Logan, Patrick, A
Sustainability, Higher Education, Climate Change
In the years to come changes in the earth’s climate, human demographics and resource availability will necessitate revolutions in what we eat, where we live, how we travel, and how we produce the energy needed to power our society. While these transitions may be inevitable, we have some measure of control over when and how we adapt. Such efforts will require long-term thinking of a type seldom provided by those focused on the next election or quarterly report. Much of the responsibility to inform and promote action on these issues will fall on academia.
The main objective of this project is to find out whether or not our nation’s colleges and universities are up to this task. To that end I have researched the course offerings at dozens of institutions of higher education in a search for curricula related to issues of sustainability. Relevant courses from all types of schools and departments are stored in an online database that includes links to hundreds of courses and departments across the United States. This data makes it easier to see what types of courses are being offered and what types of programs and departments are offering them. It also allows us to see which universities are taking the lead in developing these new types of courses and which are falling behind. Furthermore, it enables us to study the level of interaction between those offering instruction in different relevant disciplines. Our findings may be used to make suggestions for improved course offerings at this and other universities, as information gathered from schools that offer great quality and quantity of transitional curricula will be available to those institutions that do not.