“advancing curriculum and faculty development
sustainability in higher education”


SCC Update – August 2016

In this issue:

  • SCC Online Dialogue on the 2030 Development Agenda continues
  • Strategic Planning in progress for SCC activities in the 2016-17 Academic year
  • ESD Pedagogy webinar video transcripts now available
  • SCC and EFI to convene Sustainable Societies Academy™ at Poly Prep Country Day School
  • Current and upcoming SCC Leadership Activities
SCC Online Dialogue: The 2030 Development Agenda (SDGs, Paris and Sendai)
  • Online Dialogue process has begun
  • Registration remains open
  • Video transcript of the first webinar has been posted
SCC's current Online Dialogue* focuses on the key components of the 2030 Development Agenda: the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Paris Climate Agreement, and Sendai Framework on disaster risk. This professional development offering is based on the premise that teaching faculty in ESD need to understand the fundamentals of these frameworks that will guide sustainable development for the next 15 years.

Registration for this Online Dialogue is still open. Please see registration information and details on the components of the SCC Online Dialogue below.

SCC Director Ira Feldman has organized and will moderate this dialogue to engage leading experts and stakeholders. Your one-time registration for the SCC Online Dialogue process (no fee) includes access to:
  • live webinars on GoToMeeting® and video transcripts of each session
  • relevant resources identified by expert presenters on the Collaborase platform
  • facilitated follow-on Q&A on Collaborase, and
  • co-creation of a "synthesis document" by all registrants on Collaborase.
The next webinar in this Online Dialogue: Tuesday, August 9, 2PM EST
This second webinar will cover elements of the Paris Climate Agreement. Presenters will include Mark Trexler (the Climatographers); Wil Burns (the Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment and past president of AESS); and Don Brown (Widener Law School). Selected topics to include: the role of business and industry; geoengineering; mitigation, adaptation, and loss & damage; and climate ethics.

Save the date for the third and final webinar in this Online Dialogue: Tuesday, August 23, 2PM EST
In the final webinar of this series, Debbra A.K. Johnson (DAKJ, LLC and SCC Advisory Council member) and Aris Papadopoulos (founder of the Resilience Action Fund), both leaders in ARISE: the Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies, will explain the basics of the Sendai Framework on disaster risk reduction and its relevance to broader sustainability issues. Debbra and Aris will emphasize the linkages between all three components of the 2030 Development Agenda, which, taken together, can serve as a comprehensive game plan for sustainable development.

The video recording of the first webinar in this Online Dialogue series has been posted. The first webinar covered the concept of "planetary boundaries" in the Anthropocene as a basis for understanding the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  Presenters included Kevin Noone (Stockholm University), a co-author of the seminal Rockstrom planetary boundaries paper; Faye Leone (IISD), the content editor of Earth Negotiations Bulletin; and Ashwani Vasishth (Ramapo College and SCC Advisory Council member), who actively participated in the UN's SDG stakeholder process. The video recording for this webinar is available here.

Registration: A one-time (no fee) registration for SCC's Online Dialogue on the 2030 Development Agenda includes all 3 webinars and access to all other Online Dialogue components. Click here to register.

Process note: Registrants will receive an email before each webinar with GoToMeeting® access codes. Registrants will also receive a separate email invitation to access the Collaborase platform. 
* What is SCC's process for Online Dialogues?  

We are developing a multi-part process that can be applied to any relevant theme or topic of interest to sustainability educators. Our Online Dialogue process combines:
  • key readings,
  • expert-led webinars,
  • interactive Q&A sessions on Collaborase, and
  • the co-creation of a synthesis document into an integrated process.
SCC's innovative approach offers sustainability educators a quick and credible means to become conversant with emerging trends, frameworks, and hot topics and to keep pace with developments in sustainability. We are facilitating this exchange of knowledge to bridge the gap between the sustainability practitioner/policymaker and educator communities, and thereby advance faculty and curriculum development for education for sustainable development (ESD).
SCC Strategic Planning for the 2016-17 Academic Year

We've demonstrated the need. We've proved the concept. Our pilot activities were well received. Together, let's proceed!
SCC's Leaders and Advisory Council are initiating a strategic planning process for the upcoming academic year. Now is an opportune time for you to share your ideas as we prioritize activities and resources for higher education sustainability curriculum and professional development in 2016-2017 and beyond. 

