“advancing curriculum and faculty development
sustainability in higher education”


SCC Update – March 27, 2016

In this issue...
  • SCC Faculty Conference -- agenda posted and registration open
  • Next 2 SCC webinars on March 31 and April 10 -- registration open
  • Most recent SCC webinar -- recording posted
  • SCC Faculty Needs and Challenges Survey -- results posted
  • SCC Advisory Services -- advancing curriculum and professional development

SCC Faculty Conference

with workshops and panels on SCC's three themes:

Pedagogy, Content & Leadership

Philadelphia, June 26 - 27, 2017

Co-hosted by the Penn State Sustainability Institute

at the Penn State Philadelphia Center

Confirmed Keynote Speaker

Michael Mann, Penn State

Conference highlights:
-  Monday evening Town Hall session on
"Teaching sustainability in a polarized
political environment"

-  Curriculum case studies from leading programs

-  Distinguishing the 100, 300, 500 levels

-  Experiential and community learning

-  Change management for ESD

-  International ESD leaders

-  Regional/bio-regional approaches

-  Bootcamp: Fundamentals and core topics

- Bootcamp: Emerging trends and hot topics

- Roundtable: Sustainability Perspectives from outside the Academy

-  and much more…

Draft Agenda posted here.

The Program Committee is still accepting expressions of interest from presenters and workshop leaders at: <>.

Conference webpage link:

Lodging info:

For sponsor and exhibitor inquiries contact: <>.

Next 2 SCC Webinars

Friday, March 31 at 2PM Eastern

Mauō webinar series #2 :
"the Meeting of Wisdoms"

Krista Hiser
University of Hawaii

In this webinar, Krista Hiser shares lessons from an ongoing  dialogue in the University of Hawaii system about global sustainability and indigenous wisdom in the context of localized climate impacts. A concept paper from Hawaii's statewide summit on Sustainability in Higher Education will be shared, with links to a panel of scholars representing indigenous and western frameworks. Krista will share a synthesis of sustainability learning outcomes, pedagogical practices, and suggestions for mutual strengthening of indigenous communities and approaches to sustainability in higher education.

Krista Hiser is Professor of Composition & Rhetoric at Kapiʻolani Community College, where she team teaches the learning community course: "Decade Zero: Understanding the Science & Rhetoric of Climate Change." Her research in Educational Administration focuses on Higher Education for Sustainable Development. She has published on community engagement, service-learning, organizational change, post-apocalyptic and cli-fi literature. She is a recipient of the Board of Regents Award for Excellence in Teaching and the University of Hawaii President’s Award for Leadership in Sustainability.  Currently serving as the University of Hawaii's Interim System Sustainability Curriculum Coordinator, Dr. Hiser’s current work is to facilitate interdisciplinary dialogue and professional development opportunities for faculty to update and transform their courses and help the University of Hawaii system to ho'omauō *

Mauō = the perpetuation of our well-being
ho'omauō = to perpetuate our well-being

Register here for March 31 webinar

Monday, April 10 at 2PM Eastern

"EarthEd: Rethinking Education on a Changing Planet"

Erik Assadourian,
EarthEd Project Director, Worldwatch Institute
Jonathan Dawson,
Head of Economics, Schumacher College

Join Erik and Jonathan as they discuss how to rethink education--and particularly the classroom experience--to prepare students for life on a changing planet. Erik will discuss the broader ideas and strategies that are part of the upcoming State of the World report: EarthEd: Rethinking Education on a Changing Planet. Jonathan will discuss his chapter in depth, exploring innovative ways to "bring the classroom back to life," particularly at the university level. 

Erik Assadourian is a Senior Fellow at the Worldwatch Institute. Over the past 15 years with Worldwatch, Erik has directed two editions of Vital Signs and five editions of State of the World, including the 2013 edition: Is Sustainability Still Possible? and the upcoming 2017 edition: EarthEd: Rethinking Education on a Changing Planet.  Erik also directs Worldwatch’s Transforming Cultures project, and designed Catan: Oil Springs, an eco-educational scenario for the popular board game Settlers of Catan. Over the past few years, Erik has also been working to produce Yardfarmers, a reality TV show that follows six Millennial Americans as they exit the consumer economy to live with their parents and become sufficiency farmers.

Jonathan Dawson is a sustainability educator, currently working as Head of Economics at Schumacher College in Devon. Until recently a long-term resident at the Findhorn ecovillage and a former President of the Global Ecovillage Network, he has around 20 years experience as a researcher, author, consultant and project manager in the field of small enterprise development in Africa and South Asia.  Jonathan is the principal author of the Gaia Education sustainable economy curriculum <>, drawn from best practice within ecovillages worldwide, that has been endorsed by UNITAR and adopted by UNESCO as a valuable contribution to the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.

