Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 70.35
Liaison Mo Lovegreen
Submission Date March 2, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

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

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Katie Maynard
Sustainability Coordinator
Geography & Sustainability
"---" 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):

"Turning over a New Leaf: Greening Your Course": Mini-Grant Program for Faculty Infusing Sustainability Into Curriculum

The goal of the New Leaf Grant Program is to catalyze the infusion of sustainability in courses across disciplines at UCSB. Those applying may consider integrating sustainability by asking students to:

• Explain the connections between their chosen course of study and sustainability.
• Identify one or more serious environmental problems and examine its underlying causes and possible consequences.
• Explore the conceptual foundations of our environmental attitudes, values, and challenges from a variety of cultural perspectives.
• Examine humanity’s role as the planet’s ecologically dominant species and how that affects the continuing viability of habitats for life on Earth.
• Demonstrate the interconnectedness of environmental, economic, and social systems.
• Investigate how our relationship to the natural world has been shaped historically, politically, and/or economically.
• Examine the controversies surrounding questions of values and ethics as they relate to creating a sustainable future.
• Utilize tools to effectively communicate issues related to sustainability.

Successful proposals to infuse sustainability into undergraduate courses will encompass one or more of the following:

•Service learning experiences that make use of the university or local community as a “living laboratory”: There are ample demonstration sites (solar panels, bioswales-biological filtration for stormwater, organic gardens, and farms, etc.) which could be used as teaching tools in existing academic courses. With each of these locations, there are opportunities to invite campus staff and community members to serve as guest lecturers or mentors for student projects.
•Opportunities for the broader campus or community to learn from student research/projects: Class assignments/projects that are structured such that they can be shared with a larger audience, by students, instructors, or both.
•Community building: Provides an opportunity for community outreach or community building around environmental issues.
•Demonstrated Learning Outcomes: Student learning of sustainability is measured/ demonstrated.
•Interdisciplinary: Collaborative projects which involve faculty and/or students from different disciplines to explore cross-cutting themes, such as environmental justice, human food systems, and scarcity of natural resources (water, air, soil, etc.).

Past grant awardees include faculty members from a wide range of departments such as Education, Art, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Chicana/o Studies, Religious Studies, Sociology, and Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology. Seven applicants received funding from the New Leaf Grant Program for the 2017-2018 school year. The following are a few recent examples of positive outcomes:

Gabriel Menard (2017-2018)
$500 was given to Professor Menard in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department to modify the course “Selected Topics in Inorganic Chemistry” to have an emphasis on sustainable chemistry. Course topics now include: the effects of pollutants on the ozone layer, the emission of greenhouse gases and climate change, processes involved in photochemical smog production, energy production from fossil fuels and renewables, and green and sustainable chemistry practices for the improved production of our everyday consumables.

Mary Betsy Brenner (2017-2018)
$500 was awarded to Professor Brenner in the Education Department to incorporate the topic of environmental justice into her course “Research on Teaching and Learning in Sociocultural Contexts.” The course will include in-class group work where students can discuss and plan activities to engage with youth in community settings. The focal topic will be environmental justice; there will be a series of readings to acquaint the students with environmental justice (as opposed to more general environmentalism), the types of environmental injustices or hazards that are most pertinent to our local communities, and ideas about what kinds of actions youth can take within their own communities.

Don Lubach (2017-2018)
$500 was given to Associate Dean of Students Lubach to integrate sustainability awareness into the Education course “Introduction to the Research University: Transfer Student Success.” All of the course’s sections (in the form of 7 tours around the campus) will take place outdoors. One of the tours will focus specifically on the natural features and sustainability of UCSB’s campus, including its unique geography and the opportunities for students to become stewards of our environment. Another tour will focus on making better food choices, as well as financial decisions to help students with economic stability.

John Foran (2014-15)
$3,147 was awarded to Professor Foran to incorporate sustainability awareness into the following Sociology Department classes: SOC 134CJ ("Climate Justice"), SOC 134EC ("Earth in Crisis"), SOC 134A ("Activism"), and SOC 130SD ("Sustainable Development”). The courses now include a sustainability module in the form of a film and supplemental teaching materials to further discussion. The film explores the climate crisis faced by human society. It also focuses on a global social movement composed of youth from around the world who are devoted to working on the issue in a variety of ways, including movement organizing, dissemination of information, and direct pressure on the national delegations.

Additionally, the UC Office of the President’s (UCOP’s) Carbon Neutrality Initiative provided funding to the UC’s to support promotion of sustainability and carbon neutrality. UCSB used some of this funding to hold two events, “The Faculty Curriculum Workshop and Networking Events” and “Increasing Student Engagement by Infusing Sustainability into Coursework”.

"The Faculty Curriculum Workshop and Networking Events"

In spring and fall of 2016, UCSB implemented The Faculty Curriculum Workshop and Networking Events which served to engage, inspire and support faculty members across disciplines who were interested in infusing relevant climate change and/or sustainability concepts into their courses. This curriculum program was established by the Faculty Engagement and Education working group of UCOP's Global Climate Leadership Council with the overall goal of boosting climate change/sustainability education on each UC campus. Special consideration was given to faculty from disciplines where sustainability may not be a large focus.

The program consisted of three parts to ensure proper dialogue with faculty and infusion of climate change/sustainability into courses. The first part was a workshop, which was planned and led by two faculty members and involved about 20 faculty participants. The workshop encouraged dialogue about climate change/sustainability concepts, campus and UC goals, provided examples of transformed courses, and helped brainstorm how courses could be revised. After the workshop, faculty were given 3-6 months and up to $1200 in support to revise their course in any number of ways to help incorporate climate change and sustainability into the UC educational experience. Lastly, the two co-leaders of the program on each UC campus created a follow-up Faculty Networking Event open to all faculty, which showcased the workshop participants' revised courses and developed further faculty interest in this type of curriculum development.

“Increasing Student Engagement by Infusing Sustainability into Coursework”

In order to maintain the momentum generated from the aforementioned spring and fall 2016 workshops, UCSB Sustainability used the remaining funding from the same UCOP Carbon Neutrality Initiative allotment to host a related event entitled “Increasing Student Engagement by Infusing Sustainability into Coursework” during December 2017. Four UCSB faculty members gave short presentations in which they highlighted the innovative strategies they used to incorporate sustainability in the courses they teach. These speakers come from a variety of disciplines and included: Professor Krintz (Computer Science), Professor Carvalho (Geography), Professor Foran (Sociology), and Professor Briccetti (Art, Creative Studies). The expert panel provided unique ideas and best practices that can be integrated into the courses of other event attendees, as well as answered questions from the academic audience.

At this event, UCSB Sustainability also highlighted current initiatives to make our campus more sustainable, resources to support faculty in adapting their courses, and potential field trip locations and/or sustainability features on campus. UCSB Sustainability hopes to inspire more faculty to integrate sustainability into their curriculum and create a dialogue between motivated academics across campus. Students were also welcome to attend the event.

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

The New Leaf Grant Program offers a one-time award of up to $500 which is provided through funding from the Academic Senate Sustainability Work Group.

The first Faculty Curriculum Workshop in Spring 2016 provided $1,000 of funding to each professor for individual course revisions. After presenting evidence of course revisions and participating in the Networking Event in fall 2016, faculty were awarded an additional $200 in compensation. The funding from these two events totaled $1,200.

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

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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.