Each spring, the Office of Sustainability hosts the Magnolias Curriculum Workshop for faculty who are seeking to incorporate sustainability – broadly defined – into their teaching.

This year, 13 faculty members participated in the two-day workshop, which has been held annually since 2012 (excluding COVID years). Including this year’s cohort, 120 Wake Forest faculty from across the college and professional schools have participated since the program began. 

Applicants for the workshop were asked to submit a brief proposal describing a new or existing course they would like to enhance by incorporating environmental and/or sustainability content. Courses explored this year included: 

  • Africana Political Philosophy
  • Biochemistry 370 
  • Empirical Research and Social Science
  • Engineering 211: Materials and Mechanics
  • Environmental Melodies: How Music Has Helped Shape the Environmental Movement
  • Epidemiology
  • Ethical Computer Science: Computing for Humanity
  • Green Technologies: Science and Entrepreneurship, and beyond
  • Introduction to High Performance Computing
  • Pre-Contact Art and Architecture Across the Americas
  • Social Impact in Entrepreneurship
  • A proposed FYS on the topic of Waste

In total, this year’s 13 faculty members and their courses of focus represented 12 academic departments and programs across Wake Forest. The workshop was facilitated by Jill Crainshaw, Professor of Worship & Liturgical Theology, School of Divinity and University Ombuds, and Erin Henslee, Assistant Professor, Department of Engineering, who participated in the workshop in 2015 and 2019, respectively. 

“It was wonderful to move between periods of individual, collective, and partnered ideation with our peers, all from diverse specializations, yet all having shared purpose. Much like a writer’s retreat is a space to develop rough ideas into a full paper, the Magnolias program was a space for ideating and shaping new teaching ideas in the wide realm of sustainability and connecting us with those on campus who share these ideals.”

Fatima Hamdulay, assistant teaching professor in the Center for Entrepreneurship and the Program for Leadership and Character

During the two-day workshop, participants were introduced to resource experts for creating campus and community connections, the 38 Drawdown solutions implemented, demonstrated, and/or being researched at Wake Forest, and locations for learning on campus. A lunch downtown at Alma Mexicana was provided on day two, where Provost Michele Gillespie shared vignettes about the history of Wake Forest and the Reynolda Estate. 

“The Magnolias workshop was a great place to meet other faculty and learn about all the resources we have at WFU to help us engage students and community stakeholders in learning about sustainability. I would, hands down, recommend it to anyone who has ideas of innovations they want to implement in their courses but lacks the dedicated time and/or connections to make it happen. The staff at the Office of Sustainability are fantastic resources that can connect you to the right people to provide students with the experiential learning opportunities they expect to find at WFU.”

Tricia Clayton, Associate Professor of Engineering.

To Krista Stump, engaged and experiential learning manager for the Office of Sustainability, the purpose of the Magnolias Curriculum Project supports the directive of the university’s recently-announced QEP topic.

“The Magnolias Curriculum Project gives faculty the space, time, and tools needed to develop cross-disciplinary approaches that go beyond the traditional classroom or lecture-style teaching, if they choose” Stump said. “In years past, some reimagined syllabi have included engaged or experiential learning projects. I’m excited to see what members of this year’s cohort choose to incorporate into their courses for the fall.”