Sustainability Across the Curriculum Framework

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					Green Paper: The Sustainability-Across-the-Curriculum Framework at Dickinson College

This position paper lays out in broad stokes a vision for Sustainability-Across-the-Curriculum as a
defining characteristic of Dickinson College. We see the Sustainability framework as one lens through
which a Dickinson graduate would see his or her specific liberal arts education coherently and
holistically. This paper will serve as a starting point for one or more open hearings in spring 2012
from which members of the College community can discuss the role of Sustainability across the

Definition of Sustainability:
    We propose to use a broad and generally accepted definition, which is inclusive of all ways of
        knowing (i.e. environmental, economic, social, ethical, spiritual, historical, cultural, and so on).
    Our working definition: sustainability is the capacity to improve the human condition in this
        and future generations without degrading the natural world.

Scope of Sustainability at Dickinson (the defining characteristic):
    We seek to engage all Dickinson students in education for sustainability, whatever their chosen
       field of study, with the goal of building their competencies to:
           o Think critically about human interactions in and with the environment, the motivations
             and consequences of the interactions, and the challenges of improving the quality of life
             for all people while protecting and enhancing the natural world for future generations;
           o Make informed decisions to advance sustainability goals that are based on credible
             evidence, meet clearly articulated decision criteria, are appropriate to their cultural
             context, and are guided by carefully considered values;
           o Communicate effectively with diverse audiences in a variety of media to raise awareness,
             increase understanding and motivate action for sustainability; and
           o Solve problems with others and individually their professional, civic and personal lives by
             applying sustainability concepts, values, and approaches.
      We propose a framework for Sustainability-Across-the-Curriculum that encompasses breadth
       and depth of understanding AND applies and practices that understanding locally, nationally,
       and globally.
      Breadth and depth in the curriculum are presently provided by Sustainability Investigations
       (SINV) and Connections (SCON) courses that are offered in all three academic divisions and
       more than 20 departments, ranging from introductory to advanced levels. We will continue
       efforts to build and maintain a significant and diverse set of Sustainability Connections and
       Investigations courses through faculty study groups and other programs to support faculty and
       curriculum development.
      Sustainability learning occurs both in and outside of the classroom. The framework includes a
       rich variety of curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular experiences such as first-year
       seminars and learning communities, introductory gateway courses, mosaics, "global"
       experiences of all sorts and durations, capstone experiences (e.g., independent study/research
       and seminars), service learning, internships, and co- and extra-curricular activities.
      The framework mandates no requirements at the College level. Students would engage
       voluntarily in the study of sustainability. Some will choose to master the sustainability
       competencies at a basic level, some at more advanced levels, and others not at all. Those who
       master sustainability competencies at the highest level will earn a credential.
      We envision a quadripartite structure of learning (see Matrix):
           o Sustainability Leadership
           o Sustainability Coursework
           o Sustainability Service
           o Sustainability Independent Project
      We propose a credential (e.g., Baird Sustainability Scholar) for those students who complete all
       aspects of the Sustainability framework and demonstrate attainment of the sustainability
       competencies. The credential would be indicated on the official transcript upon graduation and
       in the commencement program.
      The framework would not preclude incorporation of sustainability within existing programs,
       such as concentrations, thematic clusters, and/or tracks within majors.

This effort will build on and further organize what already happens on campus. We intend to complete
the development of the full curriculum framework within a four-year period. Assuming efficacious
timing we intend for the class of 2016 to have available to it the full range of offerings. Advising
would be provided throughout the Sustainability experience using a pool of CSE administrators and
faculty representing all academic divisions. In sum, the route of an individual's pathway through the
various offerings would be unique to that person but would include both courses and experiential
education and result in attainment of a common set of competencies that give valuable insight into the
world at large. We would encourage participating students to keep a portfolio or other vehicle of
course and project outcomes that presents meaningful reflection on their experience.

