|Submission Date||Feb. 20, 2013|
The Academic Subcommittee of the Climate Action Plan team was tasked with establishing a definition of sustainability in academics (curriculum and research). The CAP is currently in draft form and not published, but the team's definition is as follows:
The UNCG Strategic Plan, UNCG Tomorrow, defines sustainability as “the enduring interconnectedness of social equity, the environment, economy, and aesthetics. This interconnectedness provides a foundation from which to discover, implement, and enrich sustainable principles and practice. The intent of sustainability is to instill values that promote justice, invent innovative approaches and solutions to environmental and economic challenges, and invest civility and grace into our communities."
Ensuring that students acquire a basic understanding of the individual elements of sustainability identified above serves as the beginning of sustainability in academics at UNCG. The centrality of the natural environment is essential to the entire idea of sustainability; how the environment shapes, and is shaped by, economic and social factors, is the core of the concept. Because of this distinction, imparting a robust understanding of the natural environment to students is vital to any attempt to infuse sustainability into our academic programs.
Infusing sustainability into academics at UNCG will produce graduating students who:
• Communicate the basics of sustainability;
• Employ and promote sustainable practices during their time at UNCG;
• Apply relevant sustainable practices in their career paths.
Other important aspects of this initiative include conveying current insights and best practices (instruction) and generating new knowledge (research) that explain and enhance the links between the various elements of sustainability. Emphasizing the intentionality of these connections and broadening the scopes in which students think and act are significant outcomes for sustainability in academics. UNCG will provide training and resources to faculty to build the programs needed to achieve these goals.
In 2011, a survey was created by interior architecture professor Dr. Anna Marshall-Baker for UNCG faculty to identify
sustainability in their research activities. The university's definition of sustainability in its Strategic Plan was used to guide respondents. According to the UNCG Strategic Plan, sustainability is "the enduring interconnectedness of social equity, the environment, economy, and aesthetics. This interconnectedness provides a foundation from which to discover, implement, and enrich sustainable principles and practice. The intent of sustainability is to instill values that promote justice, invent innovative approaches and solutions to environmental and economic challenges, and invest civility and grace into our communities." The results were reviewed by two faculty members and the sustainability coordinator.
Note that the research inventory data are from 2011. Once the definition of sustainability in academics (Pt. 1) has been officially adopted via the CAP approval process, the inventory will be updated.
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