Developing the Content for a Sustainability Curriculum at The Ohio State University
Creators:Bullock, Clair E.
Advisor:Hitzhusen, Gregory E.
sustainability in higher education
sustainability in the university curriculum
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. School of Environment and Natural Resources Honors Theses; 2014
As one of the largest universities in the nation, The Ohio State University (OSU) has recently been recognized for several achievements in sustainability. Despite its national recognition, a recent annual OSU sustainability survey indicated that many OSU students are not as knowledgeable about sustainability concepts as the university would like. In response, university decision makers aim to further enhance student sustainability comprehension and awareness by creating an online curriculum that will reinforce the most essential concepts of sustainability. This thesis project examined and recommended best content for this curriculum through a literature review and through a series of semi-structured interviews and iterative conversations with key sustainability stakeholders and educators at OSU. A participatory development process was used to identify and summarize the main sustainability definitions, concepts, and resources that the OSU sustainability community recommends as most important for inclusion in an OSU sustainability curriculum. It was found that Ecology, Biodiversity, Energy, Justice/Equity, Community, Growth, and Externalities, were among the top environmental, social, and fiscal stewardship concepts recommended. Critical Thinking/Bigger Picture, Systems Thinking, and Societal Change were the most commonly selected recommendations for sustainability as a whole. This research recommends a complex definition of sustainability to be included in the curriculum: “Sustainability is a condition that allows humans and other species to flourish and thrive in perpetuity within the carrying capacity of the earth, and in which individuals are not burdened unjustly by the actions of others. To achieve this sustainable condition, we must act in a way that perennially guards against significant risks to survival, which in part means finding a balance between the environmental, social, and economic components of a system. This balance is necessary if we are to flourish and thrive in the present without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same.”
Academic Major: Environmental Policy and Decision Making
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