Sustainability Education Grant Program Supports University Curriculum

May 08, 2020

Ohio State faculty considering the development of undergraduate sustainability or resilience curriculum can get a boost with new available funding.

The Sustainability Education and Learning Committee (SELC), administered by the Sustainability Institute, has announced the Sustainability Education Grant Program for The Ohio State University academic community.

The grant program will support the development of new curriculum, including undergraduate majors, minors, certificates and other degree enhancements, in the areas of sustainability and resilience. This grant opportunity is intended to support undergraduate academic curriculum development at all Ohio State campuses. SELC anticipates that most awards will not exceed $10,000, and a total of $50,000 will be awarded in FY2021. A two-page letter of intent that outlines the proposed new program and other requested details is due before 5 p.m. June 30 to Gina Jaquet, Sustainability Institute director of education and learning, at jaquet.6@osu.edu. Following a review of the letters of intent by SELC, selected full proposals will be invited and will be due Sept. 15.

“Sustainability problems are systems problems. Poverty and hunger are inextricably linked to climate change, water scarcity, and land degradation. The coronavirus—its origin, spread and impacts—is inextricably linked to biological and environmental conditions,” says Elena Irwin, faculty director of the Sustainability Institute. “Now, more than ever, we need to provide opportunities for students to become systems thinkers and to integrate knowledge of earth and environmental sciences with knowledge of sustainability principles, technology, design, human behavior, and policy.

“This grants program is an opportunity to create new interdisciplinary programs that build on the excellence of our existing programs to address key curriculum gaps in sustainability and resilience, including in energy, climate, water, health, and resilient communities,” Irwin says. “We have tremendously creative faculty. We are looking for their best ideas for compelling, innovative, cross-cutting curriculum that will give our students the knowledge to understand the challenges and the creativity to address them.”

All curriculum proposals through the Sustainability Education Grant Program must still adhere to formal curricular review processes. SELC, which includes faculty representatives from seven colleges, helps to facilitate and support sustainability-related proposals for program curricular development and is advisory to the Council on Academic Affairs in the proposal review process.

In addition to supporting the development of new learning opportunities for students, SELC seeks to improve cross-unit collaboration for communication and coordination of existing sustainability and resilience education programs.

In May 2019, SELC issued a report that provided a summary of the existing undergraduate academic program landscape in the areas of sustainability and resilience. “High demand” areas of energy, food, water, climate, mobility, air, land, communities, justice, and health and well-being were identified through a gap analysis and review of an undergraduate sustainability education survey administered to undergraduate students in spring 2018. These high-demand areas will receive priority consideration for the Sustainability Education Grant Program.    

During fall 2019 through winter 2020, SELC conducted a survey of all academic units to further categorize current undergraduate courses and programs in sustainability. All data received from academic units to date is included below at the curriculum data links for your reference. Faculty are encouraged to reference these data when submitting a grant application to ensure that their proposal builds on existing programs, minimizes duplication and addresses critical gaps.

For more information on the Sustainability Education Grant Program, contact Gina Jaquet, Sustainability Institute director of education and learning, at jaquet.6@osu.edu or 614-292-3732.

Sustainability Education Grant Program details, application (PDF)

May 2019 SELC report (PDF)

Curriculum data: unit-reported sustainability program- and course-level data

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