Disciplinary Trends in Sustainability Education: Preliminary Results

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Disciplinary Trends In
Sustainability Education
As Interpreted by STARS Gold Participants
Makayla J. Bonney
MS Candidate, Geography
Southern Illinois University
Overview
• Background
• Research Questions
• Results
• Using STARS as a research tool
• Looking Forward
• Question and Discussion
Background
• Liu, 2011: AASHE 2006-08 Sustainability Across
Curriculum Leadership Workshop study
• Literature both within and outside the discipline identifies
geography as a “highly appropriate home for sustainability
studies”, however, the geography community has not
developed a lead role in sustainability education
NCSE Findings
• 2012 Census of Sustainability Education Programs
(degrees, minors, certificates)
Administrative
Location
Proportion
Discipline/Field
Proportion
BA/Mgmt.
25%
Enviro. Studies, Sci.,
Mgmt.
16%
Multi-unit Program
38%
ENGR/Tech
13%
Department
25%
Ag./Hort.
12%
School/College
11%
Architecture
10%
Center/Institute
11%
Natural
Resources/Ecology
5%
Other
15%
Planning
5%
Public Policy
4%
Geography
3%
Other (Anth., Chem.,
7%
Econ., Edu., Geosci., Law,
Tourism)
Background
Research Questions:
1. How do Gold rated STARS participants approach
sustainability education?
• What roles does Geography have in sustainability education?
2. What is the applicability of STARS as a research tool?
• What is
Geography’s
role?
• Are Business,
Environmental
Science
leading?
Methodology
• Focus: Gold rated institutions (n=48)
• 18.4% of all STARS institutions
• Minimum score to achieve Gold: 65
• Average score of dataset: 67.45
• Sustainability Focused Courses
1. Distribution of Sustainability Focused Courses in
Institutions which offer Geography (n=23)
2. Distribution of Sustainability Focused Courses in all
Gold Institutions
Middlebury College
Rating
Score
Gold
66.9
Education and Research
73.70%
Co-Curricular Education
17.5 / 17.75
Curriculum
26.69 / 51.00
Research
25.80 / 27.00
Operations
50.23%
Planning, Admin.,
Engagement
65.36%
Innovation
4 pts.
Curriculum
Sustainability
Focused
Courses
Course Total
32
757
Geography
3 (n), 9.3%
Environmental
Studies
(Interdisc.)
6 (n), 18.6%
ETC.
Methodology Contd.
• Course groupings by discipline
• Business: includes Administration, Management, Leadership
• Minority Studies: includes Africana Studies, Women’s Studies,
Native American Studies
• Architecture: Structural and Landscape
• Engineering: Civil, Environmental, Structural
• Biology: Ecology, Plant Biology, Microbiology
• Other: University-specific program, outliers
Results
Institution
Sustainability
Curriculum
# of Departments
hosting majority
Lead Department
American University
17%
INTL. Studies
2
Appalachian State U.
27%
TECH
3
Ball State U.
1%
ARCH
3
Middlebury College
24%
ENVS
4
New Mexico State U.
29%
AG
5
Northern Arizona U.
17%
FORST
4
Oregon State U.
15%
ECON
4
Portland State U.
2%
PLAN
4
The U. of Arizona
15%
GEOG
4
U. Colorado Boulder
9%
ENVS
4
U. Iowa
8%
GEOG
4
U. Denver
25%
BUS & ADMIN
2
U. New Hampshire
19%
NREM
3
U. Northern Iowa
18%
UCOL
4
U. Wisconsin Stvns. Pnt.
23%
NREM
2
Results
Discipline/Field
Average
Proportion
of Courses
Architecture
16%*
Earth Science
(Unclassified)
11%
Forestry
12%
Fish and Wildlife
12%
Geography
12%
Global or Intl. Studies
16%*
Natural Resource
Environmental
Management
28%*
Planning
11%
• Average discipline
involvement across all
schools
Discipline Breakdown Comparison
Average Role At Individual Schools; Frequency Across All Schools
Other
4%
SOCY
3%
PLAN
11%
PHIL
2%
NREM
28%
HIST
3%
73%
HEALTH
3%
73%
GOBL or INTL Studies
16%
GOVT/Polisci
2%
80%
GEOG
12%
80%
FW
12%
20%
FORST
12%
20%
EARTH SCI (Unclassified)
11%
20%
ENVS
9%
67%
ENGR
8%
67%
ECON
5%
BUS
8%
BIO
7%
ARCH
16%
ANTH
4%
40%
20%
0%
100%
60%
27%
47%
20%
27%
% of Total Sustainability Curriculum
Frequency for All Schools
93%
67%
87%
20%
73%
20%
40%
60%
80%
100%
Outliers
Discipline/Field
Average
Proportion
of Courses
Architecture
16%*
Global or Intl. Studies
16%*
Natural Resource
Environmental
Management
28%*
• Ball State University
Architecture, 35%
• American University
Global Studies, 39%
• University of Wisc.
Stevens Point
Nat. Resource Mgmt.,
42%
Using STARS Data As A Research Tool
• Limitations
• Reporting inconsistencies
• Course sum inconsistencies
• Dead links
• Course department/discipline not listed
• Solution: Calling institution’s STARS liaison
• Data cleaning
• Flagging feature (did not use)
Limitations Contd.: Definition of “Sustainability Focused Course”
Looking Forward: STARS 2.0
STARS 1.2 ER 6
• Sustainability focused
courses: concentrate on
the concept of
sustainability including its
social, economic, and
environmental
dimensions, or examine
an issue or topic using
sustainability as a lens
STARS 2.0 AC 1
Increased
Accountability
Features
• Sustainability
courses:
the
Flagging
primary feature
and explicit focus is on
sustainability
and/or solving
Entry
spot-checking
one or more major
sustainability challenge (e.g.
the course contributes toward
achieving principles outlined in
the Earth Charter).
• Foundational courses
• Application of sustainability
within a field (usually
interdisciplinary)
• Courses providing
skills/knowledge directly related
to solving or understanding
sustainability challenges
Looking Forward
• Next Step in Research:
“Bulk up” Geography-offering schools data-set via phone
calls, emails
2. Analyze remainder of Gold-rated institutions
1.
Does departmental size, department influence at institution,
department budget correlate to proportion of sustainability
course offerings?
Does institutional mission contribute to sustainability course
offerings?
What is the future for sustainability courses? What is the role of
stakeholder demand?
Questions and Discussion
Makayla Bonney
SIU Graduate Fellow
MS Candidate, Geography
[email protected]
309/331.3617
Background
• National Geographic and Geography Education
Standards
• 1984: Five Themes of Geography
• 1994: Geography Education National Standards Project
• Two Perspectives of geography education:
• Spatial and ecological
• 2011-Present: Daniel Edelson, VP Education
• Geoliteracy: required an understanding of:
• Interactions: Human and natural systems
• Implications: forward thinking, cost v. benefit
• Interconnections: Place, systems thinking, global perspective
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