Cows, Colleges, and Curriculum: A Sustainability Workshop

Goal:To develop strategies and activities for infusing sustainability through the curriculum.

2006 workshop

Date: June 19-20, 2006
follow-up August 28, 2006

Location:Buntrock Commons 142, St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN

Deadline for signups:June 12, 2006; Please sign up with Mary Savina (

Overview:The 21st century will be the age of the ecological transition, and our students will need to know how to make it happen. Some of our students develop ecological literacy in specialized classes, but all of them need to encounter environmental issues and strategies for sustainability in their classes.

If you are interested in learning about sustainability and creating a sustainability-related section in one or more of your courses, you will want to join faculty from Carleton and St. Olaf in the first "Cows, Colleges, and Curriculum" workshop. It will be a two-day faculty development seminar (June 19th and 20th) designed to connect faculty from both sides of the river with resources for thinking about sustainability or environmental issues in whole classes, specific units, new readings and/or assignments. We will reconnect for a follow up workshop on August 28.

Workshop activities will include discussions of key books and articles on global and local sustainability, field trips to local land and water ecosystems, discussions of environmental issues in the Northfield area with local environmental partners, creation of course projects and activities. You will have ample opportunities to share your ideas with colleagues on both campuses. Participants will be asked to do some reading and to develop an activity for a specific course.

The workshop is suitable for faculty and staff new to Northfield, those "testing the waters" of sustainability in the curriculum and those interested in revising existing projects. The workshop concept came from a workshop at Emory University on "Sustainability Across the Curriculum" that Jen Everett and Jim Farrell attended last winter. The workshop is modeled on Emory's Piedmont Project , a faculty and staff development program to "strengthen Emory's involvement with sustainability and environmental issues." At Emory, more than 30 curricular projects in arts, humanities and languages have emerged from their workshops, in addition to about an equal number in the social sciences, sciences and professional schools together. We think that the Northfield workshop will produce equally diverse projects; at least four of the St. Olaf participants are in the arts and humanities.

Outcomes:At the end of this workshop, faculty and staff will have a greater understanding of local opportunites to include sustainability in education. Faculty will develop a teaching activity that they will incorporate into a course. Staff will identify sustainability opportunities for students within their organization. In addition, participants will meet interested faculty and staff from both Carleton and St. Olaf interested in sustainability issues. A website will disseminate activities and opportunities for others to utilize.

Conveners:Jim Farrell (History, American Studies, and Environmental Studies at St. Olaf College, teaches the Campus Ecology course), Mary Savina (Carleton College), Suzanne Savanick Hansen (Sustainability Manager, Macalester College; Ph.D, in Conservation Biology (urban ecology and campus sustainability))

Faculty participants will receive a stipend for participating in the workshop and submitting a curricular piece to the workshop website. Some participating Carleton staff may also be eligible to receive a stipend.

If you have questions, please contact Mary, ( or Suzanne Savanick Hansen at (

Funding provided by the Mellon Faculty Lifecycles grant, HHMI, and St. Olaf Faculty Development.

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