PROVOST NEIL WEISSMAN ON THE ROLE OF ACADEMIC LEADERSHIP
From 2012 ACUPCC Climate Leadership Summit by Second Nature
A Defining Characteristic of a Dickinson Education
Dickinson prepares its graduates to be sustainability leaders. As students, they develop the competencies and dispositions for creating a sustainable world through knowing and doing: studying sustainability in the classroom and abroad, conducting research, advancing campus greening efforts, practicing sustainable living skills, working in internships, serving communities, and using the campus as a living laboratory in which to act on their ideas. Through these activities of the head, heart and hands, students gain more than knowledge, they gain values, skills and confidence for leading change in the world.
To rise to this challenge, our graduates need competencies and dispositions to:
- Think critically about problems of improving the human condition equitably in this and future generations, while conserving environmental systems necessary to support healthy and vibrant societies;
- Solve problems by applying sustainability concepts and principles;
- Communicate effectively to raise awareness, increase understanding and motivate action for sustainability; and
- Collaborate with others, working with and leading teams or groups to advance shared sustainability goals.
Educating for a sustainable society is a far-reaching and transforming initiative, but it is also a natural extension of the college’s long-standing mission to provide a useful education in the liberal arts. Our students will encounter novel challenges from globalizing social and economic institutions, transforming technologies and a growing human footprint that is rapidly changing the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, climate and ecological systems in unprecedented ways. These dynamic forces interact with and compound continuing challenges of poverty, hunger, injustice and conflict. Our graduates need a 21st-century skill set that prepares them to integrate knowledge about such complex problems, learn from and adapt to changing conditions, and envision and implement sustainable solutions.