Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 70.01
Liaison Rebecca Walker
Submission Date April 13, 2022

STARS v2.2

Southern Oregon University
IN-49: Innovation C

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 0.50 Rebecca Walker
Sustainability Manager
Facilities, Management, Sustainability and Planning
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Sustainability in the Curriculum

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

Southern Oregon University developed a program on integrating sustainability into the curriculum. The program was initiated in Fall 2019 with the first cohort of faculty “graduating” in Fall 2020. The Southern Oregon Sustainability Curriculum Initiative (SOUSCI) was led by a team of four faculty from the division of Business, Communication, and the Environment (BCE). This focus on sustainability was an ideal vehicle aligning with the broader SOU University Strategic Plan. This program specifically aligns with Strategic Direction II Goal Three: “SOU will integrate sustainability, the environment, and conservation into its curriculum, scholarship, and creative activity.” More broadly, this proposal is in line with Strategic Direction 1 Goal One: “SOU will develop curriculum and provide learning experiences that prepare all learners for life and work in an evolving future; connect directly with the challenges of our community, region, and world; and build self-confidence and the capacity to think critically, innovate boldly, and create lives of purpose.” In addition, BCE programs and faculty are uniquely positioned to provide innovative leadership in sustainability. Sustainability’s “triple bottom line” of environmental, financial and human sustainability aligns precisely with the division programs in the environment, business, and communications, respectively. A cohort of ten faculty from BCE interested in integrating sustainability into their curriculum was identified via a proposal submission. The cohort of faculty attended a one-day workshop, as well as monthly meetings with the cohort, the program facilitators, and guest speakers. Each faculty committed to substantially changing some component of their course’s curriculum and/or pedagogy to incorporate a commitment to sustainability. Faculty integrated sustainability into a variety of courses – from argumentation and critical thinking, operations management, food, and beverage management, to film theory and practice and management information systems, to name a few.

While environmental aspects of sustainability are often the focus in sustainability (courses), we must also prepare students to be leaders in equity, diversity, and inclusion. Hence, as educators, we have the opportunity and responsibility to address social topics from the sustainability agenda, including but not limited to human rights, quality of life, health and safety, empowerment, community engagement, gender equality, access to education, children and family wellbeing, and many more. Thus, in the academic year 2020-2021, the second cohort of SOUSCI was launched with a focus on social aspects of sustainability (or Equity Diversity and Inclusion - EDI). The cohort had ten participants from the BCE division in total (including the three faculty leaders – Pavlina McGrady, Alena Ruggerio, and Previous Yamaguchi). The cohort of faculty attended a one-day virtual workshop, as well as monthly meetings with the cohort and the program facilitators. Each faculty had once again committed to substantially change some component of their course’s curriculum such as a new assignment, module, or syllabus to incorporate a commitment to EDI-focused sustainability. Some of the courses where EDI changes are integrated include Public Speaking, International Financial Management, Marketing, Land Use Planning, and Environmental Field Methods, among others.

The SOUSCI focused on integrating environmental aspects of sustainability in the 2019-2020 academic year and social aspects (equity, diversity, and inclusion) in the 2020-2021 academic year, respectively. Thus, to “close” the triple bottom line framework, the SOUSCI is continuing with integrating sustainability into the curriculum with a focus on economic aspects of sustainability in the 2021-2022 academic year.. The program is led by a team of two faculty members. A cohort of seven additional faculty from SOU, interested in integrating sustainability into their curriculum, were identified via a proposal submission. The cohort of faculty will attend the one-day workshop in December 2021, as well as monthly meetings with the cohort and the program facilitators. The faculty, programs, and students benefited greatly from this work, and are well-positioned as a resource for the broader University community.


A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :
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The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

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