|Liaison||Dedee DeLongpre Johnston|
|Submission Date||June 3, 2015|
Wake Forest University
AC-2: Learning Outcomes
Chief Sustainability Officer
Office of Sustainability
Number of students who graduated from a program that has adopted at least one sustainability learning outcome:
Total number of graduates from degree programs:
A copy of the list or inventory of degree, diploma or certificate programs that have sustainability learning outcomes:
A list of degree, diploma or certificate programs that have sustainability learning outcomes:
Environmental Science Minor
Environmental Studies Minor
Graduate Certificate in Sustainability
A list or sample of the sustainability learning outcomes associated with degree, diploma or certificate programs (if not included in an inventory above):
1. Developing habits of mind through systems thinking and definitions of macro trends ;
a. Build a deep expertise in the core principles of sustainability and the ability to incorporate these principles into managerial analysis related to organizational strategy, problem solving and planning. Learn to make decisions that integrate economic, environmental, and social outcomes;
b. Learn the critical role that the Humanities and Social Sciences play in sustainability as a broad disciplinary realm that embraces interdisciplinary views and examines norms and behaviors. Case studies and narratives teach us about values and beliefs, enabling critical assessment and providing important insights into our shortcomings and encouraging the establishment of transformative practices;
c. Master an understanding of the role that trans-disciplinarity and interdisciplinarity plays in building core competencies;
d. Think within and beyond disciplinary boundaries using systems and interdisciplinary concepts and theories to develop sustainable outcomes;
e. Apply knowledge in challenging circumstances through a conceptual understanding of the interrelatedness of disciplines.
2. Normative: definitions of what should be to create sustainable outcomes;
a. Learn to identify, analyze and decide on the legal implications of sustainable practices, such as energy management, carbon reduction and sustainable supply chain management;
b. Identify public health connections to sustainability and engage in practices that reflect public health principles and priorities;
c. Explain the basics of heat transfer, biophysics, and energy balance ;
d. Gain the capacity to apply the core principles of sustainability to resource management decisions and the capability to determine the socioeconomic consequences of such decisions. Students will be able to apply systems thinking to craft creative solutions to problems.
3. Analytical: calculate and evaluate resource stocks and flows; ability to process data and critically review scientific journals.
a. Develop an understanding of the basic concepts of chemistry, ecology, biology, geology, climatology, oceanography, and physics as relevant to understanding how we use traditional and alternative technologies to produce and store energy, and to manage various natural resources. This understanding will allow students to evaluate current energy and environmental policies and permit students to better incorporate sustainability into policy-making decisions ;
b. Gain a working understanding of the earth system and human effects on it, and the ability to analyze human and biotic effects of climate change ;
c. Employ the fundamentals of probability and statistics to make decisions;
d. Define risks and how to manage these risks ;
e. Complete a cost-benefit analysis, effective modeling, and a feasibility analysis of a specific sustainability-related business venture, technology or policy;
f. Critically analyze and question knowledge claims in this specialized disciplinary realm ;
g. Develop the tools to integrate research at the macro level in environmental studies with disciplinary practices including those in human health, urban design and the built environment, and agriculture.
4. Imaginative and forward thinking: developing visions for sustainable futures including creative design and modeling .
a. Develop anticipatory competencies and be able to use forecasting, scenarios, modeling of human and biotic systems and backcasting;
b. Use basics of thermodynamics, the science of energy, global ecosystems, and the basics of ecology to suggest new public policy, new technologies, and solutions to environmental challenges ;
c. Compare and contrast organizational forms, collaborative structures, societies, communities and cultures, including local examples, to better understand the role that these frameworks play in constructing our world ;
d. Develop core knowledge of design principles that firm our existing built environment, urban planning and transportation systems, and products and services, and that enable us to change our built environment or products and services ;
e. Adapt and create innovations to solve problems, to cope with unforeseen events, and to manage in unpredictable environments .
5. Reflective and critical thinking: Learning from our past practices and histories as we re-think future behavior and practices; ability to challenge assumptions.
a. Think globally, regionally, and locally, recognizing the interdependence of species on our planet and the need to preserve and nurture biodiversity and environmental health ;
b. Develop a positive and hopeful vision for just and sustainable societies and have the propensity to work toward achieving that vision;
c. Demonstrate knowledge of how human interactions with nature changes over time;
d. Develop an understanding of sustainable food practices and the relationships between our access to natural resources, our ecosystem and food chain, our changing climates and their impact on our ecosystems, and our consumption patterns;
e. Learn to recognize the role that human beings and human values play in constructing our existing world, in developing and consuming resources, and in reinforcing cultural and social practices. In pursuit of gaining a deeper understanding of these practices, articulate the key questions to ask in examining assumptions, norms, beliefs, behaviors and practices that guide existing approaches to human relationships to our environment, and develop the critical means to explore ways to effectively change these behaviors and practices ;
f. Draw from history in constructing development models that integrate an understanding of the past and present, and that link to alternative futures ;
g. Obtain a sense of place and its natural, cultural and social history, and apply this knowledge to the unique challenges of living in a specific place. Evaluate sustainability issues from a local perspective that draw on deep analysis of the local within the context of regional and global approaches to sustainability.
h. Conduct research that draws from a sense of place and local culture;
i. Critically analyze and question knowledge claims in the sustainability disciplines, and develop the critical skills to differentiate irrefutable scientific facts from political punditry.
6. Communication – written and oral; ability to explain future possibilities;
a. Articulate a sense of responsibility to practice environmental sustainability in one’s daily life and to embrace self-transformation;
b. Articulate the basics of environmental ethics and employ tools to understand moral arguments and examine ways to ensure practices that further social justice, equity and accessibility ;
c. Offer critically supported and well conceptualized perspectives on contemporary contested issues, e.g., on globalization impacts, climate change , forms of alternative energy, and water scarcity;
d. Articulate the core language, challenges and solutions for resource and energy use, ecosystems, and sustainability;
e. Compare and contrast various environmental discourses critical to organizational challenges, and develop competencies that are built on an understanding of the power of discourse and rhetoric ;
f. Identify and utilize the power of environmental representations in the arts, literature, science, religion, and politics.
g. Communicate with multiple audiences and across different interests.
7. Strategic – abilities to make organizational decisions leading to competitive advantage and achieve organizational outcomes;
a. Learn how an organization can use environmental sustainability principles and practices to increase its competitiveness and to engage in socially responsible environmental practices;
b. Use techniques to analyze external and internal factors impacting organizations;
c. Identify human biases in decision making and devise ways to avoid or modify these biases .
d. Identify the impacts of anthropogenic forces.
8. Leadership for small- and large-scale change management;
a. Pursue a deeper understanding of our roles and responsibilities, and become committed to being change agents in a society that requires forward-thinking, innovative solutions to contemporary environmental and social challenges.
b. Create an institutional culture conducive to an entrepreneurial and a social entrepreneurial spirit, encouraging both innovation and positive social change;
c. Develop leadership skills in addressing challenges in environmental intervention and support, including strategic capabilities to evaluate challenges, knowledge of mechanisms of social change, project management skills, and tactics for motivating and coordinating people.
9. Interpersonal skills to influence and work with others including team-based skills.
10. Engagement oriented—reaching out to communities.
a. Learn to function knowledgeably, efficiently and pragmatically in sustainability-related organizations including educational settings, non-profit institutions and private companies and the ability to apply the core principles of sustainability to the operations of each.
b. Externalize sustainable goals and principles by practicing public engagement and dialogue with enterprises, non-governmental organizations, and communities.
The website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability learning outcomes is available: