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Nov 6, 2013 (3 years and 7 months ago)

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Sustainability Science
:


A foundation for higher education in the
E
nvironmental Century

Making the case for the necessity of
transformation in higher education


Stephen Mulkey, PhD, president

"The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy
present…….

As
our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew
.”

Abraham
Lincoln
in an 1862 address to Congress


“All education is environmental education…”

David Orr

AASHE 2012

Our present emissions trajectory is catastrophic

Betts et al. 2010.
Phil Trans R
Soc

A

A1FI scenario

Dr. Vicky Pope, head
of projections,
UK Hadley Center:


“…..temperatures
would most
likely rise by more than 5
°
C
[9
°
F] by the end of the
century.


The linear nature of global warming trends projected by
the
IPCC has given the impression that there is plenty of
time.


Andrew
Glikson
, ANU,
paleoclimatologist

An Ecological
Imperative:

Climate
zones are
moving north faster than
many organisms can
adapt or migrate.

The New Reality


21
st

Century
Conservation



Agriculture, forestry, wildlife, and fisheries are increasingly impacted and require new
management strategies.



Future
ecosystems will be unlike many that exist
now.



Old models of conservation will not work.

The implications of global environmental change

Five realities for the Environmental Century:

1.
The
pace

of ecological change
is accelerating
.

2.
Communities, ecosystems and biomes will
change in fundamental ways
.

3.
Much will be lost.
How much depends on what we do now.

4.
Existing paradigms for preservation and conservation are
inappropriate
.

5.
Adaptation

in food production must
begin now
and
anticipate change
.

S
ustainability
education must
be
the

primary
mission of
higher
education


Full Spectrum
Sustainability

(David Orr)

Oxfam
-

Kate Raworth

The imperative of sustainability in higher education


F
ailure to implement sustainable practices will result in
catastrophic
consequences
that will be irreversible for 1000 years.



Higher education can determine the outcome by training a generation of

solutioneers
.
” As educators, we have an
obligation
to do so.



Unlike any time in the history of higher education, we must now produce
cutting
-
edge practitioners able to
integrate knowledge
from
multiple
disciplines
, and understand social, economic, and resource
tradeoffs

among possible solutions
.




Sustainability Science
-

Identified by the US National Academy of
Science, NSF, and AAAS as the way forward.

Sustainability Science

Based on an integrated and trans
-
disciplinary approach, Sustainability Science
is
education and research programming that seeks to understand
the complexity of
the interactions
among economy
,
society,
and nature in order to propose concrete
solutions to complex problems locally and globally threatening the very survival of
humanity.













cf.,
Orecchini

et al. 2011. Sustainability 3:1855

Sustainability Science
-

a framework for the future

Multidisciplinary

Interdisciplinary

Trans
-
disciplinary


The application of science from many disciplines to develop sustainable
solutions to environmental problems, global and
local.



Trans
-
disciplinary

-

various disciplines are
integrated

through the problem solving
process and
focused on solutions

to real world problems.



Seeks
to understand the dynamics of
coupled human
-
natural systems
.



Defined
by
the solutions
to problems
,
rather than the disciplines employed
.



Relies on a rigorous foundation in the
humanities & social sciences
.


Sustainability Science is not…


intended to replace existing environmental, conservation, and
natural resource programs.


a
n addendum, or a new curriculum, or new degree track.


t
he
mostly failed

interdisciplinary paradigm
of environmental
studies/science.

Sustainability
Science is …


a

new design
of
environmental and natural resource
sciences.


a pedagogy for
how we teach
, a new way of
knowledge delivery
.


f
or training students as
knowledge brokers
; faculty as knowledge
curators.


experiential
, participatory, problem
-
based, and
solution
-
focused
.


integrated

with the humanities and social sciences

S
ustainability Science requires new ways of knowledge
management and decision
-
making

Figure from
Arnim

Wiek
, ASU


Imagine what might happen if
students were
regularly assigned actual
sustainability problems
that were brought
to higher
education by cities,
businesses
, nonprofit
organizations, and other institutions
..
..

Rowe 2007
.

The humanities and social sciences are essential to
build these core competencies


Humanities and social sciences provide


Critical thinking


Written and verbal communication fluency


Media literacy


Understanding of ethical context



These skills are necessary for
problem solving
and

are
in
high demand
by employers

Implementation of Sustainability Science as an
academic framework requires the participation
all

programs at a liberal arts institution.

