The Provost’s Office, the Provost’s Council on Academic Sustainability, and the Drexel Center for Academic Excellence held Drexel’s first Sustainability Across the Curriculum Faculty Workshop in December 2010. This innovative workshop engaged faculty in exploring what sustainability means to them and presented methods to incorporate sustainability into curriculum. Integration of sustainability in courses, regardless of discipline, is an indicator of a university’s commitment to sustainability. Interest in sustainability among faculty and students at Drexel has been growing, and now we are poised to take our academic dedication to sustainability further — directly into existing curriculum. Doing so allows our students greater opportunities to learn about this issue and its importance and interrelationship with other key issues of the day including economics, politics, business, social justice, natural resource utilization, global society, and others.
Through this intensive two-day workshop, complete with presentations, exercises, discussions, reflection, and planning, participating faculty became familiar with the philosophy of curricular development developed through the Ponderosa Project at Northern Arizona University and adapted at Emory in the Piedmont Project. Participants also experienced a range of strategies, heard local experts, engaged in campus-based sustainability-focused activities, and dialogued with colleagues as they gained help in adapting this model to their own curriculum. In a supportive and stimulating environment, workshop members reflected on their own roles in the transformation of higher education. Readings and materials were also provided.
This highly engaging workshop was led by a team of Drexel Faculty, who were trained by Geoffrey Chase of San Diego State University and Peggy Barlett of Emory University, editors of Sustainability on Campus: Stories and Strategies for Change, and facilitators of the Sustainability Across the Curriculum Leadership Workshops which have helped more than 250 faculty around the country take steps toward sustainability-related curriculum innovation in their universities and colleges.