigation E-Learning) and a new sustainability curriculum database through the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)
  • Connections to faculty from across the Midwest who are working on sustainability on their campuses and in their classrooms

* JAMES FARRELL is the author of The Nature of College: How a New Understanding of Campus Life Can Change the World (Milkweed, 2010) as well as numerous books that examine the American way of life, from One Nation Under Goods: The Malling of America (Smithsonian, 2003) to Inventing the American Way of Death (Temple University Press, 1980). He is the Boldt Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Humanities at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, where he developed Campus Ecology, a course that makes students the subject of their own environmental studies. Farrell regularly speaks on campuses around the country about "greening" college.

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