Sustainability & Environmental Justice Pedagogical Initiative

Wesleyan's Sustainability Action Plan (SAP) calls for an increase in the number of courses that incorporate sustainability as a learning objective.  We are moving toward that goal with several different initiatives:

  • Sustainability Across the Curriculum workshop/seminar series (2016, 2018)
  • Sustainability & Environmental Justice Pedagogical Initiative request for proposals to integrate sustainability into the curriculum (2019, 2020)
  • Sustainability & Environmental Justice course cluster (launched February 2019)

Learn more about the program through the tabs below.  If you have questions, please email Tony Hatch (Coordinator, Sustainability and Environmental Justice; Assoc. Prof. of Science in Society, African American Studies, Sociology, & Environmental Studies) or Jen Kleindienst (Sustainability Director)

  • Initiative Details

    The initiative is designed to increase faculty awareness of sustainability and environmental justice in their courses across disciplines and facilitate integration of these topics into existing courses to increase student engagement and reinforce learning outcomes.  This across-the-curriculum approach has proved to be an effective way to foster a culture of sustainability at dozens of colleges and universities.  

    There will be no Fall 2020 events.  Please check back in late Fall 2020 for Spring 2021 dates.


  • 2021 Request for Proposals

    Wesleyan’s Sustainability & Environmental Justice Pedagogical Initiative seeks to increase the number of Wesleyan courses that integrate sustainability and/or environmental justice into the curriculum to enhance students' exposure and deepen faculty research in this critical area. This across-the-curriculum approach has proven to be an effective way to foster a culture of sustainability at dozens of colleges and universities. 

    In 2019 and 2020, we awarded $500-1000 stipends to 17 Wesleyan faculty to modify existing courses to incorporate themes related to sustainability and/or environmental justice. The RFP for the 2021 program will be posted in December 2020.

  • Faculty Cohort

    The following faculty have completed the Sustainability & Environmental Justice Pedagogical Initiative (2019-present) or Sustainability Across the Curriculum Program (2016-2018) and are part of a growing faculty cohort interested in expanding sustainability integration into courses. 

    1. Tess Bird (2019)
    2. Abigail Boggs (2020)
    3. Katherine Brewer Ball (2020)
    4. Peggy Carey Best (2016)
    5. Kim Diver (2016)
    6. Paul Erickson (2018)
    7. Candice Etson (2018)
    8. Kate Galloway (2018)
    9. Megan Glick (2020)
    10. Anisha Gupta (2020)
    11. Tony Hatch (2016, leading 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 programs)
    12. Bill Johnston (2016)
    13. Jan Naegele (2016)
    14. Marguerite Nguyen (2020)
    15. Suzanne OConnell (2016, led 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 programs)
    16. Helen Poulos (2019)
    17. Joyce Powzyk (2019)
    18. Justine Quijada (2016)
    19. Jennifer Raynor (2020)
    20. Mary-Jane Rubenstein (2019)
    21. Olga Sendra Ferrer (2020)
    22. Anna Shusterman (2020)
    23. Elise Springer (2016)
    24. Ying Jia Tan (2018)
    25. Heather Vermeulen (2020)
    26. Danielle Vogel (2019)
    27. Clifton Watson (2020)
    28. Camilla Zamboni (2020)
  • Amended Courses

    The following courses have been amended through the Sustainability Across the Curriculum Program/Sustainability & Environmental Justice Initiative:

