Sustainability Curriculum Review Committee SCRC
Friday September 12, 2014
Jeffords 326 2:30-3:30

Committee Members:
CESS - Alan Tinkler
CEMS - Brian Lee
RSENR - Christine Vatovec
CALS - Laura Hill-Bermingham
BSAD - Marilyn Lucas
CNHS- Hollie Shaner McRae
CAS- Beverly Wemple and Rory Waterman

In attendance: Beverley Wemple, Deane Wang, Laura Hill-Bermingham, Brian Lee, Alan Tinkler, Christine Vatovec, Hollie Shaner-McRae, Lisa Watts Natkin

Meeting NOTES (Minutes will be recorded and approved associated with votes on proposals)

Everyone introduce themselves to the group

Laura- gave a history of the Ad-Hoc committee; Deane and Laura volunteered to co-chair the committee in 2012. The committee was tasked to come up with learning outcomes. The faculty senate approved the learning outcomes last spring. There were a couple of faculty senate presentations, where the learning outcomes were vetted. There is a wiki with lots of background information http://gened-sustainability.wikispaces.com/home. This initiative was in response to an undergraduate request. There was an undergraduate representative on the ad-hoc committee. The faculty senate has not voted to approve the learning outcomes as a general education requirement. Our task is to approve courses, once the faculty senate votes to make this a requirement. This committee is the outcome of last spring’s faculty senate vote.

Beverley- What is the difference between the Stephanie Kaza curriculum workshop and this committee? I volunteered for both, thinking they were the same thing.

Deane- There are three pathways to meet this proposed requirement; curriculum, course, and co-curricular. How do we create professional development capacity for the curricular pathway? Stephanie responded by creating a curriculum workshop. The SFF is the course pathway’s professional development. We found 52 UVM STARS focused courses. So now we have a list to start with. Just like the diversity committee sent out a call for courses, we could send out a call for sustainability courses. We want to do a little arm-twisting and make the process easy so that we can get some folks to start the process. If this becomes a requirement for students, students will be looking for courses to meet this requirement. Your interest in getting your course designated, somewhat depends on where you are on the cap of enrollment for your course. If you are signing lots of overrides for your course, you may not be motivated to get your course designated.

Laura- The course designation process is not finalized. We have three working drafts. Maybe we should wait on the arm-twisting until the process is finalized. So in this course (looking at the matrix), you see four different mechanisms that match the learning outcomes with a short description of how they are doing it.

Deane- We were thinking that people would submit the matrix, the syllabus, and a cover letter and then we will determine if it fits. So we need to like the process.

Hollie- Is the idea to reach out to folks in our department, should we be asking people to create new courses?

Deane- No, the ideal is to articulate what people are already doing or slightly tweak existing courses to fit. I did some number crunching with the 52 Stars focused course seats and calculated 2,000 seats.

Alan- With upper level courses, what are we going to do about prerequisites? If a department is on a curriculum level, and the upper level courses are designated as sustainability, would students be able to take the courses without having the prerequisites?

Beverley- With the curriculum approach, would those courses that are in the curriculum go through the separate course designated process?

Deane- The courses would have to go through the course designation process.

Alan- This is a brilliant structure. It is clever that this degree program embeds sustainability into the course structure.

Laura- Showed the graphic with the different pathways.

Alan- This could be an incremental level process, I could see the education department doing programmatic change over time. We would probably go for the course approach at first.

Deane- We were worried about nursing and education because of their tight curriculum. But when we looked closer nursing students are required to take a science course and many take ENVS 1.

Hollie- The interesting thing is that UVM is one of the only nursing programs that requires students to take an environmental class. This is a great component of our program.

Christine- Through the SFF program, I developed a course especially for nursing students about health and the environment. It isn’t on the list.

Deane- Email any course suggestions to Lisa.

Deane- (walked us through his course, Ecology for Sustainability) It is an ecology course, it doesn’t necessary hit the four learning outcomes. It is about learning ecological concepts. It is a SL course; there are a lot of projects. They do a lot of content online and then there is a service-learning program. He showed his syllabus and then showed his matrix.

Laura- So within sustainability, there are three components economy, ecology, and social.

Deane- It is a three legged stool. His course hit all of the learning outcomes but values. So he could decide to add values and apply for the course designation.

Beverley- Does this committee decide if a course can get designation if it doesn’t meet all four learning outcomes?

Deane- I was on the diversity original committee and then the DCRC changed the strategy. So we can change the process.

Laura- I am not sure if I am remembering this correctly but I think the office of sustainability could offer professional development opportunities to help faculty incorporate the learning outcomes.

Brian- One thing that the committee last year punted on, was how much is enough to meet the learning outcomes. What is enough? Is it one journal entry or an entry a week? I think what we decided last year was that it needed to hit each learning outcome but not how much is enough.

Beverley- I am wondering if we will get resistance for approving things for sustainability.

Brian- For diversity, we reject a course but we give feedback about what they could do to get accepted. They call the instructor and talks about it. About one out of ten course submissions were not approved.

Beverley- The rejection process could turn off people.

Laura- Is this enough? Would we have enough information to make a designation decision? (Shared Lisa’s draft course map template)

Deane- I am not sure if I would want to do that for my course. The system we are developing here doesn’t have to be perfect. We have to build in an assessment component then we will know if we have a problem. We need to determine how much we need to make a determination and then we can do assessment to see if we are meeting our goals.

Beverley- One thing we need to do is to think about how much time it will take to fill the matrix out.

Hollie- One thing we would want to clarify is the % of class time, is that student time or time in class?

Laura- You are right we want to make sure it is not too time intensive but we want enough information to know if it is meeting the learning outcome.

Brian- I would want some guidance on if a lecture is enough, or a reading. If we could give folks some information about much is modest, substantial, ect.

Deane- I like rubrics that give you numbers or examples. So we can take notes as we go through the matrixes. What I am hearing from Brian is that persistent question of how much is enough? We can do some standardizing, is it one journal or reading.

Alan- Or it could be that there is a declaration that there is a substantive commitment to sustainability to the course. Then the matrix we show where it will be. In the cover letter, there could be an affirmation from the instructor that the course is about sustainability.

Laura- The next meeting is Monday September 22, which is after the curriculum mapping workshop. So we can gather the templates and talk about a structure that we will disseminate. After next meeting we will want to get some courses to go through the process.