“advancing curriculum and faculty development
sustainability in higher education”


SCC Update
December 2016

In this issue:

  • Why & how to participate in SCC's Faculty Needs and Practices Survey (Respond by January 10!)
  • Next SCC Webinar January 10: Better Messaging
  • Recruiting for SCC pedagogy cohort #1 with Jess and Susan
  • Links to 3 most recent SCC webinars
  • New info on SCC faculty mini-conference planning
  • Congratulations to AASHE Centers
  • Seeking regional hosts for Sustainable Societies Academy in 2017
Heads-up on SCC survey
Check your inbox for invitation from SurveyMonkey!

SCC Faculty Needs and Practices Survey

The Sustainability Curriculum Consortium (SCC) leadership team is defining and planning its next two years' activities. As we consider how best to focus our efforts, we want to ensure the most accurate knowledge concerning the needs and priorities of our primary constituency - those teaching sustainability concepts and practices in U.S. colleges and universities. To formally augment our understanding beyond the insights gained through the past two years' many interviews, anecdotes, and examples we have collected, we have developed the following survey to solicit information from you and others who are teaching sustainability "on the ground."
Please complete the survey at your earliest convenience, and no later than 10 January 2017. It should require no more than 15-20 minutes. Many of the survey questions invite you to provide comments. We want to encourage your input wherever you wish, but by no means are written comments required. Should you encounter any difficulty in working with the survey, feel free to contact Peter Soyka for assistance at or (571) 748-5547. 

Take the SCC Faculty Needs & Practices Survey HERE.
SCC Webinar
"Better Messages for Sustainable Behavior"
with Wade Ferguson
Executive Director of Vermillion Institute

January 10, 2017 at 12:00 pm Eastern

Why do so many messages about sustainability seem to fall on deaf ears? And why do the graduates of our sustainability programs get resistance to initiatives with clear benefits (that they were often hired to enact)? For purposes of curriculum development, what else do our students need to know to succeed?
Educators can agree that a useful approach in ESD would include recognizing and avoiding pitfalls and promoting success. So this session will examine which messages are most likely to succeed in motivating people to act and sustaining their behavior.

Through an exploration of both moral development science and the real-world experience of experts, Vermillion discusses these questions to help faculty gear their courses and curricula towards useful learning outcomes for their students – the future leaders in business, government and NGO sectors. In light of new awareness, faculty will be better empowered to guide their students, their peers, and the community groups they mentor towards messages that improve public literacy about the issues and commitment to positive action.

Click here to pre-register for "Better Messages" with Vermillion Institute (January 10, 2016). Webinar login information will be sent to those pre-registered, directly by email, prior to the webinar.
Update & Invitation
SCC Pedagogy Cohort #1:
Transdisciplinary Approaches to EfS/ESD

Following up on the 4-webinar series on sustainability pedagogy offered by SCC last fall, Susan Santone and Jess Gerrior are convening a "cohort" for educators who are ready for a deeper dive into aspects of sustainability (EfS/ESD) pedagogy. The SCC cohort approach represents the next phase of SCC's professional development activities, and will complement SCC's continuing webinars, forthcoming Master Classes, and our late Spring 2017 Faculty Mini-Conference.

Here is how the SCC cohort will work: Two experienced sustainability educators will convene a discussion among higher ed faculty on transdisciplinary approaches to EfS/ESD. Why focus on transdisciplinary approaches? Through prior SCC webinars, conference presentations, and evaluation activities, participants have identified this topic within the broader realm of sustainability pedagogy as one most vital and relevant to their professional practice. Due to the disciplinary specialization that is the hallmark of higher education, many faculty who are now teaching sustainability may lack an transdisciplinary perspective, creating barriers for translating the nature of this complex topic to students. For example, a common stumbling block for integrating sustainability into courses is the perception (among colleagues and/or students) that sustainability is primarily a topic for environmental science. This first SCC cohort will gain a fresh understanding of conceptual connections within and across disciplines, providing a pathway to becoming more comfortable teaching in a way that transcends traditional boundaries. 

SCC pedagogy cohort #1 will: (1) review the basic concepts and principles fundamental to transdisciplinary teaching; (2) explore, through examples and case studies, classroom-tested approaches to presenting inter-/trans-disciplinary material, and (3) engage in workshop-style exercises that will enable participants to apply these approaches to their own teaching contexts. In the process, participants will co-create a shared deliverable that is unique to the cohort and shared among them for use in their individual professional practice. This deliverable may be a collection of case studies; a synthesis of principles and practices; and/or a distillation of innovative ideas resulting from cohort discussions on transdisciplinary approaches to teaching and learning for sustainability. 

Participants may choose to utilize this deliverable at their affiliated institutions to support a case for a new course or program initiative, for classroom teaching or research, or to augment a professional portfolio. Based on members’ interest and agreement, this deliverable could be further developed and utilized in a presentation at SCC’s spring mini-conference, polished into a publishable paper, and/or distributed in other professional venues chosen by the cohort participants as co-authors. These or other outcomes will define what it means to 'integrate sustainability into the curriculum' - an often misunderstood concept that, once clarified, can advance this work within cohort members' institutions. 

