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Sustainability Course Development Awards

Funded by The Mitchell Foundation

About the Awards

In collaboration with the Office of Sustainability and President’s Sustainability Steering Committee, the Bridging Disciplines Program in Environment & Sustainability is pleased to announce an open competition for course development funds to create new undergraduate courses or to convert existing undergraduate courses. Courses should investigate sustainability issues, and preference will be given to courses that are designed to be interdisciplinary and that are open to students from multiple colleges and/or majors.

Sustainability is commonly understood to require a balanced pursuit of ecological health, social equity, and economic welfare. The pursuit of sustainability is grounded in an ethical commitment to the well-being of not only current populations, but also future generations. The concept of sustainability is broadly applicable to courses across the curriculum including topics such as environmental ethics, climate science, resource management, energy efficiency and technology, transportation and planning, as well as courses that speak to the history and philosophy of environmentalism, environmental health, environmental arts and performance, economic development, social justice, communication and psychology.

Applicants are encouraged to draw on internal frameworks such as Planet Texas 2050 or the 2016 UT Austin Sustainability Master Plan, or external frameworks such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals or the AASHE STARS Living Laboratory criteria. Applicants are also encouraged to incorporate an aspect of experiential learning, when possible. Experiential learning offers students assignments and activities based on real-life situations or primary research that engage them in reflective, data-driven problem-solving with no predetermined right answers. Finally, applicants are encouraged to address how they would eliminate or reduce the need for textbooks and other resource intensive course materials.

Submission Guidelines

Applications may come from any academic unit on campus. All interested faculty members should complete the online course development award application by April 22, 2019.

Complete the application process here:
COURSE DEVELOPMENT AWARD APPLICATION

Requirements

A proposed new course must:

  • Be an undergraduate course that has never been previously taught.
  • Incorporate sustainability as a distinct and significant course component/module or concentrate on a single sustainability principle or issue throughout the course.
  • Be offered at least three times beginning with either the spring 2020, fall 2020, or spring 2021 semesters. Preference will be given to courses that are designed to be a regular part of the department’s course offerings.
  • Include a brief letter of support from the faculty member’s department chair indicating the place the course will have in the department, how accessible the course will be to students outside the department, and that the department intends to offer the course at least three times.

A proposed course conversion must:

  • Adapt an existing undergraduate course to incorporate sustainability as a distinct and significant course component/module or concentrate on a single sustainability principle or issue throughout the course.
  • Be offered at least three times beginning with either the spring 2020, fall 2020, or spring 2021 semesters. Preference will be given to courses that are designed to be a regular part of the department’s course offerings.
  • Include a brief letter of support from the faculty member’s department chair indicating the place the course has in the department, how accessible the course will be to students outside the department, and that the department intends to offer the course at least three times after the conversion.

Award Structure

For each award to develop a new course, $5,000 will be given to the selected instructor to support costs associated with new course development (i.e., travel, books, research expenses, technology costs, etc.); the remaining $1,000 will be given to the chosen instructor’s home department.

For each award to convert an existing course, $3,000 will be given to the selected instructor to support costs associated with course conversion (i.e., travel, books, research expenses, technology costs, etc.).

Please note that funding will not be disbursed until the selected courses receive approval from the home departments.

Review committee

Course development proposals will be evaluated by a committee consisting of faculty and students from the Bridging Disciplines Environment & Sustainability Program, along with representatives from the Office of Sustainability, on the basis of merit and feasibility. The committees will prioritize proposals for courses that:

The proposal will be evaluated in the following five areas:

  • Strength of emphasis on sustainability concepts
  • Degree to which the course is innovative in its approach to sustainability pedagogy
  • Degree of contribution to UT Austin’s current offerings in sustainability studies
  • Inclusion of interdisciplinary approaches and students from multiple disciplines
  • Integration of experiential learning, when possible, with sustainability course content