Sustainability & Environmental Justice Pedagogical Initiative and Course Cluster

The S&EJ initiative is designed to increase faculty engagement with sustainability and environmental justice in the curriculum and facilitate integration of these topics into existing courses. This across-the-curriculum approach has proven effective to foster a culture of sustainability at dozens of colleges and universities.   

Wesleyan's program began in 2016 with a workshop/seminar series and now includes faculty gatherings and an annual request for proposals to integrate sustainability into the curriculum. The Sustainability & Environmental Justice course cluster offers an opportunity to indentify courses that have been part of this initiative and others engaging on these topics

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).
  • Sustainability & Environmental Justice Criteria

    Wesleyan Sustainability & Environmental Justice Course Criteria

    Developed October 2016 and revised in January 2018 by the faculty cohort

    The criteria below are used to guide faculty in submitting requests for proposals for the S&EJ Initiative and to evaluate whether their course is a good fit for the S&EJ course cluster.

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    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.

  • Request for Proposals - open Winter 2022

    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 2021, we awarded $500-1000 stipends to 8 Wesleyan faculty to modify existing courses to incorporate themes related to sustainability and/or environmental justice.

    Information on requirements and details can be found here as reference for future years.  The RFP has historically opened in December/January of each year.

  • Course Cluster

    In 2019, Wesleyan launched a new course cluster in sustainability & environmental justice.  Encompassing climate change, ecological sustainability, and environmental justice, this course cluster recognizes that sustainability and environmental justice are (or should be) central to public policy debates, scientific and intellectual inquiry, and the foundations of social and economic life. By framing sustainability and environmental justice together, we draw attention to equitable access to protection to all species without unfairly distributing risk of harm to some individuals and groups that live within them.

    This course cluster is intended to cut across Wesleyan’s academic divisions and within all disciplines, whether natural, social, or humanistic modes of thought and practice. A course cluster also makes these courses easier to find for both students and faculty advisors (especially important as they cross both disciplinary and divisional lines), attract prospective students to Wesleyan, and raise awareness of this field among students and faculty. Refer to the list of criteria above for ideas of what course content might be included in this course cluster.

    For a current list of courses offered, visit WesMaps. To submit a course to the cluster, please contact Tony Hatch at ahatch@wesleyan.edu.  

  • 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. Katherine Brunson (2021)
    6. Kim Diver (2016)
    7. Paul Erickson (2018)
    8. Candice Etson (2018)
    9. Kate Galloway (2018)
    10. Megan Glick (2020)
    11. Anisha Gupta (2020)
    12. Tony Hatch (2016, leading 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 programs)
    13. Ron Jenkins (2021)
    14. Bill Johnston (2016)
    15. Jan Naegele (2016)
    16. Marguerite Nguyen (2020)
    17. Suzanne OConnell (2016, led 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 programs)
    18. Marcela Oteíza (2021)
    19. Katie Pearl (2021)
    20. Helen Poulos (2019)
    21. Joyce Powzyk (2019)
    22. Justine Quijada (2016)
    23. Jennifer Raynor (2020)
    24. Mary-Jane Rubenstein (2019)
    25. Olga Sendra Ferrer (2020)
    26. Anu Sharma (2021)
    27. Sadia Shepard (2021)
    28. Anna Shusterman (2020)
    29. Elise Springer (2016)
    30. Ying Jia Tan (2018)
    31. Roman Utkin (2021)
    32. Heather Vermeulen (2020)
    33. Danielle Vogel (2019)
    34. Clifton Watson (2020)
    35. 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. Eat, Grow, Save: The Anthropology of Food and Justice (Sharma)
    10. Ecopoetics (Vogel)
    11. Elementary Italian II (Zamboni)
    12. Environmental and Resource Economics (Raynor)
    13. Environmental Philosophy (Springer)
    14. Extreme Landscapes of the Anthropocene (Bird)
    15. History of Ecology (Erickson)
    16. Image/Word: Narrative and Photography in Contemporary Spain (Sendra Ferrer)
    17. Incarcerated Stories: Documenting In/Justice (Jenkins)
    18. India and the World: Fiction and Film about India and Globalization (Sawhney)
    19. Indigenous Religions? Deconstructing the 'Lump' (Quijada)
    20. Intermediate Chemistry (Gupta)
    21. Introduction to Archaeology (Brunson)
    22. An Introduction to Collaborative Documentary Filmmaking (Shepard)
    23. Introduction to Directing (Pearl)
    24. Introduction to Environmental Science & Sustainability (OConnell)
    25. Introduction to Environmental Studies (Poulos)
    26. Introduction to (Geo)Spatial Data Analysis and Visualization (Diver)
    27. Introduction to Japanese History (Johnston)
    28. Introductory Sociology (Boggs)
    29. Litanies for Survival, Plots for Revolution (Vermeulen)
    30. The Making of Modern Japan, 1500 to the Present (Johnston)
    31. Neuroplasticity: How Experience Changes the Brain (Naegele)
    32. Nonprofit Boards: Theory and Practice (Watson)
    33. Pantheologies- Animal, Vegetable, Mineral, World (Rubenstein)
    34. Queer Russia (Utkin)
    35. Race and Medicine in America (Glick)
    36. Refugee Literature (Nguyen)
    37. Research Methods (Shusterman)
    38. The Soviet Century (Utkin)
    39. Text and Visual Imagination (Oteíza)
    40. Thermal and Statistical Physics (Etson)
    41. Time, Masks, Mirrors: Aging in America (Carey Best)
    42. World Music (Galloway)
  • 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.

    The program's fourth year, 2019-20, was the largest yet, with a continued dual focus on sustainability and environmental justice.  Support came from both the College of the Environment and Wesleyan Green Fund, supporting seven faculty in Fall 2020 and an additional five in Spring 2020.  Collectively, these faculty have integrated sustainability and environmental justice into 17 courses.

  • 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
  • Faculty Resources

    Please email additional resources to add to this list to jkleindienst@wesleyan.edu.