SCC Strategic Planning for the 2016-17 Academic Year

We’ve demonstrated the need. We’ve proved the concept. Our pilot activities were well received. Together, let’s proceed!

SCC’s Leaders and Advisory Council are initiating a strategic planning process for the upcoming academic year. Now is an opportune time for you to share your ideas as we prioritize activities and resources for higher education sustainability curriculum and professional development in 2016-2017 and beyond.

We launched SCC by asking two threshold questions:

  • What is the biggest challenge you face as a sustainability educator?
  • What do you need to support your work as a sustainability educator in terms of faculty and curriculum development?

We will continue to ask these questions to ensure we are meeting the needs of teaching faculty in ESD. We strive to be responsive to the curriculum and faculty development needs of sustainability educators.

As we proceed, SCC is aligning our activities around three key themes:

  • Pedagogy: Innovative approaches for ESD educators
  • Substantive Content: Building capacity and sharing resorces on both the fundamental topics and emerging trends in sustainability
  • Leadership: Understanding the significance of leadership in the ESD context

We are looking for your input specifically on what activities and resources would be of most value to you, your colleagues, and your institutions in developing:

…pedagogy: What pedagogical challenges do you and your colleagues face in developing, delivering, and/or assessing sustainability curriculum? What do you envision in terms of a pedagogy that truly embraces the principles and practices of ESD in higher education? What will it take to address this?

…content: What ideas, processes, or skills do you wish were being taught that aren’t? How could existing content be better connected, contextualized, or applied? What is critical for learners to understand now and in the future?

…leadership: What leadership values and practices are you seeking in your own ESD work? What do you want higher education leaders to know, and how do you see their leadership supporting the goals of ESD?

In other words, we are looking to you, our colleagues in the higher education/ESD community, to help identify the issues, concepts, principles that are of most critical value for SCC to direct its focus in the coming year.

Please use the form on the CONTACT US page of the SCC website with your feedback, suggestions and questions.


The 2030 Development Agenda (SDGs, Paris and Sendai)

              • Online Dialogue process continues through September
              • Registration remains open
              • Video transcript of the three webinars have been posted

SCC’s current Online Dialogue* focuses on the key components of the 2030 Development Agenda: the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Paris Climate Agreement, and Sendai Framework on disaster risk. SCC Director Ira Feldman has organized and will moderate this dialogue to engage leading experts and stakeholders. This professional development offering is based on the premise that teaching faculty in ESD need to understand the fundamentals of these frameworks that will guide sustainable development for the next 15 years.

Registration for this Online Dialogue is still open. You must register to participate in the online Q&A and the co-creation of the synthesis document.  Please see registration information and details on the components of the SCC Online Dialogue below.

Your one-time, no fee, registration for the SCC Online Dialogue process includes access to:

              • live webinars on GoToMeeting® and video transcripts of each session
              • relevant resources identified by expert presenters on the Collaborase™ platform
              • facilitated follow-on Q&A on Collaborase™, and
              • co-creation of a “synthesis document” by all registrants on Collaborase™

Register here:

Process note: Registrants will receive an email before each webinar with GoToMeeting® access codes. Registrants will also receive a separate email invitation to access the Collaborase™ platform.

The first webinar in this Online Dialogue was held Tuesday, July 23, 2PM Eastern.

The first webinar covered the concept of “planetary boundaries” in the Anthropocene as a basis for understanding the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Presenters included Kevin Noone (Stockholm University), a co-author of the seminal Rockstrom planetary boundaries paper; Faye Leone (IISD), the content editor of Earth Negotiations Bulletin; and Ashwani Vasishth (Ramapo College and SCC Advisory Council member), who actively participated in the UN’s SDG stakeholder process.

The video recording for this webinar is available here:

The second webinar was held Tuesday, August 9, 2PM EST.

This second webinar covered elements of the Paris Climate Agreement. Presenters included Mark Trexler (the Climatographers); Wil Burns (the Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment and past president of AESS); and Don Brown (Widener Law School). Selected topics included: the role of business and industry; geoengineering; mitigation, adaptation, and loss & damage; and climate ethics.

The video recording for this webinar is available here:

The third and final webinar was held Tuesday, August 23, 2PM EST


In the final webinar of this series, Debbra A.K. Johnson (DAKJ, LLC and SCC Advisory Council member) and Aris Papadopoulos (founder of the Resilience Action Fund), both leaders in ARISE: the Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies, explained the basics of the Sendai Framework on disaster risk reduction and its relevance to broader sustainability and resilience issues. Debbra and Aris will emphasize the linkages between all three components of the 2030 Development Agenda, which, taken together, can serve as a comprehensive game plan for sustainable development.

The video recording for this webinar is available here:

SCC-AASHE webinar series: Pedagogy in Education for Sustainable Development


The SCC-AASHE webinar series on Pedagogy for ESD was a great success… and video transcripts are now available.

In collaboration with the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), SCC delivered a series of four expert-led webinars on pedagogy in education for sustainable development (ESD). See webinar descriptions below.

The recorded video transcripts of all 4 webinars are now available on the SCC YouTube channel.

