Jaime Grainer, Sustainability & Outreach Manager (University of Mount Union)
Sustainability Seminar at University of Mount Union
As a participant in the 2017 Valley & Ridge Group I planned a course entitled Sustainability Seminar. This 2-credit culmination course will be offered through the Department of Interdisciplinary and Liberal Studies for students pursuing a minor in sustainability. This course has the following learning outcomes, 1) Connect the core concepts and theories of sustainability to the students major to build the skills necessary to become an effective change agent, 2) Collaborate with an interdisciplinary group to apply systems thinking and problem solving to an identified sustainability issues/challenge/need, 3) Formulate a plan/solution to address identified sustainability issue/challenge/need, and 4) Reflect upon how this project ties to the Universities mission. This course will provide students the opportunity to demonstrate a cohesive body of knowledge was developed through the minor. It will enhance the student’s ability to connect the core concepts and theories of sustainability to their specific disciplines.
This course will require collaboration among the interdisciplinary group of students to apply systems thinking and problem-solving to an identified sustainability issue. The students will be required to research the identified issue, identify appropriate partners and stakeholders in the local community (with the expectation of further developing a sense of place in the area surrounding the University), and formulate a plan or solution that is a synthesis of equitable economic growth, social well-being, and thriving natural systems. The students will submit weekly reflections of their progress and give a final group presentation of their plan of action. Participation in Valley & Ridge provided me with effective tools for designing the class as well as ideas for activities. The focus on place-based, service, and experiential learning provided me a unique perspective for developing the course.