Resources for Faculty
One goal for the year was to encourage faculty to incorporate climate change topics in existing courses, whether in a class, a day, a unit or more.
The Brandeis Sustainability Committee held two faculty workshops in 2022 to provide interested faculty with assistance and resources to incorporate climate change topics in their courses.
January 14, 2022: Integrating sustainability into your course/s using the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals
Description: Guided by virtual exercises and informed by active discussion, our facilitator Lindsay Lyons will walk you through effective strategies for integrating sustainability into your course/s, in any discipline, using the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals as an introduction. Tools, tips and resources will be shared that can be directly adapted to your teaching. Whether you are looking to develop a new course, or modify an existing course to include weeks of sustainability content, one unit, or one assignment, this workshop will give you the opportunity to learn how and why integrating sustainability across the curriculum is valuable and provide you with work time to implement these strategies in your course planning. Workshop participants will:
- Understand the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals and their connections to disciplines across the curriculum.
- Propose specific ways of integrating the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals into new or existing courses.
- Share resources for enhancing sustainability in the academic curriculum.
The workshop will also offer an optional 30-minute session with Prof. Sally Warner, who will share the latest in, and answer your questions about, the science of climate change.
When: January 14, 2022, from 9:00am-1:00pm via Zoom
Who: Facilitated by Lindsey Lyons, Assistant Director, Center for Sustainability Education, Dickinson College; leader of Dickinson’s Center for Sustainability Across the Curriculum
May 23, 2022: Key competencies in sustainability education
The Sustainability Curriculum Consortium (SCC) and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) have launched a new series of materials for faculty teaching sustainability topics. The first volume in the Practical Approaches to Teaching Sustainability series will be “Key Competencies.”
This SCC workshop will present key research from the forthcoming publication. The workshop will be facilitated by the volume’s editors and will include several of its authors.
As courses and programs in sustainability continue to expand in higher education, instructors are called on to develop and adopt new and innovative approaches to teaching that enable students to learn the knowledge, skills and habits of mind central to sustainability as a study and practice. Over the past decade, pedagogical research has actively sought to articulate the ‘competencies’ students should develop through sustainability education, but, in the classroom, methods vary.
The volume will feature various approaches to teaching sustainability topics in the classroom, field, experiential learning environment, community, or virtual space that illustrate an emerging sustainability pedagogy. Educators may be familiar with related terminology such as "demonstrated capabilities," or “learning outcomes," to identify and assess the learning objectives that are considered a core part of student education in sustainability.
Selected breakout room topics and presenters:
Susan Caplow, University of Montevallo
Tai Munro, MacEwan University
Brittany Y. Davis, Allegheny College
David Robertson, Monash University (Australia)
Climate Anxiety and Emotions
Sustainability Competencies and Capstone Courses
Krista Hiser, University of Hawaii Office of Sustainability, Kapiʻolani Community College
Tina Lynn Evans, Colorado Mountain College
Susan Caplow, University of Montevallo
Tai Munro, MacEwan University
Brittany Y. Davis, Allegheny College
David Robertson, Monash University (Australia)
Ira Feldman, Sustainability Curriculum Consortium
Below is a curated list created by the Sustainability Committee to provide faculty with resources they can use to incorporate climate change topics into their courses. Please contact us via our feedback form if you have a resource you would like to share.
What is it: The CLEAN Collection is a database of climate and energy educational resources. Scientists and educators have curated this database using a peer-review process to ensure scientific accuracy, pedagogic effectiveness, and classroom readiness for each resource.
Who is it for: Anyone looking for a preplanned activity related to climate change that could be used for a single class period.
Some Highlights: The site provides a huge range of resources, like The Climate Explorer, “How Climate Affects Community Health”, and the Yale Climate Opinion Maps. All these resources come with suggestions of how to use them in the classroom.
What is it: This site provides educational resources, with detailed step-by-step descriptions for use in regular lectures. These resources allow faculty to introduce examples and case studies from climate science and climate change while enhancing the conceptual understanding of topics in the Sciences, Mathematics, Social Sciences, and other disciplines.
Who is it for: Anyone looking for a preplanned activity related to climate change that could be used for a single class period. This is particularly useful for faculty who are teaching about a specific place and would like to detail the impacts of climate change on that place.
Some Highlights: The site provides a huge range of resources, like Climate Change Impacts in Colombia, Climate Change and the Environmental Humanities, and Climate Refugees and Environmental Migration. All these resources come with detailed lesson plans.
