Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 84.41
Liaison Patrick McKee
Submission Date March 26, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Connecticut
AC-7: Incentives for Developing Courses

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Richard Miller
Director
Ofice of Environmental Policy
"---" 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?:
Yes

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):

Environmental Literacy Workgroup and Green Campus Academic Network

With approximately 23,000 students located at the UConn Storrs campus, the University of Connecticut is aware more than ever of its impact on the local environment and has therefore increased its efforts to educate students, faculty, and staff regarding their daily impact upon important natural resources.

To further these efforts, the Environmental Literacy Workgroup identifies areas of improvement in environmental awareness and education, and helps advertise and promote environmental leadership, engagement and outreach throughout the UConn community. The efforts have helped establish and enhance many academic programs and courses around the concepts of the Campus as a Living Laboratory and experiential learning projects and activities.

The Env Literacy Workgroup was instrumental in instigating the creation of UConn's Env Studies B.A. degree program in 2012-13. In turn, this has resulted in many new courses throughout the social sciences and humanities disciplines. One such study abroad program begun in 2016-17 is Asst. Geography Professor Carol Atkinson-Palombo's Amsterdam/Sustainable Cities three-week module:
https://geography.uconn.edu/2017/11/07/geography-professor-to-lead-sustainable-amsterdam-study-abroad-in-summer-2018/

In 2016-17 UConn announced two new sustainability-related degree programs: a Masters in Energy and Environmental Management and an LLM in Energy & Environmental Law.

As a point of emphasis in recent years, the OEP has also reached out to newer, non-tenured and non-tenure track faculty to form the Green Campus Academic Network (GCAN). GCAN has the purpose of raising awareness among interested faculty members about opportunities for engagement in campus sustainability activities and events, and collaboration on experiential learning projects and research opportunities, which might help them achieve tenure or enhance their sustainability-related courses. http://ecohusky.uconn.edu/green-campus-academic-network/

One such course is ENVE 1000 (Env Engineering 1000), an interdisciplinary course in Environmental Sustainability. Beginning in the 2016-17 academic year, Asst. ENVE Professor Christine Kirchoff, a GCAN member, structured this popular course around Campus as a Living Laboratory principles and experiential learning.

Asst. Engineering Professor Kristina Wagstrom, a GCAN member, has also enhanced her course content by installing local air monitoring stations around campus. These installations were funded in part by UConn's Campus Sustainability Fund as a result of GCAN-based collaboration.
https://cace.lab.uconn.edu/

Another important student engagement and experiential learning program that emerged from GCAN is the UConn@COP program. In 2016 and 2017, UConn cohorts comprised of 12 -14 undergraduate students, four faculty members and two OEP sustainability staff members travelled to Morocco and Germany to participate in the UN's annual Climate Summit and Conference of the Parties. While UConn@COP is primarily a student engagement and climate leadership development program, the experience results in several for-credit independent study opportunities for the participants. During the past year, UConn@COP has also hosted two poster sessions called the "Climate Change Café." Led by the students from each cohort, this has been a sponsored Honors Program event and extra credit opportunity for students in many sustainability related classes, who attend the café and write reflections about what they have learned and observed from the UConn@COP teams.

The Environmental Literacy Workgroup and its Climate Adaptation Task Force also helped inspire the creation of UConn's Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaption in 2014, in partnership with state and federal agencies, like EPA, NOAA and the CT DEEP. CIRCA incentivizes interdisciplinary faculty involvement by providing a platform for sponsored and applied research, and experiential learning, through numerous community-based resilience programs and activities. In recent years, these programs have included the following:

https://research.uconn.edu/2017/08/10/uconn-circa-grant-to-city-of-hartford-launches-sustainability-office-and-citys-first-climate-action-plan/
http://events.uconn.edu/event/56933/2017-10-19

Finally, In February 2018, the University Senate approved an Environmental Literacy General Education Requirement, which will require students to take at least one sustainability related course during their education at UConn. Having this requirement will incentivize professors to add sustainability components to their principle coursework, and to offer more sustainability related courses in general.
http://dailycampus.com/stories/2018/2/6/uconn-senate-passes-environmental-general-education-requirement


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

Sustainability, climate change and related issues of the environment, public health and social justice are all important components of UConn's Academic Plan, providing institutional support and resource allocation that is targeted towards the development of academic initiatives related to sustainability.

The Environmental Literacy Workgroup and GCAN, as well as spin-off task forces and programs, like UConn@COP, and even subsequent Centers and Institutes, incentivize interdisciplinary faculty involvement by providing a platform for sponsored and applied research and for experiential learning, through numerous community-based programs and activities (see above).

Finally, in February 2018, the University Senate approved an Environmental Literacy General Education Requirement, which will require students to take at least one sustainability related course during their education at UConn. Having this requirement will incentivize professors to add sustainability components to their principle coursework, and to offer more sustainability related courses in general.

http://dailycampus.com/stories/2018/2/6/uconn-senate-passes-environmental-general-education-requirement


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