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Courses & Research

Sustainability Across the Curriculum Workshop 

There is a strong desire amongst many students and some faculty and administrative staff at Colorado College to add a sustainability learning designation to give credence to the sustainability components learned in the unique liberal arts curriculum at CC.  Likewise, sustainability reporting metrics such as the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS®), Princeton Review, and Sierra Magazine are increasingly looking to the number of courses with sustainability components as a measure of a college’s commitment and relevancy to real-world issues.

Additionally, according to the Princeton Review’s College Hopes and Worries Survey, 63% of prospective college students indicated that having information about a college’s sustainability commitment would impact their decision to apply to or attend a school (this number has been estimated to be closer to 80% by CC Admissions).

Finally, increasing sustainability in the formal curriculum is a decisive part of The Colorado College Plan: Building on the Block – a document that grew out of all-college discussions during The Year of Listening.

This workshop is designed to create courses that meet the above goals and create attractive courses for students at CC.  Team-teaching across trans-disciplinary concepts is supported and encouraged.

Objectives and outcomes:

Participants will engage in exercises that foster a broad and deep understanding of sustainability, including reflection, field trips, and group discussion to support the development of a greater sense of place.  At the end of the workshop, participants will have an outline or course module that achieves one of the following:

  • Integrates a module of broad sustainability into an existing course
  • Develops a sustainability focus within an existing course
  • Creates a new course that includes or focuses on sustainability 

Opportunities and expectations:

Participants are eligible for a total stipend of $1000.  $500 will be payable upon completion of the workshop; an additional $500 will be payable upon acceptance of the course design with a target set for a year from the workshop date.

In addition to adding sustainability offerings in the formal curriculum, participants are also developing a network of faculty members with knowledge, experience, and training in sustainability across the curriculum.  Participants will become “Faculty Sustainability Scholars” who will help grow the network and mentor the incoming cohort of Scholars the following academic year.

The Office of Sustainability will host luncheons for Faculty Sustainability Scholars at least once per semester to continue networking and course development, share successes and failures, and engage in innovative presentations from various speakers related to this project.

Participants will have the opportunity to review future applicants and participate in the design and administration of future workshops, thereby creating a network of Faculty Sustainability Scholars that spans programs and time.

Scholars are expected to participate for the entire two-day workshop, scheduled to take place May 14th and 15th, immediately following 8th block.

Applications are due April 10, 2015    DOWNLOAD AN APPLICATION

For more information, contact Ian Johnson, Sustainability Director, at or x6025

Academic Sustainability Designation


In order to implement recommendations from the Stategic Knowledge Development process conducted in 2013-14 and in support of The Colorado College Plan: Building on the Block, Colorado College is developing a sustainability designation so that students may refer to specific learning objectives completed during their education at the college. Recommendations from the report to implement this designation are as follows:

The goal of sustainability education at CC is to fully and creatively utilize the strengths of the Block Plan in order to empower students to investigate the relationships between social, economic, and environmental challenges, particularly as they apply to our communities. Through a liberal arts education, sustainability studies at CC should strengthen our relationship to the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains as well as the broader human economy and the larger ecosystem in which it is embedded. 

Sustainability offerings will be divided into two categories [following The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) guidelines]:

    • Sustainability-focused courses (T1) explicitly concentrate on at least three of the following topics and the potential relationships between them;
    • Sustainability-related courses (T2) focus on one of the following topics and perhaps contemplate connections to other topics:


    • Investigation and evaluation of the complex global systems in which sustainability exist (e.g. laws, economics and policies) 
    • Philisophical or theoretical frameworkds through which to view environmental and sustainability issues
    • Historical phenomena and patterns that have produced modern sustainability issues
    • Social justice, environmental justice, and other equity concerns, including investigation of the complex social networks and dynamics of power that can perpetuate and complicate sustainability issues 
    • Possibilities for innovative connections between sustainability and different academic disciplines (e.g. Film and New Medua Studies, Music, English)
    • Understanding of, and critical thinking about the scientific method and how science can be applied to understanding natural systems and environmental issues 
    • Practice in technical and scientific skills and how they can be used to generate solutions to small and large scale sustainability challenges 
    • Practice in social and communication skills and how they can be used to generate solutions to small and large scale sustainability challenges 
    • Analysis and composition in literature, creative writing, design, visual arts, music and other art forms that can be used to generate solutions to small and large-scale sustainability challenges 
    • Analysis of and engagement with other cultural perspectives to build an understanding around how they relate to sustainability 
    • Development of a "Sense of Place," including a better understanding of the many possible connections to one's surroundings and community 
    • Research or course activities that encourage engagement with our communities to help them flourish 
    • Research or course activities that focus on self-reflection (e.g. resource usage, waste generation, travel footprint, etc.)