IU faculty awarded Sustainability Course Development Fellowships

  • April 15, 2014


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Six Sustainability Course Development Fellowships have been awarded to Indiana University Bloomington faculty by the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs, the Office of Sustainability and the Integrated Program in the Environment.

This year's recipients are:

  • Stephanie Kane, professor, Department of International Studies, School of Global and International Studies, for her proposed course "Nature and the City: RIVERS"
  • Scott Shackelford, assistant professor, Department of Business Law and Ethics, Kelley School of Business, for "Global Business Immersion: Sustainability in Australia and New Zealand"
  • Jim Capshew, associate professor, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, College of Arts and Sciences, "Arborescence: Keeping Trees in Mind"
  • James Farmer and Doug Knapp, assistant professors, Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Studies, School of Public Health, for "Making Sense of Sustainability: Semester in the Environment"
  • Majed Akhter and Darren Ficklin, assistant professors, Department of Geography, College of Arts and Sciences, for "Water Security and Sustainability"
  • Stacey Brown, lecturer, Department of English, College of Arts and Sciences, for "Nature and the Narrative 'I': Reading, Writing and (Re)Connecting With the Environment"

"In a highly competitive pool, these applications stood out as timely, reflective and innovative contributions to IU's growing curriculum in sustainability," said Phaedra Pezzullo, a professor in the Department of Communication and Culture and co-chair of the IU Office of Sustainability’s Education and Research Working Group. "They also represent teaching across the curriculum, including multiple schools, which shows how the challenge of moving toward a more sustainable world involves diverse disciplinary perspectives from all corners of the university."

Kane’s proposal seeks to educate students on the existence and importance of cities settled on rivers, as well as the relationships those cities’ inhabitants have with the rivers. Students will participate in an applied ethnographic research course with two parts: a service-learning seminar at IU Bloomington and an overseas summer program based in a river city. Kane plans to engage students in the reimagining of city/river relationships through a more sustainable lens.

Shackelford’s proposal builds on an existing course on “Sustainability Law and Policy” and takes students overseas to Australia and New Zealand, two countries that stand out both for their vulnerability to climate change and for their ambitious sustainability goals. The global business immersion course will provide a comparative study of law and policy practices in relation to sustainability. It is designed for undergraduate students in the Kelley School of Business and the new Environmental and Sustainability Studies program.

Capshew’s course will provide students with an interdisciplinary introduction to the study of trees. The course will focus on trees’ roles in the Earth’s ecosystem and their relationships with humanity through the necessities they provide and their relevance to human culture. Capshew plans to teach the course through a combination of service-learning and group activities, guest presentations and a diverse array of media.

Akhter's and Ficklin’s advanced course combines geopolitical and ecological perspectives to educate individuals on water security and sustainability through a case study approach. Students will address a real-world water security issue in their final group project, utilizing the skills and knowledge derived during earlier teachings.

Brown’s English course will provide students access to the natural world through literature with a goal of facilitating a stronger relationship between students and the environment. Incorporating a strong component of field trips to wild areas surrounding the campus, students will learn how literature and outdoor experience inform attitudes towards the environment, as well as how to shift those attitudes for positive change and proactive sustainability behaviors.

Farmer's and Knapp’s proposal integrates a series of undergraduate courses to develop a focused semester of sustainability coursework, four classes taken together, that will be available for undergraduate students pursuing the outdoor recreation, parks and human ecology major. The courses will expose students to ecology, environment and sustainability issues, fostering a greater knowledge of local species, systems and human ecological interactions. Instructors will use place-based teaching that takes students out of the indoor classroom and into their natural environments.

"I am very pleased to see the strong response from across campus," said Jeff White, professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs and director of the Integrated Program in the Environment. "The winning proposals represent a major step forward for our efforts to expand course offerings in environmental and sustainability studies on the Bloomington campus."

About the Sustainability Course Development Fellowships

The fellowship represents an instructional component of a broad-based initiative originally developed by the Indiana University Task Force on Campus Sustainability and now supported by the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs, the Office of Sustainability and, most recently, the Integrated Program in the Environment. It is intended to provide support for individual faculty members interested in expanding their teaching into topics related to sustainability and environmental stewardship.

Fellowships were awarded for the first time in 2009. Development of innovative approaches to instruction of complex, interdisciplinary sustainability topics at both undergraduate and graduate levels of instruction is supported. Service-learning courses and those that involve application of principles of sustainability to the IU Bloomington campus have been of particular interest.

This year, the fellowship competition will support the development of a new, interdisciplinary undergraduate program on Environmental and Sustainability Studies, a joint degree program sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

Related Links

Sustainable product design course

Bill Brown, IU Bloomington director of sustainability, talks with students in a sustainable product design course that was created with help from a Sustainability Course Development Fellowship.

Print-Quality Photo

Media Contacts

Katherine Glaser

  • IU Bloomington Office of Sustainability
  • Office 812-855-2678
  • keglaser@indiana.edu