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Faculty conference on sustainability in higher ed to be held in Pittsburgh

This conference will focus on pedagogy, content and leadership to support faculty who are teaching sustainability topics at the college and university level. Image: Penn State
May 16, 2018

PITTSBURGH, Pa. — The second annual Sustainability Curriculum Consortium Faculty Conference will be held on June 25–26 at the Penn State Center in Pittsburgh. The conference will focus on pedagogy, content and leadership to support faculty who are teaching sustainability topics at the college and university level, whether in the sciences, the humanities or arts and design.

The two-day event will include panels, workshops, roundtables and facilitated dialogue with an emphasis on peer-to-peer exchange. The conference is cohosted by the Sustainability Curriculum Consortium (SCC) and Penn State’s Sustainability Institute and is sponsored by Covestro. The event kicks off on Sunday night, June 24, with an informal welcome reception.

“We are extremely fortunate to be hosting the conference in Pittsburgh this year,” said Peter Buckland, academic programs manager at Penn State’s Sustainability Institute and co-organizer of the conference. “It is one of America’s leading cities on sustainability and resilience. Pittsburgh has city planners working on innovative storm water infrastructure, restaurants sourcing from local organic farms, and the Phipps Conservatory, one of the highest performance buildings in the United States.”

The Phipps Conservatory website claims that its campus has “the most energy-efficient and healthy built environments in the world.”

The conference’s keynote speaker is David Orr, the Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics Emeritus and senior adviser to the president of Oberlin College. Currently he is a trustee of the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado and the Children and Nature Network.

A number of other national sustainability leaders will be presenting at the conference, including Chris Boone, dean of the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University; Julian Dautremont-Smith, director of programs for the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE); and Kim Smith, of Portland Community College and co-founder of the Greater Portland Sustainability Education Network. Adding to the mix of experts, local sustainability leaders will also be presenting, including Grant Irvin, Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Pittsburgh, and Joylette Portlock, executive director of Pittsburgh-based Communitopia.

“This year we’re emphasizing interactive sessions and workshops,” said Ira Feldman, founder and managing director of SCC and co-organizer of the conference. “Sessions of particular note in a packed agenda include an international perspectives panel to be led by Kim Smith, a hands-on workshop on the SULITEST (a Sustainable Literacy Test), a workshop on incorporating the Sustainable Development Goals in the classroom, and a dialogue on diversity and inclusion. All sessions will encourage attendees to exchange their own experiences with peers while learning from other leading academics practitioners.”

Registration for the conference is available online. Questions about the conference can be sent to Peter Buckland at pdb118@psu.edu.

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