“Sustainability in the Classroom” Awards Announced

With a goal of infusing sustainability into the SSU curriculum, the Sustainability Executive Committee (SEC) and WATERS Collaborative announce four “Sustainability in the Classroom” awards.

The awards support faculty in disciplines across campus to develop course content on sustainability topics. Grant recipients are:

  • Drs. Ben Ford, Sunil Tiwari, and Martha Shott of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics for “Mathematical and Statistical Modeling” (MATH 470)
  • Dr. Merlin M. Hanauer of the Department of Economics for “Sustainability Intelligence” (BUS 555)
  • Drs. Martha Shott of Mathematics and Statistics and Nathan Rank of the Department of Biology for “A Watershed Year” (SCI 120A/B with extensions to MATH 160: “Pre-calculus”)
  • Dr. John Sullins III of the Department of Philosophy for “Ethical Analysis of Sonoma County Water Use” (PHIL 301)

In accepting his award Dr. Sullins noted, “I am excited to accept the award and I look forward to producing some great work with my students for the Waters Collaborative. Speaking for her colleagues Drs. Ford and Tewari, Professor Schott said, “We are ecstatic to accept the Sustainability in the Classroom award for Math 470. We look forward to collaboration as a part of the program.”

Drawing from a GMC Academic Integration Grant, and a grant from the Sonoma County Water Agency, four awards were made of $1500 per course. Two of the four awards went to courses addressing watershed sustainability issues.

In making the announcement, SSU Director of Sustainability Paul Draper said, “Broadly, we envision sustainability as ongoing efforts —large and small — to respect the environment, see and remake culture, and construct new economies that don’t compromise the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Proposals were submitted from eight departments in four of the five academic schools, demonstrating a wide interest by faculty in addressing sustainability issues through student engagement in the classroom. Originating departments agreed to open the new “Sustainability in the Classroom” courses in Fall 2014 or Spring 2015.

Proposals were selected for their strengths in imaginatively offering curriculum using cross-disciplinary teaching approaches to address local sustainability issues and engage students in fieldwork, service-learning or problem-based inquiry. Other considerations were faculty collaboration, and the potential for a course to become an annual or bi-annual offering at SSU.

These new “Sustainability in the Classroom” courses will be presented to the campus in poster sessions at a “Sustainability Expo” to be held at the GMC on October 21, 2014. Courses with water-related sustainability issues also will be presented at the SSU Science Symposium with other WATERS Collaborative posters to be held at the Student Center in April 2015.

SSU Preserves Director Claudia Luke and Draper who were both looking to do something significant in the curriculum to demonstrate a renewed commitment to sustainability on campus developed the award program collaboratively. Draper added, “For the Sustainability Executive Committee these classes represent a spectrum of course work sustainability across in the curriculum from first-year General Education courses, through sophisticated content in a number of majors. Academic engagement is one of the more important goals of this committee. The pursuit of a sustainable future means coming at problems from many directions, and these courses in philosophy, business and econ, bio, math and stats add significantly to existing roster of courses in sustainability.”

In distributing funds from the Sonoma County Water Agency, Luke commented, “All of us on the selection committee were delighted with the breadth, imagination and rigor that went into the applications,” said Luke. “As the WATERS Coordinator I am thrilled with the new opportunities for students to engage in regional watershed management issues.”