Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 73.13
Liaison Bridget Flynn
Submission Date March 9, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Oberlin College
AC-7: Incentives for Developing Courses

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Bridget Flynn
Sustainability Coordinator
Office of Environmental Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have an ongoing incentives program or programs that meet the criteria for this credit?:
Yes

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

Oberlin College has a Curriculum Development Fellowship opportunity for continuing faculty members interested in working in the area of curriculum development (new courses or new approaches to existing courses), pedagogical development, or “connective” curriculum and pedagogy endeavors. These fellowships are competitive. While the curricular area for development is open, proposals to develop sustainability courses are welcome.

The Fellowship provides reassigned time (course release) from teaching for one, two, or three courses. Additionally, faculty may be awarded a budget of up to $2,000.

Oberlin College's research fund programs, which are awarded competitively, can be used to fund sustainability research projects. The most significant faculty research funding opportunity is Research Status. Research status awards are made by the President acting on the advice of the divisional faculty councils. The faculty councils give their advice based on the evaluation of the merit of the proposals by the Research and Development Committee. Faculty members may be placed on Research Status for up to one year. They are relieved of all regular teaching duties and committee work for the term of the award. The primary criterion to be used in making Research Status appointments is the quality of the proposed scholarly work. Additional criteria include the proven ability to bring a substantial scholarly or artistic project to conclusion, the value of the proposed project to the applicant's professional development, and the feasibility of the project and the likelihood of achievement of the proposed outcome within the time available.

Faculty may also apply for student research assistants, either for summer research or for research assistance during the academic year. Awards are competitive. The projects are selected based on the quality of the faculty research proposal, but the projects should also meet the intellectual needs of the student assistants.

As for faculty curriculum develop specifically for sustainability, in 2014, Oberlin College was awarded a grant by the Luce Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment (LIASE) to create greater interdisciplinary curricula and programs.

Grant-related activities will take place over the course of the 2014-2015 Academic Year. They include: faculty development seminars, competitive curriculum-exploration grants for faculty to add new content on Asia and the environment to current courses, and two pilot study trips in Asia – one to China, one to Japan – for faculty and students.


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

Oberlin will host a series of two-day presentations and faculty development seminars in the 2014-2015 academic year.

Presentations will take place on Fridays and will be open to the public. All members of the Oberlin community are encouraged to attend. Guests from the United States and partner universities in Asia will present.

Faculty development seminars will take place on Saturdays and will have limited space. Oberlin faculty are encouraged to register and participate. Upper-level students may contact seminar facilitators to request permission to participate. Guests from the United States and partner universities in Asia will present. Members of the Oberlin faculty will serve as facilitators.

November saw the first events through Oberlin’s “Luce Initiative on Asia and the Environment” (LIASE) grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, which seeks to strengthen curricular offerings and student learning at the intersection of the study of Asia and the environment. On Friday, November 7, approximately 70 people attended a public lecture – “Is the Rapid Reconstruction after the 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake an Example of Resilience?” – given by Rob Olshanksy, Professor and Head of Urban Planning at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The audience included students, faculty from a range of departments, and about 15 parents who were on campus for Parents Weekend. On Saturday November 8, 17 people participated in a faculty development workshop on "Resilience to Natural Disasters: A Case Study of the 2008 Wenchuan, China, Earthquake." Participants included faculty from East Asian Studies, Environmental Studies, Geology, History, and Religion, as well as two Environmental Studies majors serving as LIASE assistants. The workshop was facilitated by Professor of Geology and Associate Dean of Arts and Science Steven Wojtal and Assistant Professor of Geology Amanda Schmidt, with presentations by Professor Rob Olshansky and David Greene, Associate Professor of Geology at Dennison University.

Three additional LIASE faculty-development workshops will be held in spring 2015, on "Art to Survive Disasters By," "Papermaking in Asia as Sustainable Practice," and "Sustainable Energy and Environmental NGOs in China." Oberlin faculty who participate in the LIASE faculty-development workshops will be eligible to apply for summer 2015 curriculum-development grants to incorporate new content on Asia and the environment in their courses.

In addition, the first LIASE study tour – "Environment and Environmental NGOs in China" – will take place during Winter Term 2015, led by Associate Professor of Chinese Qiusha Ma, Professor of Geology and Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences Steven Wojtal, Associate Professor of History and East Asian Studies David Kelly, and Professor of Geology Dennis Hubbard. The six students joining the trip include two first-year and four second-year students. Four are likely EAS majors, one is a likely ENVS major, and one intends to double major in EAS and ENVS. Through meetings with NGOs and environmental scholars, site visits, and cultural activities in Beijing, Chengdu, and Taigu, the study tour will enable students and faculty to explore firsthand the connections between Asian studies and environmental studies. Through the Mellon Foundation grant Oberlin Center for Language and Cultures (OCLC) is helping support the faculty-development workshops, faculty travel for the study tours, and funds for curriculum development grants.

See webpage for more about the faculty development seminars, research opportunities, available grant funding, and other offerings.


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

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