Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 88.59
Liaison Richard Demerjian
Submission Date Aug. 11, 2021

STARS v2.2

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

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Brenna Biggs
Sustainability Analyst
UCI Office of Sustainability
"---" 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 University of California, Global Climate Leadership Council provided funding to each of the UC campuses to host faculty curriculum workshops for the health sciences. UCI held its first workshop on March 15, 2019; the workshop was titled “Integrating Climate Change and Sustainability Education into Health Sciences Curriculum Across the UC System.” Following the workshop, a total of 24 courses were revised and one course newly created to incorporate climate change and sustainability into their curriculum. During the 2019 – 2020 academic year, it is known that 270 UCI pharmaceutical sciences students benefited from these revised courses. It is unknown exactly how many public health students in total benefited, however, it is anticipated to be a significant amount. The program intends to be ongoing but was put on hiatus due to the pandemic.


Since 2019, the UCI Sustainability Resource Center (SRC) has offered ongoing Facilitation Training to train invited faculty and staff to become better facilitators of discussions which “generate lasting and relevant solutions to the social and environmental challenges they face.” In addition to traditional teaching duties, invited guests included faculty that were interested in becoming involved in sustainable on-campus and community projects, including – but not limited to – EarthReps (https://www.housing.uci.edu/sustainability/earthreps.html), Community Resilience Co-lab (https://communityresilience.uci.edu/co-lab/), and the Housing Sustainability Program (https://housing.uci.edu/sustainability/).

Workshops for the Facilitation Trainings were held on August 1 and August 2, 2019 from 8:30 am – 5:00 pm, on June 22, 24, 29, and July 1, 2020 from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm, and on June 22, 24, 29 and July 1, 8, 2021 from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

Learning outcomes from these facilitation trainings include the following: 1) Understand the distinction between traditional teaching and popular education methodologies, 2) Understand principles of facilitating groups, 3) Identify foundational elements, skills, and roles of effective facilitation, 4) Understand key concepts and tools for assessing and addressing race, power, and privilege, 5) Develop skills to facilitate generative dialog and meaning making, 6) Learn how to design a participatory workshop agenda, 7) Practice the development and co-facilitation of an arts-based tool to generate analysis and action for social and environmental challenges, 8) Develop and facilitate an “Art Code” about a relevant social or environmental issue, and 9) Note skills for in-person facilitation and adaptations for use online.

A positive outcome included the following: one of the faculty attendees of previous trainings reported that attending the trainings enhanced the integration of sustainability into her class (i.e., “Community, Social Justice, and Health Equity Research for Action”). For example, she incorporated a session focused on eliciting dominant narratives and discourse regarding the social, climate, and environmental challenges facing students' communities (both place-based and identity-based). Students were then invited to re-cast those stories from the perspective of their lived experiences and vision for the future.

A link to the 2019 Facilitation Training is found here, for which at least two UCI faculty members attended, in addition to faculty members from other institutions: https://communityresilience.uci.edu/2019-facilitation-training/

A link to the 2020 Facilitation Training is found here: https://sustainability.uci.edu/2020-facilitation-training/

A link to the 2021 Facilitation Training is found here: https://sustainability.uci.edu/2021-facilitation-training/


UCI sponsors the ongoing Energize Colleges program, which addresses community climate, energy, and resource efficiency goals. Energize Colleges includes opportunities for UCI faculty to build the campus’ internship program in the areas of campus energy management, energy justice, and clean energy enterprise. The Energize Colleges program 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.

For more information on the Energize Colleges program at UCI, please visit https://sustainability.uci.edu/energize-colleges/


In the years 2017-2019, there has been a program to develop hybrid (on-line) video courses related to sustainability under the “Bending the Curve” program. Individuals with any of the 10 UC campuses can develop a course related to sustainability. Additionally, in the years 2018-2019, the UC Office of the President has developed a new “Bending the Curve” textbook, using chapters from different faculty conducting sustainability research. Please visit: https://ucnet.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/2020/07/become-a-climate-champion-with-bending-the-curve.html

The UCI Office of Sustainability is supporting a professor and graduate student in the UCI Earth System Science Department to develop an upper-division successor course to UC’s “Bending the Curve” climate solutions course. The education is centered around a curriculum designed to empower a million climate champions across the world to solve the issue of climate change. It draws inspiration from the report “Bending the Curve: 10 Scalable Solutions,” written by 50 University of California academics in natural sciences including engineering, technology, social sciences, and humanities.

The course at UCI is being developed by a professor and graduate student in the Earth System Science department within the UCI School of Physical Sciences. This course will focus on the dynamics of interacting and cascading positive feedback subsystems and the dynamic conditions that could lead to runaway system collapse, unforeseen system chaos, or system behavior that cannot be easily foreseen nor reversed by known interventions.

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


During the workshop, all attendees were provided breakfast and lunch. Attendees also received a folder containing materials and resources, including handouts, notes, and curriculum brainstorming templates. Faculty were also provided small stipends to attend the workshop and help support integration of sustainability into their coursework afterwards.


During the 2019 Facilitation Training, attendees were provided meals throughout both days of training. Each attendee was also granted release time from their supervisors to attend. As 2020 and 2021 Facilitation Trainings were held online, this was not an option. At all three Facilitation Trainings, faculty attendees received valuable materials (e.g., curriculum manual, all handouts, notes, and resources) that help further democratize learning and align facilitation skills with the core values of their organization – in the classroom and in the community.


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.


A professor in the UCI Earth System Science department received financial support ($49,000 USD) to fund a Ph.D. student for a full calendar year starting in Summer 2020 to develop an upper-division climate solutions course incorporating the climate solutions in the UC’s “Bending the Curve” report.

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

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Projects and initiatives currently in progress or conducted within the three years prior to the anticipated date of submission are included.

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.