We launched SCC by asking two threshold questions:
  • What is the biggest challenge you face as a sustainability educator?
  • What do you need to support your work as a sustainability educator in terms of faculty and curriculum development?
We will continue to ask these questions to ensure we are meeting the needs of teaching faculty in ESD.  We strive to be responsive to the curriculum and faculty development needs of sustainability educators.
As we proceed, SCC is aligning our activities around three key themes:
  • Pedagogy: Innovative approaches for ESD educators
  • Substantive Content: Building capacity and sharing resorces on both the fundamental topics and emerging trends in sustainability
  • Leadership: Understanding the significance of leadership in the ESD context
We are looking for your input specifically on what activities and resources would be of most value to you, your colleagues, and your institutions in developing:

...pedagogy: What pedagogical challenges do you and your colleagues face in developing, delivering, and/or assessing sustainability curriculum? What do you envision in terms of a pedagogy that truly embraces the principles and practices of ESD in higher education? What will it take to address this? 

...content: What ideas, processes, or skills do you wish were being taught that aren't? How could existing content be better connected, contextualized, or applied? What is critical for learners to understand now and in the future?

...leadership: What leadership values and practices are you seeking in your own ESD work? What do you want higher education leaders to know, and how do you see their leadership supporting the goals of ESD?

In other words, we are looking to you, our colleagues in the higher education/ESD community, to help identify the issues, concepts, principles that are of most critical value for SCC to direct its focus in the coming year.

Please use the form on the CONTACT US page of the SCC website with your feedback, suggestions and questions.  
The SCC-AASHE webinar series on Pedagogy for ESD was a great success... and video transcripts are now available.

In collaboration with the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), SCC delivered a series of four expert-led webinars on pedagogy in education for sustainable development (ESD). See webinar descriptions below.

The recorded video transcripts of all 4 webinars are now available on the SCC YouTube channel.

Webinar 1: Beyond Science: Framing Sustainability to Welcome All Disciplines
Susan Santone
Description: Colleges and universities trying to integrate sustainability across the curriculum often encounter a common stumbling block: the perception that sustainability is relevant only to environmental science. This false belief can keep non-science faculty away from the table. This webinar will provide participants with a framing of sustainability that creates entry points for all disciplines. The session introduced a set of transdisciplinary concepts and show how ‘overlaying’ these concepts onto existing topics results in a fresh, sustainability-based lens for instruction. Examples from multiple disciplines demonstrated how all faculty can locate sustainability connections to field, setting the stage for integration across the curriculum. The video recording for Webinar 1 is available here. 

Webinar 2: Language and Inclusion: Educational leadership practices that enhance learners’ sense of ecological identity and efficacy
Facilitator: Jess Gerrior
Description: How sustainability conversations begin, who is invited to the table, and who is left out can determine how learners – including faculty, students, and other members of learning organizations – identify with and feel motivated to take on the broad issue of sustainability. Sustainability leaders know that it is about more than environmental problem-solving – that generating momentum for sustainable change involves difficult social, economic, and political conversations. What models and methods can educators use to create inviting spaces for learners to develop new and deeper connections to “sustainability”? This webinar was structured as a participatory dialogue/exchange. The video recording for Webinar 2 is available here.

Webinar 3: Sustainability at the Heart of Learning: Aligning sustainability with institutional, departmental, and classroom values for better student outcomes

Facilitator: Jess Gerrior, SCC Director of Learning & Practice
Description: The intellectual work of designing, delivering, and evaluating transdisciplinary sustainability curriculum, together with the practical work of enacting sustainability knowledge and skills in the physical environment are both essential to education for sustainability. But unless the "head" and "hands" are connected with th
e "heart" - the cultural, sociopolitical, moral values of learning communities - they can only reach so far. In this webinat we exchanged ideas and practices for tapping into what moves educators/leaders - teaching sustainability from the inside out. The video recording for Webinar 3 is available here.

