To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

How an entry-level, interdisciplinary sustainability course revealed the benefits and challenges of a university-wide initiative for sustainability education

Nicholas C Coops (Faculty of Forestry/UBC Sustainability Initiative (USI) Teaching, Learning & Research office, Vancouver BC, Canada.)
Jean Marcus (UBC Sustainability Initiative (USI) Teaching, Learning & Research office, Vancouver BC, Canada.)
Ileana Construt (UBC Sustainability Initiative (USI) Teaching, Learning & Research office, Vancouver BC, Canada.)
Erica Frank (Faculty of Medicine, UBC, Vancouver BC, Canada.)
Ron Kellett (Architecture and Landscape Architecture. UBC, Vancouver BC, Canada.)
Eric Mazzi (Faculty of Applied Science, UBC, Vancouver BC, Canada.)
Alison Munro (UBC Sustainability Initiative (USI) Teaching, Learning & Research office, Vancouver BC, Canada.)
Susan Nesbit (Faculty of Applied Science, UBC, Vancouver BC, Canada.)
Andrew Riseman (Faculty of Land and Food Systems, UBC, Vancouver BC, Canada.)
John Robinson (UBC Sustainability Initiative, Vancouver BC, Canada.)
Anneliese Schultz (Faculty of Arts, UBC, Vancouver BC, Canada.)
Yona Sipos (UBC Sustainability Initiative (USI) Teaching, Learning & Research office, Vancouver BC, Canada.)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 7 September 2015

Abstract

Purpose

Delivery of sustainability-related curriculum to undergraduate students can be problematic due to the traditional “siloing” of curriculum by faculties along disciplinary lines. In addition, while there is often a ready availability of courses focused on sustainability issues in the later years of students’ programs, few early entry-level courses focused on sustainability, broad enough to apply to all disciplines, are available to students in the first year of their program.

Design/methodology/approach

In this paper, we describe the development, and preliminary implementation, of an entry-level, interdisciplinary sustainability course. To do so, the authors describe the development of a university-wide initiative designed to bridge units on campus working and teaching in sustainability areas, and to promote and support sustainability curriculum development.

Findings

The authors describe the conceptual framework for organising course content and delivery. The authors conclude with an informal assessment of the successes and challenges, and offer learning activities, student assessments and course administration recommendations for consideration when developing courses with similar learning goals.

Originality/value

The positive and negative experiences gained through developing and offering a course of this nature, in a large research-focused university, offers knew insights into potential barriers for implementing first-year cross-cutting sustainability curriculum.

Keywords

Citation

Coops, N.C., Marcus, J., Construt, I., Frank, E., Kellett, R., Mazzi, E., Munro, A., Nesbit, S., Riseman, A., Robinson, J., Schultz, A. and Sipos, Y. (2015), "How an entry-level, interdisciplinary sustainability course revealed the benefits and challenges of a university-wide initiative for sustainability education", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 16 No. 5, pp. 729-747. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-04-2014-0059

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited