Assessment: Measuring the Impact of our Programs on Students
Goals for this morning Participants will: Be aware of approaches for meeting the challenges and opportunities of interdisciplinary programs Know about resources for interdisciplinary environmental and sustainability programs: e.g. the InTeGrate/NAGT Traveling Workshop Program Share their own situations, knowledge, & wisdom Ask questions Preserving Opportunity wikimedia.org Unsustainability: humanity collectively living so asWiki toCommons diminish opportunities to thrive in the future.
Planetary boundaries according to Rockstrm et al. 2009 and Steffen et al. 2015. Beyond zone of uncertainty (high risk) In zone of uncertainty (increasing risk) Below boundary (safe) Boundary not yet quantified Wiki Commons Why must sustainability be interdisciplinary? The problems arise at the intersection of complexly interacting & co-evolving biophysical and socioeconomic systems Teaching the science-relevant aspects of sustainability
isolated from human values and social dynamics leaves students with a fragmented understanding and unprepared to address problems as they arise in the real world Complexly interacting & co-evolving natural/human systems The world is more wicked than our disciplines* Some characteristics of "wicked" problems as described by Rittle
and Webber (1973). *Herb Childress, Dean of Research and Assessment at Boston Architectural College Complex socio-scientific issues are wicked Climate Change Complex socio-scientific issues are wicked InTeGrate Module: Future of Food Food systems: many interacting human/natural components Thriving in the Swamp: Challenges & Opportunities for Interdisciplinary
Environmental & Sustainability Programs Walt Robinson, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences North Carolina State University Bonafides ( expertise): Developed interdisciplinary Earth-system Science Course at Illinois under the old USRA/NASA ESSE program Teach core courses in NC States Environmental Sciences major Co-led (with Sue Ebanks, up next) NAGT Traveling Workshop with the Environmental
Studies program at Montevallo University Co-led Academics Sustainability Working Group at NC State Co-led (with Dave Gosselin) 2015 Earth Educators Rendezvous workshop: Strengthening sustainability learning in your program a swamp Montevallos Ebenezer Swamp Ecological Preserve Lets frame the conversation as a SWOT analysis POSITIVE / HELPFUL NEGATIVE / HARMFUL in achieving the goal
to achieving the goal Strengths Weaknesses facts / factors controlled by the program Things that are good now. Maintain them, build on them, and use them as leverage. Things that are bad
now. Remedy, change, or stop them. EXTERNAL Origin Opportunities Threats facts / factors of the environment in which the program operates Things that are good for the future. Prioritize, capture,
optimize, and build on them. Things that are bad for the future. Put in plans to manage them or counter them. SWOT matrix INTERNAL Origin Strengths (please chime in.) Great material! the most critical issues for humanity & the planet in the news constantly
hook for students to master cognate disciplines Passionate students Passionate faculty Intrinsically interdisciplinary working across campus is fun! Natural connections to campus & community Growing demand for graduates Weaknesses (please chime in.) Breadth a challenge to defining what it is you do many paths curriculum difficulty of scaffolding key outcomes
Rescue students Skeptics faculty colleagues parents (jobs?) students friends & siblings (business majors & engineers) Maladaptive administrative & reward structures e.g. promotion & tenure No built-in champions No dedicated space/facility Lack of student diversity (often) Threats (please chime in.) Environment/sustainability are political often partisan
Passionate students & faculty can make people angry campus administration (facilities), local industries/developers/politicians & alumni Association with uninformed or knee-jerk environmentalism Budget cuts Opportunities (please chime in.) Embrace social justice/equity, cultural/spiritual elements of sustainability Campus/community/globe as classroom Service to campus & community Connect with business, government sustainability offices internships & jobs campus visits, seminars, co-teaching
Contribute to institutional visibility no such thing as bad publicity Mitigating/overcoming weaknesses Programs succeed with a strong, relentless coordinator/advocate a 1-person show is risky need a bench Advising, advising, advising professional & faculty advising: both can work faculty advisors must be committed & well trained centralized advising: engage with advisors, make sure they get your program Successful student rescues are a service to the institution
tell these stories (better - have the students tell them) Get credit! engage with campus press office establish a reputation as a source of great stories students are more interesting than faculty, especially to donors
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