Develop Interdisciplinary Curricula
Processes, steps, and strategies to develop or revise courses
A number of strategies must be attended to in order to effectively implement course-level change that forms the foundation for curriculum development. Many projects landed on a common overall process, in which they first identified key leaders to frame a common understanding and remove barriers between academic units, followed by a process of modifying or adding courses (within and outside the geosciences). Course-level changes, in turn, led to larger-scale (certificate, minor, or program) change.
Reach Out to Other Academic Units
Engage representatives of other departments, colleges, or institutions to identify and remove barriers presented by policy, procedure, accreditation, or pedagogic differences. This work, which produces a common understanding of the educational frameworks involved, enables leaders to effectively engage in interdisciplinary work. This work focuses on understanding the organizational structures involved in order to develop a successful program. Another important component is developing a network of interested faculty, which is described on Build Interdisciplinary Networks.
At GAC, pairs of faculty members from different departments (e.g., Geology and Economics) met to discuss pedagogy, course constraints, and student expectations in addition to discussing the content that would be covered.
The project PIs selected faculty from nine different disciplines (Criminal Justice, Psychology, Business, Biology (different branches), Public Health, Political Science, Chemistry/Geology, and Geography) and looked for people who also had administrative positions on top of their teaching loads to insure a smooth implementation and expansion beyond course infusion.
Infuse Learning about the Earth into Non-Geoscience Courses
In a general-education scientific writing course, the common syllabus includes sustainability as a major theme. Students learn writing and research skills within this sustainability framework and additionally learn to connect sustainability to their intended major.
A module on sustainability is added to the Wittenberg First Year Seminar. Consequently, all incoming students to Wittenberg are exposed to active learning and the topic of sustainability through a 2 week project in their first semester.
The Gustavus team developed a suite of modules aligned with the InTeGrate development rubric and implemented them in courses across the curriculum in courses ranging from Religion to Neuroscience.
Savannah faculty in business and political science joined the program team and modified lower and upper division courses in their disciplines with InTeGrate materials.
Bring Sustainability into the Geoscience Curriculum
Enrich the geoscience curriculum with courses that address sustainability and societal impacts to prepare geoscientists for sustainability-related careers or further study.Embed Sustainability in your Program »
The Northern Colorado team developed a 200-level general education science lab course, Environmental Earth Sciences, to serve both as an entry into the Environmental Geoscience degree program and to serve students who will go on to other disciplines.
Faculty at Savannah State modified introductory level courses to include coherent sustainability themes.
The Marine Sediments course at Savannah State was initially developed as part of an NSF grant to increase engagement of HBCU students in geological oceanography and enhance their exposure to the International Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) and research relevant to IODP. Several sustainability-related themes emerged in this course in the most recent offerings.
Create Certificates, Minors, or Campus-wide Initiatives
Capitalize on intersections that might lead to a certificate or interdisciplinary minor in sustainability or a geoscience field. This could involve developing all new courses or tying existing courses together with a common thread of sustainability and only developing new ones if there are gaps in the sequence that need to be filled. This creates new pathways for students into learning about the Earth.
The PSU team developed 5 new courses that constitute a Certificate Program and an Earth Sustainability Minor and are offered both on-campus and online.
One of the main goals of the CSU Chico team was to provide cohesive curriculum across the Sustainability Pathway an option in the General Education requirements that would improve student learning and confidence around sustainability issues. Students can earn a minor in Sustainability by completing the Sustainability Pathway.
The Savannah State team has developed new courses that will serve as the backbone for a new certificate or minor in coastal risk, management, and environmental justice.
Infuse Sustainability into Teacher Preparation Programs
Enhance Earth-literacy in teacher preparation programs through a sustainability focus. Specific targets might include Elementary Education, where teachers have broad science exposure, and STEM-field teaching certifications, where teachers have a more robust exposure to science but might not otherwise be exposed to sustainability themes.