Today and tomorrow I’m attending the annual Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) conference, held this year in Los Angeles. This is the biggest and most diverse gathering of its kind in the US (if not the world) and brings together faculty from all academic disciplines, graduate and undergraduate students, sustainability coordinators, campus operations administrators, and others to explore every conceivable aspect of sustainability in our colleges and universities.
Given that AASHE sprung into being as recently as 2006, the size and diversity of this annual gathering and the remarkable resources of the association in general are testament to the growing significance of sustainability in higher education’s curricular innovations and physical operations.
This afternoon, Oct. 15th, I’m participating in a roundtable session entitled Teaching Sustainability 101: How Do We Structure An Introductory Course? Chaired by Prof. Tom Schrand of Philadelphia University, the session focuses on the pedagogy and learning objectives of introductory sustainability courses. Fellow participants include:
Our panel discussion, according to our submitted abstract, “brings together five university instructors who have been teaching some version of ‘Intro to Sustainability’ for at least several years. The panelists will share and compare their different approaches to sustainability as an academic discipline, as a practice, and as a set of values. What concepts and ideas are essential, what assignments and activities are effective, what readings and audiovisual materials are engaging, and what outcomes can be achieved? The panel members represent different disciplines, different types of institutions, and different curricular settings. They assess what has worked in their different contexts and what they share in common when they introduce students to education about and for sustainability.”