Infusing Sustainability across the Curriculum

Where is sustainability in your field? How does incorporating sustainability bolster what you’re already teaching?

These are a few of the questions 10 Wake Forest faculty members explored during the seventh annual Magnolias Curriculum Project on May 17-18, 2018. Each year, this two-day curriculum workshop aims to develop innovative course components that inspire systems thinking and result in engaged learning outcomes for sustainability.

During the workshop, participants discussed sustainability literature, developed learning objectives for their students, and shared perspectives and stories from their own fields of study. For the semesters following the workshop, each faculty participant submits a syllabus for a course in which sustainability-related outcomes are integrated. These courses are either classes the faculty have been teaching and plan to teach again, or are completely new courses being developed.

Members of this year’s cohort represented various disciplines including: politics and international affairs, entrepreneurship, art, biology, physics, psychology, business, French, and journalism.

“I enjoyed the Magnolias Curriculum Project and I believe what I have learned will greatly improve not only the course I focused on for revision, but all of the courses I teach,” reported one of this year’s Magnolias participants.

Ron Von Burg, assistant professor in the Department of Communications, and Luke Johnston, associate professor in the Department for the Study of Religions, both Magnolias Project alumni, facilitated this year’s workshop along with Dedee DeLongpré Johnston, Wake Forest’s Chief Sustainability Officer. Participants also had the opportunity to hear from a handful of Magnolias alumni on engaged learning for sustainability and integration of sustainability at the assignment level.

This workshop results in an increased number of courses that support a wide variety of sustainability-related learning objectives, creating opportunities for learning across the arc of a liberal arts education. The 2018 cohort brings the number of Magnolias Curriculum Project participants up to 76.