Sustainability Across the Curriculum Program

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:

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

  • Spring 2019 Sustainability & Environmental Justice Pedagogical Initiative

    Request for Proposals 

    With support from the College of the Environment, 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. 

    Through the first iteration of this initiative, we have awarded $500-1000 stipends to 5 Wesleyan faculty to modify existing courses to incorporate themes related to sustainability and/or environmental justice. The faculty selected for Spring 2019 are:

    • Tess Bird
    • Helen Poulos
    • Joyce Powzyk
    • Mary-Jane Rubenstein
    • Danielle Vogel


    After February 15             Final syllabi and course materials accepted (due no later than June 3)

    Late April TBD                  Lunch

    By Friday, May 10             Meet with Prof. Tony Hatch or Sustainability Director Jen Kleindienst

      at least once to discuss proposed course changes

    Monday, June 3                Deadline for syllabi and course materials

    By Friday, June 28            Stipends awarded

  • Faculty Cohort

    The following faculty have completed the Sustainability Across the Curriculum Program (workshop, seminars, and course integration) and are part of a growing faculty cohort interested in expanding sustainability integration into courses.

    Peggy Carey Best (2016)
    Kim Diver (2016)
    Paul Erickson (2018)
    Candice Etson (2018)
    Kate Galloway (2018)
    Tony Hatch (2016, leading 2019-20 program)
    Bill Johnston (2016)
    Jan Naegele (2016)
    Suzanne OConnell (2016, led 2016-17 and 2017-2018 programs)
    Justine Quijada (2016)
    Elise Springer (2016)
    Ying Jia Tan (2018)

  • Amended Courses

    The following courses have been amended through the Sustainability Across the Curriculum Program:

    • Cultural Studies of Health (Hatch)
    • Developmental Neurobiology (Naegele)
    • Neuroplasticity: How Experience Changes the Brain (Naegele)
    • Introduction to (Geo)Spatial Data Analysis and Visualization (Diver)
    • Introduction to Environmental Science & Sustainability (OConnell)
    • Environmental Philosophy (Springer)
    • Indigenous Religions? Deconstructing the 'Lump' (Quijada)
    • Time, Masks, MIrrors: Aging in America (Carey Best)
    • The Making of Modern Japan, 1500 to the Present (Johnston)
    • Anthropocene as Modern Grand Narrative (Tan)
    • History of Ecology (Erickson)
    • World Music (Galloway)
    • Thermal and Statistical Physics (Etson)
  • Program Details


    The Sustainability Across the Curriculum workshop is designed to increase faculty awareness of sustainability in their courses across disciplines and provide practical suggestions about how to increase student engagement and reinforce learning outcomes by adding a sustainability component.  This across-the-curriculum approach has proved to be an effective way to foster a culture of sustainability at dozens of colleges and universities.  


    Following the workshop, a four-session seminar allows faculty the opportunity to delve deeper into sustainability education and have the opportunity to give and receive peer feedback as they amend one or more existing courses to include sustainability.  

    Course Module Integration

    Faculty participating in the workshop and/or seminar are expected to teach their amended course within one academic year of taking part in the program.  The faculty cohort will reconvene after teaching their amended course to discuss their experiences.  

  • 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.  The Sustainability Office is currently leading program evaluation for the 2016-17 Program.  

    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 will integrate sustainability into courses in 2018-19.

  • What's in it for faculty?

    The Sustainability Across the Curriculum program is currently under redevelopment to better serve faculty.  To be involved in planning for the future of this program, please contact Jen Kleindienst.

    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
  • What's next?

    SATC faculty cohort members are working to advance the program's goals in a way that best supports faculty members and expands holistic sustainability education.  Specific projects include:

    • New faculty orientation included a session on sustainability integration in Fall 2018.
    • Integrating sustainability into departmental/college themes
    • Creating a course cluster focused on sustainability