Webinar 4: Course Redesign Strategies
Facilitator: Susan Santone, Creative Change Educational Solutions
Description: ‘Integrating sustainability’ into a course means adapting both content and pedagogy to create a learning experience that is more interdisciplinary, experiential, and focused on authentic problem-solving. How can instructors juggle all of these demands without designing a syllabus from scratch? This session presented a step-wise instructional process for meeting this challenge. This approach, used with colleges and universities across the country, results in high-impact courses that integrate core sustainability concepts; promote civic involvement; and align outcomes, assessment and instruction. Attendees will walk away with a design framework that brings learners through a process of engagement, deep inquiry, decision-making, and positive action. The webinar will illuminate that ‘integrating sustainability’ is fundamentally about effective teaching and learning. Therefore, this session is especially recommended for faculty development specialists—especially those who may falsely believe that sustainability is environmental education. The video recording for Webinar 4 is available here.

If you participated in any of the 4 SCC-AASHE webinars -- or if you viewed the webinar video recordings -- please click this link to participate in a brief (5-10 minute) survey about your experience. 
Poly Prep, through partnership with Sustainability Curriculum Consortium™, is hosting Sustainable Societies Academy™ (SSA). SSA provides highly motivated rising high school students with an engaging introduction to and preparation for further studies in sustainability. During this intensive 5-day session led by faculty and leading professionals from UPenn, Harvard, CUNY, and other universities, students will learn the basic concepts and principles of sustainability through college-level presentations, small group discussion, interactive workshops, and site visits.

From the acclaimed Global Sustainable Societies™ curriculum, engineered by Environic Foundation International® (EFI), students will engage in extensive study and practice in human settlements, climate, water, and decision-making. Upon completion of the 5-day program, which includes summer-long access to the online EFI modules, SSA students will achieve the following: 
  • Understand sustainability issues;
  • Understand the interdependencies among the issues;
  • Know strategies which can be used to tackle sustainability challenges;
  • Know how to analyze the practicality of proposed strategies;
  • Know what it takes to build sustainable strategies themselves.
Prior to arrival on Poly Prep’s campus, students are expected to complete a self-paced module and prep assignment to ensure a baseline level of readiness for the Academy’s programming.

By the end of the program, SSA students will be equipped to integrate their interests and concerns to develop solutions to social, economic, and environmental sustainability challenges in their own communities.
Who is this good for? The program is right for any rising high school student in the New York City metro area who is a highly motivated/self-starter and who is interested in urban planning, climate change, civil engineering, architecture, social justice, and more.
If you have any questions, please contact:
Brian Filiatraut, Director of Sustainability
(718) 836-9800, Ext. 3120
SCC leadership updates 
Ira Feldman
  • During the week of July 11, Ira attended the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on sustainable development at United Nations headquarters in New York City. He participated in the HLPF sessions offering workshops on learning, training and practice for the SDGs. 
  • From July 27-29, Ira attended AASHE's Sustainability Officers Retreat in Kelowna, British Columbia hosted by Leanne Bilodeau of University of British Columbia - Okanagan. The retreat featured Leith Sharp's presentations on her sustainability leadership approach to organizational change and implementation case studies from several other institutions.
  • Finally, on August 3, Ira attended a workshop at the University of Richmond focusing on sustainability competencies in ESD. Special thanks to workshop host Rob Andrejewski of Richmond and workshop leader Peter Dawson Buckland of Penn State for including us in this informative session which we expect to lead to follow-on collaboration with SCC.
Jess Gerrior
  • Jess continues her research training and fellowship this summer, conducting a pilot study incorporating photovoice as a community-based participatory research method. Her project will explore and highlight the experiences of workplace gardeners as they relate to issues of local food systems. She will present her work in a poster session at the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) Research Symposium in Madison, WI this October.
  • Jess is preparing for the Sustainable Societies Academy™ in Brooklyn, where she will lead a workshop session on local economics. Jess is also coordinating the SCC strategic planning process. And, with Susan Santone, Jess is planning a follow-on to the successful ESD Pedagogy webinar series. 
We are both looking forward to the AASHE Annual Conference in Baltimore this October, where we will lead the session, New Directions for Curriculum Development and Faculty Development through a Consortium Approach.
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 institutions and their academic leaders must address the professional development and curriculum development needs of a dynamic, diverse, and intellectually rich community that is being called to step up to 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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