The Framework:
    Sustainability-across-the-Curriculum for students can be envisioned as a bifurcated pyramid
       (see diagram) of academic offerings surrounded by a universe of diverse and individualized
       activities. We foresee faculty engagement with Sustainability paralleling student interests
       through course offerings, co-curricular interests, experiences off-campus, and independent
       research/study opportunities.
    The proposed framework is meant to afford students ample opportunity to engage with
       sustainability issues at any point in their college career, and in a wide variety of ways. At the
       same time, this framework allows for rigor in determining how a student is credentialed at
       completion. We envision that many or most students will have some sustainability academic,
       extra- and/or co-curricular experience but relatively few will attain the credential.
    Entrance to one's Sustainability education could be at any point in a students' tenure at
       Dickinson via an SCON or SINV course. Some First-years wishing to start right away may
       choose a First-Year Sustainability Learning Community/Collective seminar as well as
       coursework. For others, a co- or extra-curricular activity might serve as the entry point that
       sparks an interest in formal study of sustainability.
    Typically sophomores would continue with coursework at the 200- and 300-levels, and might
       also become involved, or increase their involvement, in internship, co- and extra-curricular
    Juniors choosing to go off campus (global and domestic) would have Sustainability offerings at
       all or most of Dickinson's sites or could develop their own experience. Those staying on
       campus could continue with coursework and/or non-coursework experiences at a higher level
       (e.g., apprenticeships, senior interns), start independent projects, or engage in other unique
       learning experiences (e.g., mosaics, service learning).
    Seniors would develop capstone experiences via independent research, departmentally-based
       seminars, interdisciplinary seminars, or mosaics.
    Students seeking the Sustainability credential would present to a faculty committee a portfolio
       of selected work that demonstrates attainment of sustainability competencies and includes
       examples of the quadripartite of Sustainability Leadership, Service, Coursework, and
       Independent Project. A reflective essay that interprets the student’s liberal arts education
       through a lens of sustainability will be included.
    All courses that contribute to the Sustainability-Across-the-Curriculum framework would be
       designated as fulfilling one or more of the learning goals for sustainability in addition to the
       content designation of SCON or SINV.

      The Center for Sustainability Education (CSE) will assess sustainability education at Dickinson
       quantitatively, by tracking the number of SCON and SINV courses offered, the distribution of
       courses across departments, student enrollments in the courses, and the number and percentage
       of graduating seniors who have taken two or more SINV or SCON courses, participated in one
       or more sustainability related co- or extra-curricular activities, and earned the sustainability
      Sustainability education will be assessed qualitatively by evaluating learning outcomes. Each
       year a sample of SINV and SCON courses will be selected for assessment. The sample will
       focus on a different aspect of the sustainability curriculum each year, e.g. introductory gateway
       courses, service learning courses, living laboratory courses, capstone courses, clusters of
       disciplines, etc. Course syllabi, assignments, rubrics, and examples of student work will be
       collected from the instructors of the selected sample of courses. Departmental assessments of
       these courses and student and faculty evaluations will also be collected. The collected materials
       will be reviewed from the perspective of the sustainability competencies.
      Learning outcomes of sustainability internships, extracurricular and co-curricular activities with
       a sustainability dimension will also be assessed.
      Over time, these metrics will allow us to make meaningful judgments about the success of
       various parts of our program and will also create an objective framework for future
       developments and modifications.

Sustainability Curriculum Framework Sub-committee of the Steering Committee on Sustainability

Neil Leary, Director, CSE
Michael Beevers, Environmental Studies
Michael Fratantuono, International Business and Management
Lindsay Lyons, Assoc. Director, CSE
Ash Nichols, English
Jeff Niemitz, Earth Sciences
Meghan Reedy, Classics
                  Sustainability                Sustainability Sustainability
  Activities       Leadership                    Coursework Independent
                                  Service (SS)
                       (SL)                          (SC)      Projects (SP)

1stYr Seminars                                        X

                                       X              X              X
                                       X              X              X
                                                      X              X

   Research                            X              X              X

                        X              X
  Curricular            X              X

  Internships                          X                             X

Apprenticeships         X              X                             X

                        X              X                             X
                        X              X                             X

   Mosaics                             X              X              X

                                       X                             X
                        X              X              X              X
                                                      X              X
Sustainability-Across-The-Curriculum Framework Pyramid


                         - IND.

                   -OFF-CAMPUS    -300-LEVEL
                   EXPERIENCES    COURSES;
                  -SERVICE        -MAJOR
                   LEARNING       COURSEWORK
                -SENIOR INTERNS   (D’SON & ABROAD)

            -INTERNSHIPS          -200-LEVEL SCON/SINV
         -CO- AND EXTRA-          -DEVELOPING CONC.,
         CURRICULAR               THEMES, CLUSTERS IN
         ACTIVITIES               MAJOR; METHODS


                                  -1ST YR SEMINARS W/SUSTAINAB.

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