Through the use of Collaborase™ and supported by SCC, the work will take place over a six-week period beginning in mid-February. A participation fee will cover participants’ access to the cohort process, which includes:
  • access to the SCC cohort workspace in the Collaborase™ online platform;
  • individualized attention and feedback within a supportive faculty peer group; 
  • co-authorship of the final deliverable and ability to utilize it for one’s own professional development and collaboration.
SCC is now recruiting for this cohort of ideally 10-20 participants. This cohort will be constructed to include diverse perspectives from various disciplines with faculty drawn from multiple institutions. We encourage the participation of individuals or 2 - 3 person teams from programs or schools. 

 If you have a sincere interest in being part of this cohort, please click here to complete a form so we can schedule an initial conversation. We will follow up with you to provide additional details on participation, time commitment, and fees.

Upon selection for inclusion in the cohort, participants will receive an introduction to the Collaborase™ platform and enter into a agreement regarding participation commitments and use of materials and deliverables.  
Links to 3 Recent SCC Webinars
Video transcripts of SCC's most recent webinars are now posted on our YouTube channel.

Creating Coherence
First webinar in the series, “Mauō: the perpetuation of Well-Being”
with Krista Hiser, Professor of Composition and System Sustainability Curriculum Coordinator, University of Hawaii System
Held December 12, 2016 

Stop 'Dooming & Glooming': Engage Students in Solutions
with Debra Rowe, President, U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development
Held December 5, 2016

Teaching for Sustainability: Curriculum Integration, Instructional Design, and Emerging Faculty Cohorts
with Susan Santone, Executive Director, Creative Change Educational Solutions and Jess Gerrior, Sustainability Curriculum Consortium 
Held November 30, 2016

For more information about SCC webinars or to propose one of your own, email:
Program & Planning Committee underway for faculty conference

As announced at AASHE 2016 in Baltimore, SCC will convene a faculty-oriented event in late spring 2017. We will reveal the location and dates for our inaugural event focused on faculty development and curriculum development in our next SCC Update.  The SCC faculty event will center around our three themes: pedagogy, content, and leadership

We are already actively discussing structure and proposed content with many SCC participants. For our Program & Planning Committee, we are looking for individuals who have or would like to gain experience in planning, marketing and delivering academic institutes and/or conferences to
join the planning team

Our aspiration for this initial event is to elevate awareness in higher education of the need to advance curriculum and faculty development in ESD. We urge all like-minded faculty to step forward and help us shape this important endeavor. We welcome your ideas and your willingness to volunteer for planning and programming activities. Contact us for more information.
Congratulations to AASHE Centers
On December 14, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) announced 13 “Centers for Sustainability Across the Curriculum,” which will partner with AASHE to offer workshops and other professional development opportunities on sustainability in the curriculum beginning in 2017. The Centers were selected through a competitive application process held earlier this year. (See the AASHE press release.)
The Centers will be hosted at the following institutions:
  • Center for Sustainability at Ramapo College of New Jersey
  • Central College
  • Colorado College
  • David E. Shi Center for Sustainability at Furman University
  • Center for Sustainability Education at Dickinson College
  • Fleming College
  • University of Kansas and Johnson County Community College
  • Moraine Valley Community College
  • Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
  • The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
  • The Washington Center for Sustainability Education at Seattle University and Western Washington University
  • University of South Carolina – Columbia
  • University of California
The new AASHE Centers are free to seek staffing, planning, content and other support from independent providers. The Sustainability Curriculum Consortium (SCC) has positioned itself to support AASHE Centers as well as other university-based sustainability curriculum and faculty development initiatives. 

According to AASHE, the goal of the new Centers for Sustainability Across the Curriculum program is to accelerate the infusion of sustainability content into curriculum by increasing the availability and accessibility of faculty development opportunities related to sustainability. The professional development offerings from these Centers will be available to faculty from other institutions in the region. Centers will be scheduling workshops throughout 2017 which will be advertised on the AASHE website.

As an AASHE organizational member, SCC applauds the establishment of the 13 new Centers and is ready to assist in advancing their programming. 

For more information, contact:
SCC is recruiting hosts for regional Sustainable Societies Academy

After a successful initial pilot of the Sustainable Societies Academy (SSA) last August at Poly Prep in Brooklyn, NYC, SCC is ready to designate other host schools for Summer 2017.  Poly Prep has already signed up for another round. We are now seeking secondary schools in other regions of the US and Canada. If you are a university-level educator who would like to lead or co-lead a regional academy for talented high school students, please contact us for further information. More details about our 2016 SSA pilot at Poly Prep (pictured above) can be found on our website.
Our closing note…

We have included you in our distribution of this SCC Update because we have identified you as a leader in higher education for sustainability. Many of you have either attended one of our sessions or spoken with us about curriculum and faculty development issues at recent sustainability in higher education events.

We believe it is time for institutions and their academic leaders to address the professional development and curriculum development needs of a dynamic, diverse, and intellectually rich community that is increasingly called to step up and serve the greater global good. Moreover, we sense that despite institutions’ best efforts to embrace sustainability, curriculum development and faculty professional development have lagged behind other initiatives such as carbon/climate impact reduction, environmentally responsible purchasing, and campus greening. 

We hope that if these messages resonate, you will join us and our partners as we proceed with a range of focused and responsive activities to advance the curriculum and faculty development state of play. Your views on the greatest challenges facing sustainability educators will continue to inform our path forward.

Ira & Jess
Ira Feldman
SCC Founder & Managing Director

Jess Gerrior
SCC Director of Learning & Practice

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