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Beyond the Workshops: Examples of sustainability integration across the curriculum Chuck McClaugherty and Steve Kramer, University of Mount Union Alliance OH.

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Beyond the Workshops: Examples of sustainability integration across the curriculum

Chuck McClaugherty and Steve Kramer, University of Mount Union Alliance OH

BACKGROUND: The University of Mount Union is a predominantly undergraduate institution with 2200 students. We have signed the ACUPCC and approved a Campus Sustainability Plan that includes specific expectation for increasing the degree to which sustainability concepts are included throughout our curriculum


Increase student understanding of sustainability.

Increase sustainable behaviors among students.

Support faculty in the development of courses and course components that included sustainability

Enhance the “Sense of Place” for the entire University Community


The program was advertised to faculty through invitation, announcements, and informational meetings sponsored by our Faculty Development Committee.

Financial support for faculty stipends was offered by a donor.

Interested faculty members submitted an application and eleven were chosen to participate.

Participants met in May 2010 for an introductory workshop and in August for a follow-up.

During Academic Year 2010-2011 the implemented new or revised courses.

Participants submitted reflections on their experience as an assessment tool.

More Courses:

CS 218 Educational Media

Was taught as a paperless course. Students were challenged to think aobut ways to reduce their consumption of paper and other resources in teaching.

CE 200 Introduction to Early Childhood Education

Brought sustainability awareness to early childhood educators the examination of school design, operation and curriculum

SO100 Introduction to Sociology

Students investigated the meaning of “sustainability” and addressed links between society and the whole environment, physical and social.

EC 375 Development Economics

Devoted an entire section to Economic Development and Sustainability with Common Wealth by Jeffrey Sachs as a text for that section.

HP 101 Introduction to Public Health

Examined how sustainability related to public health issues including rising medical costs and our current responses to natural disasters and new infectious agents.

ABSTRACT: The Headwaters Project is our institution’s program to infuse concepts of sustainability across the curriculum. Motivated by the AASHE-supported curriculum development workshop at Emory University in January 2010, we developed a curriculum development program similar to those done at dozens of institutions around the country over the past ten years. We have previously described our workshop and will now discuss the curricular developments that were initiated by the workshop participants. One faculty member in the Health major added a section on sustainability to her introductory Public Health course and also added sustainability issues to the senior level seminar that she teaches. An Economics professor worked sustainability into a large part of his 300-level Development Economics course. A Sociology professor included a sustainability unit in her Contemporary Social Issues class that also included a service learning component. In Religious Studies, a professor reworked his upper level course on Religion and Ecology to specifically focus on sustainability topics. Seven other faculty members are currently teaching their sustainability “enriched “classes and their experiences will be included in our report. General comments from participants indicate that the program encouraged them to include sustainability in their teaching and put them in touch with other like –minded faculty members across campus. They would also like assistance with more community-based resources and more opportunities to collaborate. Our next step will be to cooperate in a county-wide initiative that involves five institutions of higher learning in workshops that bring sustainability into the curriculum.


Explicitly incorporate development of sustainability across the curriculum in campus sustainability plan

Participate (2 faculty members) in AASHE sponsored curriculum development workshop at Emory University

Offer two faculty development meetings on sustainability in the curriculum

Offer year-long program with stipend support for class development or modification for 11 faculty

Selected Sustainability-enriched Courses:

The commentary below is drawn from reports of the faculty who taught the courses.

PL 260 Aesthetics

Incorporated two readings and discussion on Land At and the Aesthetics of Wind farms

EH400 Shakespeare

Developed the import for Shakespeare's plays of a live outdoor theater and implicating of how to make urban environments sustainable by encouraging pedestrian culture centers

Why Headwaters?

Undergraduate students are at the beginning (headwaters) of their careers and their lives as participating citizens. Our job in higher education is to provide them with tools to navigate the stream of their life. In addition our campus is located in the headwaters of several Ohio rivers.

Learning objectives for this presentation:

Knowledge of successful examples of courses that integrate sustainability.

Awareness of breadth of disciplines that are integrating sustainability.

Desire to initiate or expand similar programs.

Topographic map of northeastern Ohio showing the Mahoning River Basin. Prepared by UMU GIS.