Register here for April 10 webinar

Most Recent SCC Webinar

Tuesday, March 14 at 2PM Eastern

"Connecting Transformative Learning
& Behavior Change"

Deborah McNamara
Northwest Earth Institute (NWEI)

Sustainability education at its best should address the “say-do gap,” which behavior change experts cite as being the difference between saying what we believe and actually doing it. This webinar will provide resources for moving beyond knowledge acquisition to application, shared learning and shared action – thus enabling more effective sustainability education and engagement grounded in a transformative, participatory learning process developed by the Northwest Earth Institute, a non-profit organization offering a series of discussion-based course books as well as a complementary online action EcoChallenge platform for educators, sustainability officers, students and higher education staff alike.

Webinar participants will identify new tools that address connections between transformative learning and behavior change and will learn how to implement any NWEI program on their campus or in the classroom.
Recording available at:


SCC Faculty Needs & Practices Survey Results

We are pleased to present summary results of the SCC faculty survey we conducted in December, and want to thank those members of the college/university community involved in sustainability education who took the time to respond to the survey instrument.  In developing and fielding this survey SCC acknowledges the expert support of Peter Soyka of Soyka & Co.  In the survey, we asked respondents to indicate the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with a series of statements designed to elicit their views on a wide range of issues pertaining to current conditions at their institution as well as recommended priorities for SCC’s work during the next year to 18 months. Some major findings and highlights from the survey responses follow below:

The following preliminary conclusions categorized as "good news" could be drawn from these results:
  • There is strong support within the academic institutions represented by the survey respondents for the teaching of sustainability, underlain by a shared understanding of why such education is important.
  • There is widespread support for the use of multi-disciplinary, integrated approaches in teaching sustainability and related topics within college/university settings.
  • Sustainability educators generally feel that they have the support of their respective institutions and their leaders, and may be or have been recognized for their work in this field.
However, our survey results also indicated certain areas of continuing concern:
  • There is a widespread belief that most people on a typical college/university campus do not appreciate the full scope of sustainability or its importance within the curriculum, as distinct from a more tactical, campus and physical plant-focused orientation.
  • Although there is general agreement concerning the “why” of sustainability education, the “how” is far less clear in the minds of many college/university educators and administrators.
  • Students are perceived to be frustrated by a lack of coherence in the existing sustainability curriculum at their institution, as well as by an insufficient emphasis on the development of practical skills.
More detailed results and charts have been posted on the SCC website here. Those who participated in the survey will receive a more detailed analysis prepared by Soyka & Co.

SCC Advisory Services

Interest in sustainability education at the post-secondary level has grown rapidly in recent years, and colleges and universities nationwide have responded in a variety of ways to meet increasing demand for courses, programs, and sustainability in practice.  Many academic institutions have implemented formal programs or informal arrangements.  With this substantial and growing interest in sustainability as a subject matter domain in colleges and universities, those tasked with deciding how best to define and integrate sustainability into the academic curriculum (as distinct from operating the physical plant) are seeking credible and experienced guidance. 

College and university faculty and administrators seeking to develop their own approaches to teaching sustainability may face some difficult challenges.  Given the lack of consensus regarding the definitions of and core competencies required to become a sustainability practitioner, limited and incomplete sets of principles, practices, and policies for establishing and delivering college-level sustainability curricula, and the availability of only partial and anecdotal materials (e.g., text books, course materials, case studies), it may be difficult for sustainability program advocates to know where and how to begin or to improve the results of ongoing efforts.

The Sustainability Curriculum Consortium (SCC) is positioned to provide assistance to sustainability leaders seeking to develop or improve the formulation, delivery, and effectiveness of sustainability curricula.  Our staff, advisory committee members, and associated volunteers and supporters offer extensive experience in working with organizations to improve their effectiveness, and in bringing new and creative approaches to bear in resolving complex problems.

We provide an array of advisory services to sustainability champions at colleges and universities whether seeking to initiate a program or enhance an existing program.  See our Advisory Services webpage here.  Let's discuss the full menu of options tailored to your program.  Please direct your inquiries to:  <>.
The Sustainability Curriculum Consortium is incorporated in Maryland as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.

SCC is aligning its activities around three key themes:
• Pedagogy: Innovative approaches for ESD educators
• Substantive Content: Building capacity and sharing resorces on both fundamental topics and emerging trends
• Leadership: Understanding the significance of leadership in the ESD context

SCC is an AASHE member organization.

SCC email:

SCC mailing address:
Box 34088, Bethesda, MD 20827, USA

SCC Update:
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An archive of past SCC Updates is available here.
Ira Feldman
SCC Founder & Managing Director


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