Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 51.83
Liaison Leslie North
Submission Date Jan. 9, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Western Kentucky University
IN-4: Innovation 4

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Christian Ryan
Sustainability Coordinator
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Title or keywords related to the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
The Toppers at Sea Climate Change Challenge study abroad experience

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:

In 2014, WKU took the university partnership with the Semester at Sea program and Institute for Shipboard Education to a new level, designing an interdisciplinary, theme-based, abbreviated excursion for the summer term. The first of its sort, the study abroad course allowed students and faculty to have the shipboard education experience without the semester commitment. The idea took advantage of the ship's already intended voyage around the North Atlantic as an opportunity to study climate change. Four faculty from various disciplines offered courses (education, geosciences, futures, and economics), so that students from any of these areas could enroll. All intersected with a common one-hour course in service learning, based on the $100 Solution. Days at sea were spent in the classroom learning about various aspects of climate change. Days in port were spent on field excursions learning about local research, impacts, and mitigation strategies. The students were challenged to come up with a $100 Solution based on what they learned. The trip cumulated with a visit to the University of Akuyeri in Iceland, where students presented to University faculty and administrators what they learned, and their $100 Solutions.

A brief description of any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation (if not reported above):

Outcomes can be measured quantitatively and qualitatively, and include completed student projects, daily reflections that describe the course as "life changing", and the $100 Solutions. A significant outcome is a new partnership between WKU and the University of Akuyeri based on climate change research and idea exchange between students and faculty. This partnership has now been formalized and a group of faculty and students will travel from WKU to Iceland in Summer of 2015 to begin practical work.

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise:
Which of the following STARS subcategories does the innovation most closely relate to? (Select all that apply up to a maximum of five):
Yes or No
Curriculum Yes
Research Yes
Campus Engagement Yes
Public Engagement ---
Air & Climate Yes
Buildings ---
Dining Services ---
Energy ---
Grounds ---
Purchasing ---
Transportation ---
Waste ---
Water ---
Coordination, Planning & Governance Yes
Diversity & Affordability ---
Health, Wellbeing & Work ---
Investment ---

Other topic(s) that the innovation relates to that are not listed above:

The website URL where information about the innovation is available:

See the blog about the Toppers at Sea Climate Change Challenge here:http://toppersatsea.wordpress.com

See the video here:
(password toppers)

To serve as a letter of affirmation, a paper written by WKU Educational Leadership doctoral student Christian Ryan has been uploaded. This report was completed as a doctoral independent study, and was submitted to the Board of Directors of Shipboard Education.
"The 2014 Toppers at Sea Climate Change Symposium as model for Shipboard Education"

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