Overall Rating Bronze - expired
Overall Score 29.67
Liaison Lynda Koot
Submission Date Sept. 9, 2011
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.1

The King's University
ER-9: Sustainability Learning Outcomes

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.57 / 10.00 Michael Ferber
Director, Environmental Studies
Environmental Studies
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

The number of graduates covered by the sustainability learning outcomes:

Total number of graduates :

A list of degree programs that have sustainability learning outcomes:

The Environmental Studies program, biology, chemistry, business administration,and theology have learning outcomes specifically linked to sustainability.

The website URL where the publicly available sustainability course inventory that includes a list of degree programs that have specified sustainability learning outcomes is available:
A copy of the sustainability course inventory :

A list or sample of the sustainability learning outcomes associated with the degree programs:

Example: Environmental Studies:

The Environmental Studies Program has six core student objectives.

Objective 1: To provide an interdisciplinary, action-oriented, liberal arts and science based university education.

In the university’s Strategic Directions Document it is clear that the university values a pedagogy of “innovation in the foundations aimed at strengthened delivery of faith
integrality (biblical perspective) and interdisciplinarity.” Early in the document it is clearly stated, “We are committed to exploring not only the depths and details of particular disciplines, but also to developing a profound sense of the interrelationships of various fields of study. We view the arts, sciences, and professional studies as complementary and integrative. Learning at King’s reflects our commitment to a deep awareness and practice of interdisciplinarity. Under the Implementing Strategic Priorities section a clear priority is “Program development that incorporates and advances both disciplinary and interdisciplinary programs.” Additionally, point number 2 (Foster initiatives that enhance transformative learning and embody the characteristic features of the University College) point C states, “Enhance our institutional capacity for research and artistic work, building on areas of institutional strength and cultural significance, and fostering interdisciplinary collaboration for service-oriented scholarship.”

In the Environmental Studies Program, the university’s first interdisciplinary program, interdisciplinary perspectives have been developed in two main ways. First, the College’s general education requirements have been adapted for Environmental Studies through Philosophy of the Environment (PHIL 320) and Theology of Creation (THEO 324). These courses provide foundational insight into humanity and nature from a Christian perspective.

Second, interdisciplinary perspectives are developed through a common set of courses in the natural and social sciences. These include introductory biology (BIOL 210 or 211), environmental science (ENVS 300), environmental economics (ECON 315) and public policy (POLI 327). Students who focus on the social aspects of environmental issues (economics, policy, legislation) are also required to develop in some depth a scientific understanding (models, techniques, data analyses) of these issues. Students who focus on the biophysical aspects of environmental issues are required to become conversant with social, economic and political theories and approaches. This integration of the natural and social sciences is a strength of the program.

Explicit historical and literary environmental perspectives have not yet been incorporated into the general education requirements as they have been for theology and philosophy. For example, we have not yet adapted the general education history or English requirements to include free-standing courses in environmental history or nature in literature. Historical and literary environmental perspectives are included in some existing courses (e.g., ENGL 340, 389, HIST 361) but we have not yet developed them as free-standing courses for Environmental Studies or distinct offerings within these disciplines. However, a course in Environmental History will be conducted in the 2011-2012 academic year that may be implemented following this program review.

The program does have an explicit action-oriented or applied component. This is most apparent in the internship, a 13-week (minimum) placement in industry, government or non-government that integrates learning and work responsibility. Some 24 interns have been placed to date (the internship is reviewed in section 4.3). Several courses also link students to real-world problems or issues. For example, students in ENVS 491 (Internship Reflections and Issues) carry out a simulated environmental consulting project for actual clients. King’s Keepers, the campus environmental club, also provides an avenue for students to implement environmental actions and awareness through energy audits, recycling awareness, a “green” chapel and various outings.

Objective 2: To foster the ability to investigate, diagnose and propose solutions to environmental problems that defy simplistic technical solutions.

King’s characteristic features, as identified in the 2010-2015 Strategic Direction Document, emphasize a holistic approach that defies simplistic technical solutions. Characteristic Feature number three states,

“King’s is a university with an eye for the big picture. King’s cultivates delight in learning and a broad curricular perspective that reflects “all things” in their diversity and unity. We explore and connect all areas of learning with openness, joy, and discernment because they provide avenues of insight into marvelous dimensions of creation and stir in us a sense of awe for our Creator.”

