The Sustainability Faculty Fellows - also known as the Sustainability Learning Communities project - project provides support for those faculty members at McGill who value education for sustainability by identifying, connecting and enhancing their efforts; it transforms coursework so that all McGill students can emerge as critical and engaged citizens as per the goals of Vision 2020. This project creates a network of faculty learning communities (FLCs) that enable instructors to take an inquiry-guided learning approach to discover how best to integrate sustainability into courses and programs.
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Determining how to integrate sustainability into coursework is a complex process which requires instructors to have the time and support necessary for designing or redesigning their courses and programs in ways that promote meaningful student learning. One strategy being considered throughout this process by the Sustainability Faculties Fellows project is Inquiry-guided learning; a range of strategies used to promote learning through students' active, and increasingly independent, investigation of questions, problems and issues, often for which there is no single answer.*
McGill University is home to hundreds of faculty, staff and students, many of whom are involved in education, teaching and learning about social, economic and ecological well-being. The Sustainability Faculty Fellows program provides support for the faculty at McGill who value education for sustainability; it is needed to help identify, connect and enhance their efforts. This program works to ensure that students emerge from McGill as critical and engaged citizens with the knowledge, skills and perspectives necessary to address the grand challenges of the 21st century - as per Vision 2020 goals.
To achieve this, resources from the SPF are being used to develop a strategy to create Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs). FLCs are groups of trans-disciplinary faculty, graduate students and professional staff groups of roughly 6-15 people. These groups engage in an active, collaborative, yearlong program with a curriculum about enhancing teaching and learning; they conduct frequent seminars and activities that promote learning, development, transdisciplinarity, the scholarship of teaching and learning, and community building.
Co-chairs Lilith Wyatt and Marcy Slapcoff have developed a draft plan which will run from June 2014-May 2015. In preparation for this, the SPF has provided the necessary resources for operations and personnel. Research and analysis will be primarily in the hands of a graduate student, while a Project Officer will serve as the bridge between TLS, MOOS and the various Faculties involved.
Sustainability, a theme that cuts across all disciplines, provides the ideal opportunity for scaling up these inquiry-guided approaches to educational development and creating a network of FLCs that investigates how to promote sustainability within a vast range of pedagogical contexts.
* Lee, V. (Ed.) (2004). Teaching and learning through inquiry: A guidebook for institutions and instructors. Sterling, VI: Stylus Publishing, p. 5.
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