    1. Advanced Research in Conceptual Development (Shusterman)
    2. Advanced Topics in Performance Studies: Imagining Anticolonial Performance Practices (Brewer Ball)
    3. Anthropocene as Modern Grand Narrative (Tan)
    4. Conservation Biology (Powzyk)
    5. Cultural Studies of Health (Hatch)
    6. Developmental Neurobiology (Naegele)
    7. Developmental Psychology (Shusterman)
    8. Early Childhood Seminar (Shusterman)
    9. Ecopoetics (Vogel)
    10. Elementary Italian II (Zamboni)
    11. Environmental and Resource Economics (Raynor)
    12. Environmental Philosophy (Springer)
    13. Extreme Landscapes of the Anthropocene (Bird)
    14. History of Ecology (Erickson)
    15. Image/Word: Narrative and Photography in Contemporary Spain (Sendra Ferrer)
    16. India and the World: Fiction and Film about India and Globalization (Sawhney)
    17. Indigenous Religions? Deconstructing the 'Lump' (Quijada)
    18. Intermediate Chemistry (Gupta)
    19. Introduction to Environmental Science & Sustainability (OConnell)
    20. Introduction to Environmental Studies (Poulos)
    21. Introduction to (Geo)Spatial Data Analysis and Visualization (Diver)
    22. Introductory Sociology (Boggs)
    23. Litanies for Survival, Plots for Revolution (Vermeulen)
    24. Neuroplasticity: How Experience Changes the Brain (Naegele)
    25. Nonprofit Boards: Theory and Practice (Watson)
    26. Nonprofit Board Residency (Watson)
    27. Pantheologies- Animal, Vegetable, Mineral, World (Rubenstein)
    28. Race and Medicine in America (Glick)
    29. Refugee Literature (Nguyen)
    30. Research Methods (Shusterman)
    31. The Making of Modern Japan, 1500 to the Present (Johnston)
    32. Thermal and Statistical Physics (Etson)
    33. Time, Masks, Mirrors: Aging in America (Carey Best)
    34. World Music (Galloway)
  • Sustainability Criteria

    Wesleyan Sustainability Course Criteria

    Developed October 2016 and revised in January 2018 by Sustainability Across the Curriculum Faculty Cohort

    Courses are considered to have a sustainability component when they engage in any of the following explorations:

    1. Explore the relationship between power, social inequities and the development of just and sustainable communities.

    2. Explore how diversity, including biodiversity and/or cultural diversity, contributes to sustainable systems.

    3. Explore dynamics of production and consumption as they relate to environmental health and human well-being and explore strategies for developing sustainable life practices.

    4. Explore how social systems promote, or fail to promote, cultures of sustainability, especially in terms of tolerance, non-violence and peace.

    5. Explore how human well-being depends on ecosystem processes and materials.

    6. Explore the politics and/or economics of sustainable development including its social benefits and environmental costs, and raise critical questions about what development and progress mean for different communities.

    7. Explore how science and technology shape environmental and public health at both the local and global levels.

    8. Explore multiple ways of representing and understanding humans’ relationships to the environment, and how taken-for-granted metaphors and stories can promote or damage environmental and public health.

    These potential explorations are not exhaustive of all of the possible courses that might contain a sustainability component.

    Courses that Include Sustainability Content

    STARS assessment tool: “Courses that are primarily focused on a topic other than sustainability, but incorporate a unit or module on sustainability or a sustainability challenge, include one or more sustainability-focused activities, or integrate sustainability issues throughout the term.”

    Courses that are Sustainability Focused

    STARS assessment tool: “Courses in which the primary and explicit focus is on sustainability and/or on understanding or solving one or more major sustainability challenge.”

    Courses are considered to be sustainability-focused when they focus significantly on any of the eight explorations above.

  • Program History

    During the 2016-17 school year, Wesleyan organized the first Sustainability Across the Curriculum program through the financial assistance of the Wesleyan Green Fund. A full-day workshop for 11 faculty was held in October 2016, followed by a four-session seminar with the same cohort in November 2016.  In Spring 2017, 5 faculty taught their newly amended courses; 1 faculty will teach in Fall 2017, and 2 in Fall 2018.  

    In 2017-18, the Sustainability Office and Center for Pedagogical Innovation, with support from the College of the Environment, Wesleyan Green Fund, and Academic Affairs, held a second year of Sustainability Across the Curriculum.  A workshop took place on January 23, 2018 and was again followed by a seminar series in Spring 2018.  Faculty participating in the program integrated sustainability into courses in 2018-19.

    A third year of the program in 2018-19 saw a greater focus on environmental justice as the program was renamed the Sustainability & Environmental Justice Initiative.  With financial support from the College of the Environment, a request for course integration proposals yielded 5 faculty participants, who met throughout Spring 2019.  These faculty are teaching their courses in Fall 2019 and Spring 2020.

  • What's in it for faculty?

    Program benefits include

    • Collaborating on pedagogy with other faculty
    • Developing and expanding your own pedagogical tools
    • Creating a faculty community focused on sustainability
    • Grants available for course development