Virtual Integrating Sustainability in the Curriculum Workshop a Success

You are here

Lehigh develops generations of future leaders and an important part of leadership development is educating students about sustainability, no matter what their major. Given the pressing global environment challenges we are facing, having exposure to sustainability concepts is becoming ever more important. Additionally, employers are increasingly emphasizing sustainability competencies even for jobs that aren't explicitly focused on sustainability.

In 2018, the Office of Sustainability and Lehigh Sustainability Council established an ongoing program that offers incentives for faculty to develop new sustainability courses and/or incorporate sustainability into existing courses. This is part of Lehigh's Campus Sustainability Plan 2020 goals. The Office of Sustainability and the Education Subcommittee of the LSC recently hosted the second curricular integration workshop entitled, "Educating Future Leaders: Integrating Sustainability in the Curriculum" on May 4. This workshop was open to all faculty, including Professors of Practice. A $500 stipend was be provided upon completion of the full virtual workshop and successful revision of their syllabus.

Over the course of the virtual workshop participants:

  • Reimagined how courses of all kinds can better incorporate environmental responsibility, social equity and financial inclusion content with the goal of providing future leaders the education and skills necessary to achieve sustainable communities and societies
  • Identified opportunities to utilize the campus as a living laboratory by bridging theory to practice
  • Learned about eight ways to integrate sustainability content into any course
  • Covered campus resources available to assist you in integrating content into your course(s)

Twenty faculty joined Katharine Targett Gross, Lehigh's Sustainability Officer, and Dr. Barbara Malt, Director of the Cognitive Science Program and member of the Lehigh Sustainability Council Education Subcommittee, for the virtual, day-long workshop to gain insight, resources, and support for integrating sustainability into their syllabi. "Despite hosting the workshop in a virtual format, the participants were engaged and it resulted in faculty thinking about sustainability in new ways as it related to their own courses," said Katharine Targett Gross. 

Sustainability is about much more than just the environment and those that work in the field think of it as the "Three P's": people, planet, and profit. In other words, sustainability also includes social equity and economic prosperity. When this definition is expanded, it is much more tangible to understand how sustainability permeates through every field. "It was rewarding to see the interest in this topic from faculty across the range of disciplines at Lehigh. Their participation will help reach our goal of exposing students in all majors to sustainability and helping them see how it related to their future careers," said Dr. Barbara Malt.

Another integrating sustainability in the curriculum workshop will be hosted during the 2020-2021 academic year. Stay tuned for additional details and learn more about sustainability in LU Academics and Research. If you have any questions or would like curricular integration resources, please contact