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Sustainability in the Classroom

As a leading polytechnic university, Cal Poly has always offered curriculum related to issues of environment, economy, and social equity. As the awareness of global climate change has created the modern sustainability movement, Cal Poly has worked to continually evolve its academic programs to meet the needs of students, prospective employers, and the global community. Below are resources that support faculty in incorporating sustainbility into the classroom.

Sustainability Catalog

To fulfill sustainability goals set forth by the 2014 CSU Sustainability Policy, Second Nature Climate Commitment, and AASHE STARS a catalog of sustainability focused and related courses and programs was developed, often referred to as SusCat or the Sustainability Catalog. The purpose of this digital resource is threefold; to help student find courses and programs that focus on sustainability, to allow faculty to highlight the courses they teach in sustainability, and to track and grow the list of sustainability offerings in Cal Poly academics.

Courses which teach sustainability in a meaningful way must include at least two of Cal Poly's Sustainability Learning Objectives (SLO's) in their course proposals and syllabus. Instructors wishing to list a course in the Sustainability Catalog should complete this form to begin the review process and email a course syllabus and any other supportive material to suscat@calpoly.edu .

Sustainability Learning Objectives

In 2009, President Warren Baker approved Academic Senate Resolution 688-09, establishing Sustainability Learning Objectives (SLO's) for all Cal Poly graduates. The adoption of these learning objectives, at the same level as University Learning Objectives and Diversity Learning Objectives, signify the importance of sustainability to a polytechnic education, and are intended to guide development of curriculum and academic programs.

Center for Teaching and Learning Technology (CTLT) Sustainability Programs

As part of the Center for Teaching Learning and Technology (CTLT) Sustainability Infusion program, an interdisciplinary team of faculty surveyed students and faculty to understand sustainability knowledge and attitudes across campus, and identify barriers to implementing sustainability-focused instruction at Cal Poly. The team developed metrics on sustainability knowledge and attitudes from campus stakeholder groups, identified sustainability knowledge gaps and differences in attitudes, identified barriers to implementation, and outlined strategies to overcome them. This sustainability research is ongoing and the survey is being updated for a second release.

The CTLT will use the results from this research to inform strategies for increasing the number of courses that include or focus on sustainability. There are a variety of ways faculty can support this work or gain valuable insight on bringing sustainability into their courses. Visit the CTLT website to learn about the sustainability offerings and to get involved.

Campus As A Living Lab (CALL Grants)

The 'Campus as a Living Lab' Grant Program is a unique opportunity to partner faculty and facilities management staff in using the campus as a forum for the exploration of sustainability concepts and theories. The program aligns the California State University's long-standing commitment to sustainability with the fundamental goal of preparing students for the workforce. Visit the CALL website for additional information regarding the grant program.