Concept paper on a curriculum initiative for energy, climate change, and sustainability at Boston University
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Citation (published version)Cutler Cleveland, Neta Crawford, Emily Ryan. 2019. "Concept Paper on a Curriculum Initiative for Energy, Climate Change, and Sustainability at Boston University."
[Summary] Boston University has made important contributions to the interconnected challenges of energy, climate change, and sustainability (ECS) through its research, teaching, and campus operations. This work reveals new opportunities to expand the scope of teaching and research and place the University at the forefront of ECS in higher education. This paper describes the framework for a University-wide curriculum initiative that moves us in that direction and that complements the University’s strategic plan. The central curricular objectives are to provide every undergraduate the opportunity be touched in some way in their educational program by exposure to some aspect of the ECS challenge, and to increase opportunities for every graduate student to achieve a focused competence in ECS. The initiative has six cornerstone initiatives. The first is the Campus as a Living Lab (CALL) program in which students, faculty and staff work together and use our urban campus and its community to study and implement ECS solutions. The second is a university-wide minor degree that helps students develop an integrated perspective of the economic, environmental, and social dimensions of sustainability. The third is one or more graduate certificate programs open to all graduate students. The fourth is an annual summer faculty workshop that develops new ECS curriculum and CALL opportunities. The fifth is web-based resource that underpins the construction of a vibrant knowledge network for the BU community and beyond. Finally, an enhanced sustainability alumni network will augment professional opportunities and generate other benefits. The learning outcomes of this initiative will be realized through the collaborative work of faculty, students, and staff from all 17 colleges and schools. The initiative will leverage existing BU student resources such as the Thurman Center, Build Lab, and Innovate@BU. Benefits of this initiative, beyond the curriculum, include acceleration towards the goals of our Climate Action Plan; improving the “sustainability brand” of BU; enhancing the ability to attract students and new faculty; strengthening our alumni and campus communities; deepening our ties with the city of Boston; and the potential to spin off new social and technological innovations.