Teaching

Sustainability

Both a hot topic in news reports and a focal point of interest for many undergraduates, sustainability (with all its component associations, such as climate change) can function like a special topic overlaid onto traditional college material. Its presence can enhance student interest in the disciplinary material, so it can be worthwhile to consider goosing student motivation by including sustainability in the curriculum.

The inclusion can take multiple formats. One possibility is to include a sustainability option in your list of projects for the semester (students prefer to have a choice in which project they work on). Or you could include readings on sustainability as they relate to your discipline, thereby making sustainability a discrete portion of the content of the course. Even brief mentions of sustainability, such as test questions or mini-scenarios, can have an impact on student interest and inherent motivation.