The Role of Societal Issues in your Course or Program

Wednesday 1:30pm-4:00pm CIRES Fellows Room
Mini Workshop

Convener

Sarah Fortner, Wittenberg University

Building courses and programs around societal issues equips students to face earth resource challenges into the future. Linkages around societal issues can unify departments, stakeholders, and institutions, and support a shared vision and growth. Participants will identify and share ways to link courses and programs around societal issues and high impact practices (e.g. InTeGrate Modules and Courses) to support deep learning and growth through stakeholder opportunities, program development).

Goals

  • Identify locally-relevant societal issues aligned with Grand Challenges
  • Reflect on opportunities and resources to leverage that will expand the societal relevance of your course or program
  • Craft an action plan (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 22kB Jul15 15) to expand the societal relevance and impact of your course or program using guiding principles from the InTeGrate Materials Development & Refinement Rubric

Program

1:30 Welcome

1:45-2:05 Identify locally relevant societal issues that address Grand Challenges

Participants will identify grand challenges important to their community. They will identify the disciplinary perspectives and associated data resources needed to address these challenges.

2:05-2:20 Benefits of incorporating societal relevance into your course

This presentation will include a rationale for with developing societally relevant curriculum. This includes: support for diverse populations and grand challenge problem-solving & opportunities to build interdisciplinary connections and enduring support.

2:20-3:00 Leveraging resources and cultivating opportunities to expand the societal relevance of your course or program

Individually you will identify existing resources that increase the societal relevance of your course or program. You will also consider gains for students, stakeholders, or strategic initiatives at your campus.

3:00-3:10 Break

3:10-4:00 Craft an action plan to expand the societal relevance and impact of your course or program. Develop your plan with guiding principles from the InTeGrate Materials Development & Refinement Rubric and Key Components of Sustainability Learning

  • Aligned with National Literacy Concepts (Nationally Urgent Issues)
  • Authentic data
  • Systems thinking
  • Geoscientific habits
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Local connection
  • Proactive
  • Collaborative

4:00 Final Sharing, Report Using Google Drive

4:15 Adjourn

Examples generated at workshop

Local Societal Issues Identified by Workshop Participants (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 16kB Jul17 15)

Action Plans Identified by Workshop Participants (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 18kB Jul17 15)

Have more ideas for class or program activities aligned with guiding principles for societally relevant curriculum? Add them to our open access page on Google Drive

Tips for partnering with colleagues, industry, government & other organizations that came out of the workshop: Identify mutual interests & goals, but they can be complementary & not the same. For example you might analyze authentic data in new ways & share to expand knowledge (e.g. student fact sheet assignment, or outreach project) or you might consider the broader impacts or institutional mission important to others. See the 8 Block Model for Service Learning.

Tips for thinking about important issues from diverse perspectives: Have students examine geospatial figures that relate to understanding or solving the issue. E.g. to solve the issue of food security students could look at national maps showing: census maps of effected populations, soil lead concentrations, toxic release inventory & USDA food access or land use maps. Change can also be examine through time in xy graphs. Students will need time to figure out the units & what is being presented before they can think about the intersections necessary to understand to solve the issue. Students could consider the place they are from as well as the place that they live in now. This is a great opportunity to build in reflection.

Future opportunities that came out of our discussion

  • The need to collect additional case studies that show how people are partnering with colleagues & others outside of their institution to address societal issues in ways that are aligned with the InTeGrate & the Key Components of Sustainability Learning
  • The need for resources to build institutional support for creating collaborative linkages
  • The potential to identify crowd or cloud activities that connect us to each other through sharing authentic data and perspectives on interpreting that data from multiple places and perspectives.

References


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