FOCUS: The concept of sustainability is one of the foremost paradigms influencing society today. In 2002, the United Nations General Assembly declared the years from 2005 to 2014 to be the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD). Educational institutions are uniquely positioned to help achieve sustainability goals through their role of training students who have the potential to form a thriving, ethical and civil society. Across this country, hundreds of universities, including Florida Atlantic University, have signed on to the Presidents Climate Commitment to exercise leadership in their communities in modeling ways that contribute to a sustainable society. To this end, universities such as FAU should not only teach students about sustainability, but should also seek to implement sustainability based pedagogies throughout their curriculum. A sustainable pedagogy will require changes in faculty and student approaches to learning, along with the development of particular student skill sets that encourage critical and creative thinking that links all areas of learning to sustainability concepts such as fair and equitable treatment of others and of the environment.
GOALS: To transform the ideas put forward by the UN on Sustainable Development and the Presidents Climate Commitment, this FLC would explore the theoretical and practical implementations of sustainability pedagogy. Central goals would address learning through the use of sustainability concepts involving social, economic, political and environmental systems as well evaluative systems. These goals would include how to produce positive changes in student attitudes and behavior towards these various systems. A number of skills and abilities were identified during the UN conference in Johannesburg that could contribute to a sustainable pedagogy; including criticism, creativity, communication, cooperation, decision-making and social participation. Additionally, attitudes and values should be considered that encourage respect of life, diversity, understanding and respect for others, relations between local and global, principles of democracy and preserving what is natural. It is clear that a sustainable pedagogy would be incredibly rich and complex, yet presents a significant challenge to faculty in implementing.
EXPECTATIONS (specific to this community’s participants):
Explore and develop teaching strategies to create a sustainability based pedagogy that could be implemented within a broad array of lower division courses at FAU.
Implement sustainability based teaching strategies in at least one course and evaluate its outcomes.
Produce an academic paper on sustainable pedagogy to submit for peer review journal publication.