High-Impact Experiential Approach to Sustainability in Northeastern University's Curriculum
Experiential Learning as a General Education Requirement • University Core Curriculum requires all undergraduates to pursue at least one experiential learning opportunity • Cooperative Education • Global Experience • Service-Learning • Research or Creative Activity
Why Experiential Learning • Based on a century of experience, Northeastern University believes guided exposure of students to “real world” experiences, integrated with classroom-based curricula, provides a transformative experience that produces graduates who are: • Critical thinkers • Globally and socially aware • Ethical in their decision making • Life long learners who can succeed in multiplecareers • High-impact approach to educating students who can solve pressing sustainability challenges
What is Co-op? • Opportunity to alternate periods of academic study with periods of employment • related to the student’s academic, personal and professional interests. • exploration/preparation prior to the experience and reflection/integration after the experience. • carefully designed calendar that enables students to participate in six month work experiences – then return to the classroom. • flexibility to design their own schedule with guidance of a team of academic and co-op counselors – enabling participation in co-op and other forms of experiential learning activities.
Students Who Would Recommend a Co-op Based Education to a Friend Making Plans to Attend College
Over 2200 Employers Posting Co-op Positions for Northeastern Students (~6300 positions per year) Partners Healthcare, Manulife Financial, EMC, Goldman Sachs, Children’s Hospital, David Presbrey Architects, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, General Electric, CVS, Procter & Gamble/Gillette, Raytheon, Harvard University, Boston Globe, Bose Corporation, Deloitte & Touche, Camp, Dresser, McKee, TJX, Apple Computers, Merrill Lynch, Beth Israel Deaconess, Wellington Management, Merck, US Government, State Street Bank, The Boston Red Sox, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Ernst & Young, Suffolk Construction, Perkins School for the Blind, Liberty Mutual Insurance, Nstar, Fidelity, Google, City Year, Kennedy Bros. Physical Therapy, United Nations, Walgreen, Morgan Stanley, MIT, City of Boston, EF Education, Criminal History Systems Board, Textron, Genzyme, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Staples, Boston Beer Company, ElkusManfredi Architects • Top 50 Employers = 1/3 of positions, but best opportunities often at smaller organizations • Northeastern does not place students – they compete as in the ‘real world” -- each responsible for his/her own career!
Sustainability Focus in Co-op • Designing a green guide to our thousands of co-op opportunities within the US • Developing additional job opportunities focused on environmental practices • Developing sustainability components to existing co-ops • International co-ops involving sustainability • Wind farm turbines in Scotland • A water distribution system for rural Uganda • Revised environmental practices in a Chinese plastics factory
Sustainability Focus: Undergraduate Research • Micro-fabrication of novel fuel cells • Innovative water disinfection methods • Effect of global climate change on Antarctic marine organisms • Damage to plant life on the Boston Harbor Islands caused by invading exotic species • Computer simulation of an automobile supply chain that engages students as the decision-makers in the design, civic and business implications of caring for our environment
Sustainability Focus: Faculty-led Study Abroad • Environment, Sustainability and Development in Latin America • Human development and environmental issues in Central America • Costa Rica's commitment to sustainability • The Netherlands: Sustainable Urban Design • Transportation planning, bicycle facility design, and policies for promoting walking, bicycling, transit use, and developing sustainable and livable cities