Sustainability Across the Curriculum Program

What IS sustainability?  How do we define it in an academic context?  How is it relevant to your teaching? Wesleyan's Sustainability Action Plan (SAP) calls for an increase in the number of courses that incorporate sustainability as a learning objective, and the Sustainability Across the Curriculum Program is one way we're moving toward that goal.   

If you have questions, please email Jen Kleindienst (Sustainability Director) or Suzanne OConnell (Prof. of Earth and Environmental Sciences).

  • 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)
    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)

  • Program Details

    Workshop 

    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.  

    Seminar 

    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