Overall Rating Platinum - expired
Overall Score 86.82
Liaison Richard Demerjian
Submission Date March 28, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of California, Irvine
AC-7: Incentives for Developing Courses

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Jessica Debats Garrison
Administrating Director
UCI Environment Collaboration
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

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

A brief description of the program(s), including positive outcomes during the previous three years (e.g. descriptions of new courses or course content resulting from the program):

UCI implements an ongoing program to support sustainability coursework development. This initiative began in 2015 in coordination with the UC Global Climate Leadership Council’s Faculty Engagement and Education Working Group (FEEWG), which UCI co-chaired from 2014-2017, to provide support and incentives for faculty to develop sustainability coursework. The overall goal of this curriculum program is to boost climate change and sustainability education, especially targeting those students for whom climate and sustainability may not be a focus. UCI and FEEWG have implemented projects and programs including skills-sharing workshops, financial incentives, and other support to encourage curriculum development.

UCI-hosted workshops focused on training faculty to incorporate sustainability into courses, including those in fields not typically associated with environmental studies. For example, in April 2016, UCI hosted the ”Teaching Climate and Sustainability” Workshop to discuss how they could incorporate climate and sustainability into their courses. The workshop aimed to engage, inspire, and support faculty members from many different disciplines who are interested in voluntarily infusing relevant climate change and/or sustainability concepts into their existing courses. The workshop was attended by twenty faculty members from ten different campus departments.

A subsequent UCI event, "Enhancing Climate and Sustainability Education Across the Curriculum," was held in November 2016. During this event, faculty who participated in the Teaching Climate and Sustainability Workshop presented their revised course materials (including syllabi and sample lectures, in-class exercises, and assignments) to an audience of faculty, postdocs, and graduate students. Attendees learned about ways to incorporate climate change and sustainability into courses via idea-sharing, discussion, and networking. Many participants expressed that sustainability is an excellent way to "shake up the field" by pushing the traditional boundaries of what are considered environmental fields.

Building from these foundational curriculum development incentive workshops, in Summer and Fall 2017, UC medical school faculty members worked through FEEWG to create a parallel sustainability and climate curriculum development incentive workshop series, which includes training and incentives to UCI faculty members.

In addition, UCI sponsors the ongoing Energize Colleges program, which includes financial and training support to UCI faculty members to create new courses or course modules on topics in sustainable energy from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. The education component of the program focuses on diffusing energy efficiency (EE), distributed generation (DG), and demand response (DR) concepts within core curricula for accredited degree, certificate or pre-apprenticeship programs in energy-related fields. In addition, the program offers implementation support, assistance in integrating project-based learning experiences into existing courses, curriculum design services, instructional planning, co-instruction, existing curriculum, curriculum adaptation and development support, and train-the-trainer workshops.

In 2017, the UCI Community Resilience Projects started training UC faculty and staff on how to teach students in a co-curricular educational setting about community climate resilience leadership. This training will continue to be offered annually to UC campuses. The trainers’ training program invites the University of California (UC) community to scale the Student Institute for Sustainability Leadership (SISL) Level 1 program across all ten campuses, in collaboration with the goals of the Student Engagement working group of the UC President’s Global Climate Leadership Council. The trainers’ training prepares a core group of interested faculty and staff from each UC to conduct one full cycle of SISL Level 1 courses on their campus in 2018-19.

Positive outcomes resulting from this initiative include new sustainability courses and content in several academic disciplines including biological sciences, arts, engineering, business, and social ecology. For example, faculty members in the arts have been working to create a culture of sustainability both in the classroom and within the university community including sustainability content in studio art classes that traditionally did not address these topics. To do this, instructors created workshops in which students collaborate on green designs. Other faculty members have used sustainability as a way to engage English as a Second Language (ESL) students on environmental issues in the United States in order to broaden both their linguistic and cultural horizons.

More information can be found here:

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

Implementation of UCI’s sustainability coursework initiative in collaborations with FEWG includes incentives and support for faculty including financial awards, institution-funded program and content support, and graduate student support. UCI faculty members received a $1,000 award to assist in sustainability course development through participation in the 2016 Teaching Climate and Sustainability Workshop. Faculty members received an additional $200 award to support content development through participating in the subsequent 2016 "Enhancing Climate and Sustainability Education Across the Curriculum".

Through Energize Colleges, faculty are eligible for a variety of support services, including faculty grants up to $5,000 to help cover the costs of instructional materials, field and lab experiences, and faculty time dedicated to enhancing existing and creating new courses, degrees and certificates related to sustainability.

Trainees for climate resilience teachings receive a curriculum manual and all handouts, notes, and resources required to run SISL on their campus. Seed funds and stipends to conduct one SISL pilot will be provided to each UC campus from which two faculty and/or professional staff members complete the trainers’ training.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

UC Faculty Lead the Shift in Sustainability Education

Enhancing Climate and Sustainability Education Across the Curriculum – Faculty Networking Event

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