Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 68.85
Liaison Kelly Wellman
Submission Date Dec. 11, 2020

STARS v2.2

Texas A&M University
AC-7: Incentives for Developing Courses

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Kelly Wellman
Sustainability Director
Office of Sustainability & Campus Enrichment
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have an ongoing program that offers incentives for academic staff in multiple disciplines or departments to develop new sustainability courses and/or incorporate sustainability into existing courses? :

A brief description of the incentive program(s):

The Office of Sustainability is a partner of the Service-Learning Faculty Fellows Program (SLFF). Texas A&M considers service-learning as a form of experiential education in which students engage in activities that address human and community needs together with structured opportunities for reflection designed to promote student learning and development. The SLFF is a faculty development program and fellows undertake a service-learning related project during the year. Preference is given to project ideas and/or courses that can creatively address issues related to food security or sustainability.

One example service-learning project involved the addition of Monarch butterflies into ENTO 322 Insects in Human Society, which is a core curriculum class impacting 1200 students. The student-learning project includes students working on preparing habitats, planting native species, native species seed production, managing existing habitats, providing community education and awareness, as well as surveying the Monarch Butterfly populations over time.

A second example project is the "Bryan Heritage Project" which provides students taking ARCH 206- Architecture Design II and ARCH 646 - History and Theory of Preservation with hands-on experience interacting with property owners (which equates to clients in the real world) and assess their historical resources via a combination of manual and digital documentation tools. Students taking this course gain practice working in teams and feel more connected to their immediate surroundings by learning more about local history. Additionally, by appreciating the importance of saving existing buildings they learn key concepts in social and environmental sustainability, durability and resilience. There are a number of towns and communities in Texas that have initiated a concerted effort over the last few decades to preserve their shared built heritage. Preserving buildings and neighborhoods goes way beyond aesthetics- rather it provides us with a unique cultural identity, supports local businesses and brings about economic revitalization. Many have posited that the ‘greenest’ building is the one already there- preserving whole structures counters an ethic where everything from bottles to buildings are disposable. The city of Bryan has, in particular, capitalized on its built heritage to create a more vibrant downtown, promote local economy and prevent blight. By partnering with local groups that are trying hard to further this mission, the proposed project will provide much needed assistance to the residents of Bryan.

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

Faculty participants benefit from a $2,500 fellowship award that can be used for activities such as professional development, course development, research, and implementation costs that could include curriculum materials, shared materials for community partners, and course or project-related travel. Additionally, fellows benefit from the year long development activities designed to 1) Establish a core group of campus leaders knowledgeable about and engaged in serve-learning pedagogy 2) Increase familiarity and exposure to service-learning theory and current research and 3) Develop interdisciplinary service-learning projects through conversations and collaboration with faculty from other disciplines.

Website URL where information about the incentives for developing sustainability course content is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:
Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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