Webinar 1: Beyond Science: Framing Sustainability to Welcome All Disciplines
Susan Santone
Description: Colleges and universities trying to integrate sustainability across the curriculum often encounter a common stumbling block: the perception that sustainability is relevant only to environmental science. This false belief can keep non-science faculty away from the table. This webinar will provide participants with a framing of sustainability that creates entry points for all disciplines. The session introduced a set of transdisciplinary concepts and show how ‘overlaying’ these concepts onto existing topics results in a fresh, sustainability-based lens for instruction. Examples from multiple disciplines demonstrated how all faculty can locate sustainability connections to field, setting the stage for integration across the curriculum. The video recording for Webinar 1 is available here.

Webinar 2: Language and Inclusion: Educational leadership practices that enhance learners’ sense of ecological identity and efficacy
Facilitator: Jess Gerrior
Description: How sustainability conversations begin, who is invited to the table, and who is left out can determine how learners – including faculty, students, and other members of learning organizations – identify with and feel motivated to take on the broad issue of sustainability. Sustainability leaders know that it is about more than environmental problem-solving – that generating momentum for sustainable change involves difficult social, economic, and political conversations. What models and methods can educators use to create inviting spaces for learners to develop new and deeper connections to “sustainability”? This webinar was structured as a participatory dialogue/exchange. The video recording for Webinar 2 is available here.

Webinar 3: Sustainability at the Heart of Learning: Aligning sustainability with institutional, departmental, and classroom values for better student outcomes
Facilitator: Jess Gerrior, SCC Director of Learning & Practice
Description: The intellectual work of designing, delivering, and evaluating transdisciplinary sustainability curriculum, together with the practical work of enacting sustainability knowledge and skills in the physical environment are both essential to education for sustainability. But unless the “head” and “hands” are connected with the “heart” – the cultural, sociopolitical, moral values of learning communities – they can only reach so far. In this webinat we exchanged ideas and practices for tapping into what moves educators/leaders – teaching sustainability from the inside out. The video recording for Webinar 3 is available here.

Webinar 4: Course Redesign Strategies
Facilitator: Susan Santone, Creative Change Educational Solutions
Description: ‘Integrating sustainability’ into a course means adapting both content and pedagogy to create a learning experience that is more interdisciplinary, experiential, and focused on authentic problem-solving. How can instructors juggle all of these demands without designing a syllabus from scratch? This session presented a step-wise instructional process for meeting this challenge. This approach, used with colleges and universities across the country, results in high-impact courses that integrate core sustainability concepts; promote civic involvement; and align outcomes, assessment and instruction. Attendees will walk away with a design framework that brings learners through a process of engagement, deep inquiry, decision-making, and positive action. The webinar will illuminate that ‘integrating sustainability’ is fundamentally about effective teaching and learning. Therefore, this session is especially recommended for faculty development specialists—especially those who may falsely believe that sustainability is environmental education. The video recording for Webinar 4 is available here.

If you participated in any of the 4 SCC-AASHE webinars — or if you viewed the webinar video recordings — please click this link to participate in a brief (5-10 minute) survey about your experience.

SCC’s pilot online dialogue:

The UN’s role in sustainability in higher education

SCC facilitated a two-month online dialogue on our Collaborase platform in April and May. The SCC’s online dialogue process includes recommended readings, interactive posts and three scheduled webinars. The webinars included in this online dialogue process featured invited presentations from the international leaders and US participants in these activities.

In this online dialogue, participants explored the lessons learned from such UN initiatives as the UN Decade of Education for Sustainability and the UN SD Education Caucus. Participants gained a better appreciation of the purpose and the outcomes of these UN activities, as well as insight into the themes and pedagogy at their core.

The goal was to identify actionable information and resources developed through these UN initiatives that can inform advances in sustainability in higher education. In the final 10 days of the online dialogue, participants co-created a synthesis document for their further reference and use, and as a contribution to the sustainability education community of practice.

Webinar #1: Session leader Kim Smith of Portland Community College discussed her experiences at recent UN-sponsored education for sustainability events at the international level.

Webinar #2: Session leader Julia Heiss, ESD Team Leader at UNESCO, provided her perspectives on the outcomes of the UN Decade of ESD, and the current UNESCO Global Action Programme on ESD, endorsed by the UN General Assembly in 2014.

Webinar #3: Session leader Melissa Goodall, Associate Director of the Yale Office of Sustainability, discussed the role that higher education institutions can play in advancing more robust solutions to governing the global commons, including through UN initiatives.

Summer Academy for High Schoolers in NYC

SCC, in partnership with the Environic Foundation International (EFI), convened a 5-day Sustainable Societies Academy™ pilot 

The Sustainability Curriculum Consortium (SCC), in partnership with the Environic Foundation International (EFI), convened the Sustainable Societies Academy™ (SSA)  for a one-week pilot at Poly Prep in Brooklyn, NY this August. This program provided talented NYC-area high schoolers having a demonstrated interest in sustainability with a university-level experience with university-level faculty – all SCC Advisory Council members. See full details and a recap of the successful pilot of SSA at the SCC website.  SCC is now recruiting host schools for SSA on a regional basis for Summer 2017.