Goals and Rationale
Why do students take Sustainability courses?
UCCS is deeply committed to a sustainable future for all humans and the planet we share. As part of this commitment, we require all students to take a course that discusses sustainability to help them better understand the interaction between human development and the natural environment. In some courses, the discussion of sustainability is deeply integrated into the practices of that career or field of study while other courses approach sustainability from a broader disciplinary perspective.
In sustainability courses, students will learn about key principles of sustainability including social equity, environmental protection, and economic development, among others. Ideally, students will gain knowledge that helps them to promote sustainability in their place of employment (e.g. support diversity, environmental activities such as recycling, reduction of waste, etc.).
Students must take one course to meet their "sustainability" requirement.
Sustainability is a part of the Compass Goals approved in by faculty in 2010.
Goal 3) Act and Interact. Students will cultivate self-awareness and understanding of their impact-locally, nationally, and globally. Students will be prepared to participate effectively in a society that encompasses diverse experiences, perspectives, and realities. This area includes [among others]: Sustainability - understanding the interaction between human development and the natural environment"
In order to achieve the terms of this goal, students will learn about key principles of sustainability including social equity, environmental protection, and economic development, among others. The sustainability goal will be achieved by integrating teaching about sustainability within discipline-specific coursework and/or other general education components, or in general elective courses. Integrated content and/or courses will vary across disciplines and will examine the integrative nature of the sustainability concept to their disciplinary work. Ideally, students will gain knowledge about how to promote sustainability in their place of employment (e.g. support diversity, environmental activities such as recycling, reduction of waste, etc.).
Outcomes and Requirements
Sustainability Courses help students learn about:
- The history of human-nature interaction
- The long-term consequences of human interaction with nature
Essential Learning Outcomes:
- Explain sustainable practices and impacts relative to the interaction between human development and the natural world.
- Gather, critically analyze and evaluate quantitative information within relevant disciplinary contexts.
- Gather, critically analyze and evaluate qualitative information within relevant disciplinary contexts.
- Apply and integrate knowledge from a range of disciplines, including interdisciplinary or cross-disciplinary research.
All Sustainability Courses should:
- Require students to articulate or apply learning about sustainability in at least one course assignment or activity.
- Have a significant portion (minimally 25-30%) of the course concepts, assignments, case studies, context, lectures, readings, or other required course elements teach about sustainability.
Sustainability Courses help students at UCCS understand implications of Earth’s natural support systems:
- Sustainability can be defined as the use of resources in a way that those resources will be available for everyone today and for future generations.
- Commonly, sustainability is viewed through the lens of the interaction between human development and the natural environment.
- Just as importantly, aspects of Sustainability such as social equity, environmental protection, and economic development are part of the definition of Sustainability.
Sustainability Courses may address topics such as:
- The interaction of humans with the environment with the goal of making the Earth a long-term viable support system for its inhabitants.
- Equitable access to essential resources for all people or the exposure of some groups of population to higher levels of pollutants.
- Examinations of the physical systems like climate that support humans and the impact that humans have on those systems.
- Discussion of the economic inequalities that affect human use of environmental systems and the commodification of ecosystem functions.