Building the trans
-
disciplinary process


Explorations at Unity College

Curriculum delivery is problem driven

& solution oriented

Principles of business
management provide
understanding for real
-
world
execution of solutions

College operational sustainability
should be part of the curriculum

Faculty engagement

Undergraduate research is intrinsically Trans
-
disciplinary

Leadership must be aligned at all levels

Resources must be broadly shared among the Silos

Building the trans
-
disciplinary process


Explorations at Unity College

Curriculum delivery problem driven & solution oriented

Principles of business
management provide
understanding for real
-
world
execution of solutions

Experiential

College operational sustainability
should be part of the curriculum

Faculty engagement

Undergraduate research is intrinsically Trans
-
disciplinary

Leadership must be aligned at all levels

Resources must be broadly shared among the Silos

Experiential

Building the trans
-
disciplinary
process


Explorations at Unity College

Curriculum delivery problem driven & solution oriented

Principles of business
management provide
understanding for real
-
world
execution of solutions

Experiential

College operational sustainability
should be part of the curriculum

Faculty engagement

Undergraduate research is intrinsically Trans
-
disciplinary

Leadership must be aligned at all levels

Resources must be broadly shared among the Silos

Flip the classroom: Move content to
other delivery modes and use class time
for experiential programming

Building the trans
-
disciplinary process


Explorations at Unity College

Curriculum delivery problem driven & solution oriented

Principles of business
management provide
understanding for real
-
world
execution of solutions

Experiential

College operational sustainability
should be part of the curriculum

Faculty engagement

Undergraduate research can be intrinsically Trans
-
disciplinary

Leadership must be aligned at all levels

Resources must be broadly shared among the Silos

Building the trans
-
disciplinary process


Explorations at Unity College

Curriculum delivery problem driven & solution oriented

Principles of business
management provide
understanding for real
-
world
execution of solutions

College operational sustainability
should be part of the curriculum

Faculty acceptance, willingness,

& engagement

Leadership must be aligned at all levels

Resources must be broadly shared among the Silos

Building the trans
-
disciplinary process


Explorations at Unity College

Curriculum delivery problem driven & solution oriented

Principles of business
management provide the
means for real
-
world
execution of solutions

Experiential

College operational sustainability
should be part of the curriculum

Faculty engagement

Undergraduate research is intrinsically Trans
-
disciplinary

Leadership must be aligned at all levels

Resources must be broadly shared among the Silos

Building the trans
-
disciplinary process


Explorations at Unity College

Curriculum delivery problem driven & solution oriented

Principles of business
management provide
understanding for real
-
world
execution of solutions

Experiential

College operational sustainability
should be part of the curriculum

Faculty engagement

Undergraduate research is intrinsically Trans
-
disciplinary

Leadership must be aligned at all levels

Resources must be broadly shared among the Silos

Building the trans
-
disciplinary
process


Explorations at Unity College

Curriculum delivery problem driven & solution oriented

Principles of business
management provide
understanding for real
-
world
execution of solutions

Experiential

College operational sustainability
should be part of the curriculum

Faculty engagement

Undergraduate research is intrinsically Trans
-
disciplinary

Leadership must be aligned at all levels

Resources must be broadly shared among the Silos

The arts provide context and
meaning for the human aspects of
Sustainability Science

Building the trans
-
disciplinary process


Explorations at Unity College

Curriculum delivery problem driven & solution oriented

Principles of business
management provide
understanding for real
-
world
execution of solutions

Experiential

College operational sustainability
should be part of the curriculum

Faculty engagement

Undergraduate research is intrinsically Trans
-
disciplinary

Leadership must be aligned at all levels

Resources must be broadly shared among the Silos

Building the trans
-
disciplinary process


Explorations at Unity College

Curriculum delivery problem driven & solution oriented

Principles of business
management provide
understanding for real
-
world
execution of solutions

Experiential

College operational sustainability
should be part of the curriculum

Faculty engagement

Undergraduate research is intrinsically Trans
-
disciplinary

Leadership must be aligned at all levels

Resources and personnel must be broadly shared among The Silos


65% of HS grads go to college



50% begin at two
-
year colleges



57% women



60% attend more than one
college



48% drop out at least once



80% receive financial aid



Only 1 in 5 will go full time and
live on campus

State of “The Industry”

The cost and
financing of
higher education
is unsustainable
for students and
institutions.

The challenge:
mutually
reinforcing disruptive innovations
and constraints


cost of obtaining a Bachelor’s degree


online programming


m
arket impact of for
-
profit institutions


questionable relevance of a Bachelor’s degree


shifting expectations


a clientele that has limited ability to attend class in person


skyrocketing costs of delivery and bricks & mortar


transferable credits from MOOCs


students show declining competence and
literacy

“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the
stormy present”
-

Higher education must be
transformed
.




It really is different this
time


The next 10 years will show a market
shakeout. The number of Liberal Arts institutions has declined 39%
over the last 20 years.



T
he
Value Proposition
must be clarified and linked to
post
-
graduate
success
.



There can be no higher Value
P
roposition
than offering students
effective means to address the sustainability imperatives of the coming
decades.



Employment will not be an issue (!)
for students who have trans
-
disciplinary skills framed by Sustainability Science, supported by the
humanities and social sciences.

The
sustainability
economy is a
growing reality

Brookings Inst. 2011.
Sizing the Green
E
conomy
.

Unlikely extremes

From
Scientific American

Sustainability Science

for a Resilient Future


www.unity.edu