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Setting a Sustainability Standard

Participants in the Valley and Ridge 2017 workshop got out into the field to learn how to weave sustainability into education. Photo courtesy of Lindsey Lyons.

Participants in the Valley and Ridge 2017 workshop got out into the field to learn how to weave sustainability into education. Photo courtesy of Lindsey Lyons.

Faculty from eight colleges, universities attend Dickinson's Valley & Ridge workshop

by MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson

From biology to theatre to sociology and beyond, Dickinson professors in departments all across campus weave sustainability education into their classes with help from the Valley & Ridge faculty-development workshop. Now, faculty members from other colleges and universities are coming to Dickinson to collaborate with fellow educators and see how sustainability education is done here.

Named for central Pennsylvania’s Appalachian Trail-area terrain and launched in 2008 by the Center for Sustainability Education (CSE), the two-day Valley & Ridge workshop helps faculty members think through social, economic and environmental sustainability issues and then incorporate them into new or existing courses through presentations by CSE staff, small-group discussions and field trips to the sites of place-based sustainability-education projects, such as the College Farm. Nearly 75 faculty members have participated so far.

The CSE recently partnered with the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) to open Valley & Ridge to faculty members from other colleges and universities. Participants from six other Pennsylvania institutions—Lebanon Valley, Wilson and Messiah colleges and Millersville, Susquehanna and Villanova Universities—as well as one faculty member from the University of Mount Union, Ohio, exchanged ideas and contact information during this summer's workshop, strengthening a community of peers who could collaborate on sustainability-based projects in the future. 

“Intradepartmental collaborations at Dickinson happen all the time, but when you have the opportunity to exchange with a member of the faculty at another college, it brings more diversity of disciplines into the mix,” says Lindsey Lyons, associate director of the CSE, noting that several of this year’s Valley & Ridge participants have already made plans to meet at Dickinson and beyond to observe beekeeping projects in action. “That broadens perspectives, and it benefits everyone.”

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Published June 13, 2017