What is it: Co-developed with MIT, this global simulator allows users to explore the impact of roughly 30 policies—such as electrifying transport, pricing carbon, and improving agricultural practices—on hundreds of factors like energy prices, temperature, air quality, and sea-level rise.
Who is it for: Anyone who wants to explore the possibilities of various climate solutions in their course.
Some Highlights: The Climate Action Simulation is a highly interactive, role-playing game for groups to explore the different stakeholders and solutions that need to come together to take action on climate change. Our very own Dr.Sally Warner is an En-ROADS Climate Ambassador.
What is it: This resource is a compilation of the 100 solutions to reduce the impact of climate change. Solutions are quantified to show how much emissions can be reduced and what the costs would be to implement. Descriptions of each solution provide examples and steps to implementation.
Who is it for: It seems that students are often overwhelmed by the problem of climate change without knowing what can be done to reduce its impact. Project Drawdown is a useful tool for anyone interested in introducing solutions in their classroom.
Some Highlights: Project Drawdown solutions span a wide variety of sectors including transportation, land use and agriculture, building efficiency, electricity generation, and sinks for carbon. For example, one of the most unknown but impactful solutions is the importance of refrigerant management.
What is it: Promise and Peril is a multiplatform public media initiative. The content focuses on the human impacts of climate change and highlights stories of scientific innovation related to resilience, mitigation, and clean energy.
Who is it for: Anyone looking for an accessible media resource to integrate into their class.
Some Highlights: The Climate Artist series highlights 6 different artists, ranging from a teen poet to a deep-sea sculptor, and engages with the question: How can art amplify the urgency of climate change?
What is it: Created after the publication of All We Can Save, this podcast engages with a variety of climate challenges. Hosted by journalist Alex Blumberg, the podcast brings on a variety of guests who talk about how we got here and presents a solutions-based approach to how we move forward.
Who is it for: Anyone looking for material that can connect climate to a course topic. With the variety of episodes, this would be an easy way to bring climate into a course topic where it wouldn’t normally be.Some Highlights: Show titles like, “The Evangelical Christians Taking On Climate Change”, “Climate Change is Driving Migration. Could Smarter Ag Help?”, “Black Lives Matter and the Climate”, and “The Tribe that's Moving Earth (and Water) to Solve the Climate Crisis.”
What is it: A compilation of graphs, maps, and data that show how climate change is impacting the Earth, including greenhouse gas concentrations, ice loss, sea level, temperature, and snow cover. What sets this website apart from others is that it brings numerous types of data together in one place and it gives detailed explanations of the graphs and maps. This website mostly provides static graphs and maps, but it provides links to all source data.
Who is it for: Due to the ease of accessibility of this data, this is a great resource for anyone who needs figures to show the impacts of climate change.
Some highlights: Lots of compelling graphs and maps to show loss of sea ice and glacier melt. Temperature is shown on land and within the oceans.
What is it: Interactive maps that show the impact of sea level rise in the future. Users can zoom in to any location and input a year or water level to see which areas will be inundated.
Who is it for: Any discussions of sea level rise will be aided with these maps because they can show specifically what areas will be most affected by sea level rise. The website is very easy to use and understand.
Some highlights: In addition to showing locations that will be impacted by sea level rise, there’s an Affordable Housing Risk assessment that can be part of a discussion of climate justice.
Below are some examples of how faculty did or are planning to incorporate climate change topics into their courses, for the Year of Climate Action or beyond.
Learning outcomes: Consider implications and applications of specific areas for people, planet and prosperity, including infectious disease, climate change, and health; the microbiome and climate change; genetic engineering, climate change, food and poverty; and/or genomics and health.
At the start of the semester, students will read one of the UN SDG “Why it Matters” summaries for two of the SDGs. Students will then write a short reflection before class, and engage in a discussion and/or “speed dating” activity in class. Mid-semester, students will work on a case study on their topic(s) as group work in recitation, and mid/late-semester, students will be challenged to explain how their final project topic relates to the SDGs. At the end of the semester, students will read two SDG 2021 updates; write a short reflection before class; and discuss in class how biological research supports and/or impairs SDG progress.
Learning outcomes: Students present a multifaceted discussion of society-level choices that relate to cancer and to sustainability, involving health care, pollution, community health resources, education and more.
