Internationalizing Sustainability: Resources from NAFSA's 2013 Colloquium


Friday, May 31, 2013

NAFSA’s inaugural colloquium on internationalization and sustainability brought together leaders in the field of sustainability to discuss and define the global competencies and skills we want to cultivate in students, and ways in which faculty can help students achieve these goals. Through a combination of panels, presentations, and group discussions participants learned strategies to build international understandings in sustainability programs and methods for keeping international experiences academically focused and scientifically rigorous. Participants left with examples of desired outcomes for students, faculty, and staff, including the kinds of support mechanisms needed to help faculty internationalize as well as models of successful programs.

NAFSA thanks AT&T, Enterprise Holdings, Saint Louis University Center for Sustainability, and William A. Kerr Foundation for their generous support of the colloquium.

Prensentation Materials

All links are to PDFs Icon PDF 16

Colloquium Program
The program provides the schedule of events, session titles and descriptions, and presenters' names and institutions.

Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus
Mitchell Thomashow, PhD, Director of Presidential Fellows Program, Second Nature, outlined the Nine Elements, highlighting examples from a small, rural college, and drawing on the experiences of the higher education community in Maine and beyond.

Strategies to Build International Understandings in Sustainability Programs
Panelists provided administrator insight into working with faculty to redesign and restructure existing curricular activities to highlight international competencies.

  • Geoffrey Chase, PhD, Dean of Undergraduate Studies; Director, Center for Regional Sustainability, San Diego State University, highlighted the global competencies in student outcomes in sustainability. He provided a broad, national-level context that emphasized leveraging existing faculty-led study/research abroad programs and existing student learning outcomes.
  • A Tale of Two Universities: Sustainability-Based Study Abroad Programs at the University of Georgia and The Ohio State University
    Ronald Hendrick, PhD, Director, School of the Environment and Natural Resources, The Ohio State University, presented two very different case study examples contrasting the operational issues and program management strategies in bottom-up (UGA) and top-down (OSU) academic environments.
  • Catherine A. Leslie, PE, Executive Director, Engineers Without Borders USA spoke on the opportunities for meeting students’ and community needs.

Examining the Core Global Competencies for the Undergraduate Sustainability Curriculum
Panelists explored examples of desired outcomes for students, faculty, and staff; where internationalization fits into the sustainability curriculum; and articulating cross-cultural understandings and a global perspective in their classrooms.

  • Examining the Core Competencies Globally for Undergraduate Sustainability Curriculum
    Tarah Wright, PhD, Director of Environmental Programmes, Dalhousie University, discussed a research project that tried to identify core competencies for graduates of undergraduate university sustainability programs and focused on the skills, knowledge, and attributes focused on internationalization. In addition, she discussed her work with university administrators and faculty in both Canada and abroad that investigates university stakeholders’ conceptualizations of sustainability and the role the university should play in creating a sustainable global future.
  • Implementation of Sustainability (and Globalization) Concepts in Environmental Engineering Curriculums
    John Woolschlager, PhD, Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Saint Louis University, presented the results of a national-level review of how global sustainability principles have been integrated into engineering curricula. His data revealed that few programs exhibited significant curriculum transformation or redesign around global sustainability concepts. The major challenges that prevent progress in global sustainability integration likely include the shifting paradigms around sustainability; rigidity of existing education systems; a lack of new methods of teaching; lack of resources or incentives to teach sustainability; no interdisciplinary structure; and the lack of visionary leaders and champions for sustainability.
  • Defining Core Global Competencies for Sustainability Curriculum
    Masarah Van Eyck, PhD, Director, Science Curriculum Internationalization, College of Agriculture and Life Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison, presented an exemplar case of incorporating the global competencies and skills in the curriculum at Madison. She described the process for articulating the competencies in the program areas—highlighting the need to link the larger goals of the field of sustainability to the student outcomes of the university/institution, and how you engage faculty and staff on this journey.

Exemplars of Integrating Sustainability and Internationalization in the Curriculum
Panelists presented exemplar programs displaying two very different ways of integrating global competencies into coursework.

  • Pathfinder Program at Washington University (Handout)
    Raymond Arvidson, PhD, James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor, Washington University, St. Louis, presented on the Pathfinder Program at Washington University.
  • Illustrating the High Impact of Cross-Cultural Collaboration on Students and Faculty in Higher Education
    John Slater, PhD, Associate Dean, Southern New Hampshire University, and Eileen Hoesly, MBA, Professor of Business Administration and Director, Office of International Students, Hellenic American University, presented an exemplar of effective cross-cultural collaboration among institutions, faculty, and students by describing a hybrid course in sustainability that simultaneously enrolls students from the United States and Greece. It demonstrates the integration of traditional course content and methodologies into high-impact international learning.