Sustainability for any organization includes looking at the content of products and services it provides. For higher education institutions, those include courses and degrees that address the interactions and interconnections of society, economy and environment. Similar arguments can be made in terms of demand from students and their future employers -- educated people are expected to understand how their field can contribute to creating sustainable communities and businesses.
Requirements to teach sustainability are coming from accreditors and professional societies calling for sustainability education. For example, our College of Engineering has responded to the ABET Student Outcomes requirement to “understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental and societal context.” The Disciplinary Associations Network for Sustainability (DANS) has compiled resources for 19 categories of academic disciplines that demonstrate how sustainability is valued in different fields of study. These efforts are part of constantly evolving societal views on the goals of higher education and professional development.
A desire to teach sustainability can also arise from individual instructors and departments. Sustainability topics may fit a course or degree looking to update and address modern and emerging issues. These topics could also help engage students and recruit them to a degree program. Sustainability themes can be ways to incorporate alternate teaching methods, such as campus as a laboratory, civic engagement with community partners, or service learning projects.
This page is focused on helping faculty integrate sustainability into the curriculum.
In addition to searching for teaching resources through professional organizations in your field, the university subscribes to two organizations with general resources.
- The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) provides a clearinghouse of information on campus sustainability, including a focus on resources for faculty. AASHE supports online discussion communities, webinars, searchable publications hub, and a mentoring program that can match you with a peer from another institution. AASHE also provides timely guidance, as with their recent emphasis on materials related to racial equity and social justice and to COVID-19.
- The US Green Building Council (USGBC) has over 900 online courses, of which the university’s subscription includes unlimited access to and use of these teaching materials. In some fields, the USGBC badges and certifications may serve as faculty professional development or student career preparation.
Note: For both AASHE and USGBC you will need to set up a personal account using your campus email address in order to gain full access to materials.
The Office of Sustainability organizes “Sustainability in the Curriculum” workshops for teaching faculty. Since 2015, we have worked with trainers (experienced UNC Charlotte faculty) to offer a 2-day workshop in May. Over 80 faculty participants have earned stipends for incorporating sustainability concepts into their courses and degree programs. For more information and to get on our email list for faculty opportunities, please contact Mike Lizotte at email@example.com.
The Flyer for the 2022 Workshop, May 17/19/20, can be downloaded here.
Our staff are available for guest lectures and campus tours. We also make recommendations and introductions to experts on campus and in the Charlotte community.