The class will spend approximately two class sessions at the end of the semester on sustainability goals and cancer. In the first session, after reading and a more instructor-led session on human-controlled environmental effects on cancer risk, students will break into small groups. Each group will be given a scenario or case study to work with, and each individual in the group is assigned an SDG-based role (one SDG as their specific perspective on the scenario). Each student’s homework assignment is to read and think about the scenario from their SDG perspective. In the next class session, groups will connect briefly before presenting a role-play discussion of their scenario for the class.
As part of Brandeis University’s Year of Climate Action (2022-2023), faculty, staff and students in the university’s program in Creativity, the Arts, and Social Transformation (CAST) are developing ideas for a “design lab” to engage with people with expertise and lived experience regarding climate change and climate justice, especially those connected to local (Waltham-area) concerns, with a focus on water. Aims include:
- Learning about local climate and environmental justice issues, with a concentration on the Charles River Watershed.
- Learning about local climate justice/culture of sustainability actions that community members are taking to confront or counter harmful impacts of the climate crisis
- Contributing in constructive ways to such efforts through a collaboration with the Charles River Watershed Association and other local groups or individuals
- Gathering and presenting stories from diverse Waltham-area people about the river, the effects of environmental and climate injustices, connections with the Charles and/or other bodies of water around the world
- Designing interventions inspired by local stories that build on current knowledge, skills, interests, and actions –initiatives that could be carried out by successive waves of Brandeis students in the near future
Kristen Turpin designed the curriculum for this special topics section of Hisp 105. In this course, students work on their speaking skills as they explore issues of sustainability in the Spanish–speaking world. Students reflect about the global consequences of individual actions, debate about the feasibility of ecotourism, and tell the stories of indigenous and Latin American climate activists. Additional instructors in Hispanic Studies teach and contribute to the course.
In ITAL105, students reflect on issues related to globalization, the environment, and present-day Italian society, with a focus on “seconda generazione”, i.e., the new (for Italy) reality of Italians without an Italian family heritage. Additionally, the course examines social justice issues related to unequal distribution of power, resources, and privilege by looking at contemporary social/political activism in music and art. The course is divided into five units: the environment, technology and social media, music, art and “seconda generazione”. These themes, individually and in connection with one another, will offer an opportunity to learn about and discuss the five core priorities of sustainable development: planet, people, partnership, and peace necessary to prosperity and leading to sustainable development.
Learning outcome: Through a data project (relevant for data management and presentation), students are introduced to the UN SDGs and will use data to visualize the current inequality of quality education across the globe (relevant to SDG Goal 4).
Students will work on a group project to explore data related to education across the countries, to show the quality, equitability, and inequality of primary/secondary education in different countries, and to investigate why and how education is related to poverty, life expectancy, and quality of life. Data sources may include UNDP human development data, OECD Education statistics database, and/or Our World in Data: Primary and Secondary Education.
Learning outcomes: Students will know what simple actions can be taken and be able to give advice on how to save the world while being at Brandeis or from within their family.
Students will read the SDGs (in English and Russian) and identify important vocabulary. They will also read the UN website “The Lazy Person’s Guide to Saving the World” in Russian, paying attention to word combinations (vocabulary + grammar), and make a list of 10 things they care about in terms of the SDGs and 10 things they observed on campus (or in their family) that are anti-sustainability (using the key vocabulary and paying attention to form). Students will discuss these with a partner and ultimately create their own guides for an audience such as their family members or new Brandeis students on how to live more sustainably.
Presents the role of social class in determining life chances, lifestyles, income, occupation, and power; theories of class, inequality, and globalization; selected aspects of social class and inequality; and connections of class, race, and gender. It also presents a 4-week unit on Environmental Justice and the final group project will focus on environmental problems whereas the students will have to conduct research and provide solutions, cost and sources of funding, etc. Finally, this class fulfills the Oral Communication literacy requirement (OC) since the course gives an emphasis on presentation skills as well.
Usually offered every second year.
Learning outcome: Students will create a framework for exploring the importance of stories/storytelling (the how and the why) for non-profit organizations.
This course invites students to investigate the power of stories and storytelling in business contexts. The goal of this course is to strengthen the focus on social entrepreneurship to accelerate the Social Development Goals in alignment with Catalyst 2030, a global movement of social entrepreneurs and social innovators from all sectors who share the goal of attaining the SDGs.
Students will draw on the SDGs as a lens for their first essay assignment. They will investigate how stories and storytelling can instill hope and inspire others to work towards climate solutions using “Solutions Storytelling.” The course will use resources such as Project Drawdown’s “Dialogues” (conversations with youth and professionals working in the climate space), Grist 50 2021: Meet the Fixers, and materials provided by the UN.