Building Interdisciplinary Sustainability Programs
Sustainability can enter the undergraduate curriculum in a number of ways. Interdisciplinary concepts and teaching methods can be infused into existing courses to emphasize the interaction between disciplinary content and sustainability. This approach can provide new skill sets that are not the focus of traditional degree programs including both specific skills and process oriented skills. This will translate well into a modern work environment where employers have a solution-oriented focus and want people who can use their existing skills toward novel applications and adapt to a changing future. An alternative to the infusion strategy, entire programs can be created or modified to emphasize sustainability. Programs engaging with sustainability are inherently interdisciplinary and thus challenge the administrative structure of many institutions. Solutions need to be aligned with institutional structure and goals. This talk with focus on lessons learned through the InTeGrate STEP center workshop program on benefits of implementing interdisciplinary sustainability programs and overcoming challenges to doing so. We will discuss examples of different approaches across institution types, and strategies developed by the NAGT sponsored "Building Stronger Departments" program.