Undergraduate Sustainability Education Innovation Grants Will Transform Courses in All Six Colleges

May 3, 2023

One of the Institute Strategic Plan (ISP) goals is to connect globally and amplify impact by contributing “to global collaborative efforts that advance the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through our education, research, and service.” In response, Sustainability Next developed a plan to expand SDG concept and skill integration across the undergraduate curriculum. In support of the plan, 21 projects representing all six colleges and 15 schools were presented at the Undergraduate Sustainability Education Jamboree, held on April 26 in the Kendeda Building auditorium. With many winning projects featuring high enrollment and core courses, this first round of sustainability education “seed grants” will significantly expand the reach of Georgia Tech’s sustainability-across-the-curriculum initiatives.

“Our Strategic Plan commitment to bring the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into our teaching is part of our vision for transformative teaching and learning more broadly,” explains Larry Jacobs, Senior Vice Provost for Education and Learning. “Helping students identify connections between disciplinary concepts and skills and complex societal challenges enhances learning and supports Georgia Tech’s mission to equip students to improve the human condition.”

The Jamboree featured lightning presentations from the award winners, as well as presentations about related initiatives at Georgia Tech to help instructors, students, and staff better understand the landscape of sustainability education innovation on campus. Instructors engaged in course design or re-design through the awards will have opportunities to collaborate with and learn from their peers through a Community of Practice on Transformative Teaching with the SDGs and a SoTL (Scholarship of Teaching and Learning) research group. Many began identifying potential collaborators at the event, as they heard from other award winners. “The afternoon of lightning presentations by fellow faculty was exhilarating,” Sabir Khan, Associate Professor, Schools of Industrial Design and Architecture, shared. “I came away impressed and excited at the range of projects and have already invited a few instructors to join my class in the fall to discuss their approaches to tackling the UN SDGs."

Presenter Kate Williams, Interim Director, Transformative Teaching and Learning, Faculty Initiatives, shared connections between the Sustainability Innovation Awards and Georgia Tech’s Transformative Teaching and Learning (TTL) strategic initiative. “The success of the first round of Sustainability Education Innovation Grants demonstrates our faculty's commitment to creating innovative experiential learning opportunities for students,” Dr. Williams noted.

For more information about future award opportunities or the communities of practice described above, please contact Jennifer Leavey (Assistant Dean for Faculty Mentoring, College of Sciences) or Rebecca Watts Hull (Assistant Director, Faculty Development for Sustainability Education Initiatives, Center for Teaching and Learning).

Review all 21 awarded Undergraduate Sustainability Education Innovation projects.

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