Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 74.24
Liaison Lindsey Lyons
Submission Date April 30, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Dickinson College
AC-7: Incentives for Developing Courses

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Lindsey Lyons
Assistant Director
Center for Sustainability Education
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Does the institution have an ongoing incentives program or programs that meet the criteria for this credit?:

A brief description of the program(s), including positive outcomes during the previous three years:

Dickinson offers faculty two interdisciplinary study groups to support them in developing new courses or revising existing courses to promote sustainability learning. Valley & Ridge, modeled on the Ponderosa and Piedmont Projects and launched in 2008, brings faculty together from all academic divisions of the college to work together on sustainability teaching projects. V & R has been offered annually, 2008-2015. Members of the year-long study group participate in a 2-1/2 day workshop in May, 1/2 day retreat in August, and other activities over the year. Participants receive a $1000 stipend. Over 59 unique faculty members from 20+ different departments have participated in the annual Valley & Ridge program since 2008.

A second faculty study group was offered through Cooling the Liberal Arts Curriculum, a campaign to infuse interdisciplinary teaching about climate change throughout the curriculum. Dickinson College received a grant from NASA’s Innovations in Global Climate Change Education program in 2010 to implement the program on its campus and to work with partner community colleges to do the same on their campuses. The program, facilitated 2010-2014, included the Changing Planet Study Groups, a year-long faculty study groups that supports interdisciplinary teaching about climate change science, consequences, and solutions. The study group was organized and hosted by Dickinson College but was open to faculty from any college or university.

Other incentive-based study groups of various formats have offered faculty the opportunity to gather across disciplines to study, read, share, peer educate, and work on new curricular initiatives together. Since 2012, faculty study groups, with stipends, have been conducted around the topics of water, Living in a World of Limits, developing a Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship certificate, food studies, Asia and the Environment, and departmental restructuring to include sustainability within introductory courses.

Positive outcomes include new course development and modification of existing courses to support our sustainability across the curriculum initiative, now in 30+/42 departments on campus. Additionally, regional workshops for interdisciplinary teaching about climate change were hosted in 2014 and 2015 with Dickinson's leadership.

A brief description of the incentives that faculty members who participate in the program(s) receive:

Faculty incentives (grants & stipends) for activities that advance sustainability-related learning, scholarship, creativity, and professional development are provided and administered by Dickinson’s Center for Sustainability Education. Our Sustainability Education Fund (SEF), made possible by a grant to Dickinson College from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in 2008 and NASA in 2010, now supported 100% by Dickinson, funds these sustainability-related curriculum development, professional development, and student-faculty research projects for faculty members.

These financial incentives facilitate a better understanding of how to meet the critical needs for present and future generations while improving and sustaining the environmental, social, and economic systems on which they depend. Faculty from any discipline, administrators, and staff are eligible for funding.

Since 2008, the Center for Sustainability Education has funded over $400,000 worth of projects across all divisions of the college (59 faculty stipends for Valley and Ridge, 55 curriculum development grants ($86,000), 12 professional development awards ($18,000), 42 student-faculty research grants ($236,000), and 2 research assistant grants ($5,000).

The website URL where information about the incentive program(s) is available:

The Center for Sustainability Education (CSE) works to connect Dickinson faculty and staff with professional development, curriculum development, and student-faculty research opportunities in sustainability. Providing incentivized workshops, study groups, guest speakers, public lectures, and curriculum consulting for individuals and/or academic departments and offices helps spread our sustainability initiative across the campus and curriculum.

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