Within the Environmental Studies Program the interdisciplinary approach referred to above is supportive of this objective. Students learn various theories and approaches that can help them to understand environmental problems from various perspectives. Particular emphasis is placed on holistic thinking and a systems approach that recognizes inter-relationships among biophysical and social factors.

Objective 3: To model the realities of the work place by using co-operative team approaches which emphasize written and oral communication skills, and which cross disciplinary boundaries.

Use of co-operative teams is standard practice in the laboratory components of biology and chemistry courses at The King’s University College. Group learning is also common in social science courses, particularly at the intermediate and senior levels. The capstone course in Environmental Studies (ENVS 491) devotes about one-third of the course to a team project that simulates environmental consulting, including active participation of “real-world” clients. For this project, problems are intentionally selected for their multi-dimensional nature and team make-up is based on a mix of disciplines that reflect student-chosen majors (concentrations).

The national survey by the Canadian Council on Human Resources in the Environment Industry identified written communication skills as the most commonly identified need for training or upgrading within organizations employing environmental practitioners. Liberal arts education places considerable emphasis on communication, especially writing. Written communication skills are developed particularly in the humanities and social sciences at King’s. Courses in the natural sciences and Environmental Studies have focused on developing oral communication skills through individual and group presentations using a variety of media and styles. Proficiency in written and verbal communication is an expected outcome of program graduates.

Objective 4: To give hands-on work experience through internship placements with the private sector, government and non-government organizations.

A Characteristic Feature of the university as outlined in the 2010 – 2015 Strategic Directions Document asserts, “that students learn deeply through engaging instruction and co-curricular programs. Additionally, an operational priority of the university is to, “Function as a good neighbour and effective partner in various contexts, including relations with the civic community, other academic institutions, international entities, Aboriginal communities, and the business community.”

Evaluations by students and employers indicate that internship placements for Environmental Studies students have been very successful. The integration of work and learning has contributed significantly to a student’s applied knowledge and practical skills, as well as providing valuable work experience and advancing career readiness for the environmental profession.

Objective 5: To develop leadership and problem-solving abilities through completion of independent research projects under the mentorship of faculty members.

A strategic priority of the university is to, “Enhance our institutional capacity for research and artistic work, building on areas of institutional strength and cultural significance, and fostering interdisciplinary collaboration for service-oriented scholarship.”

Independent research projects are carried out in the student’s disciplinary major and supervised by a faculty member. For instance, in senior research projects in Biology or Chemistry (BIOL 496, CHEM 496) students submit a detailed research proposal and present their results in a public seminar. Projects typically combine a review of the scientific literature with investigation in the laboratory or field using analytical techniques. Students with disciplinary majors in the social sciences or humanities typically carry out research projects in a senior seminar. These projects may be conducted independently or as a group, but always under faculty supervision.

Additionally, students work in groups to conduct small research projects in introductory courses including Environmental Science (ENVS 300) and Human Geography (GEOG 310). In 2011 the Human Geography class attended an academic conference where ten students presented posters of their research. This will become an annual event in this course.

Independent research projects are rare in undergraduate programs. Students undertaking these projects develop skills in applied research, analytical thinking, innovative problem-solving and succinct written and oral communication. We have found that these have been particularly helpful to students continuing on to graduate school.

Objective 6: To provide a global perspective throughout the curriculum, including the shared experiences of interns with provincial, national and international placements.

The terms “global” or “globally” are mentioned fourteen times in the 2010 – 2015 Strategic Directions document. In one instance it states, “New and expanded programs, and revision of existing ones, must demonstrate their connection to the foundations, develop meaningful experiential learning opportunities and broaden global/cultural understanding and competencies.”

The integration of a global perspective in Environmental Studies is a strength of the program. This has been accomplished through internationalization of Environmental Studies courses, especially environmental science (ENVS 300), landscapes and human settlements (GEOG 310), environmental impact assessment (ENVS 450) and even geographic information systems (GEOG 350). Perhaps the most concrete evidence of internationalization is the out-of-country internships which include Costa Rica, Tanzania, Niger, Uganda, the Philippines, Belize, Honduras and the United States.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.