Greening of Early Undergraduate Education
Funded by the Henry Luce Foundation from 2003-2006, The Greening of Early Undergraduate Education project was a university-wide effort in environmental education primarily for first-year and second-year undergraduates. Over the three years, the project resulted in innovative modules or full courses that introduced concepts central to environmental literacy and built a learning community of the project faculty. A total of 35 courses have been affected, and the environmental material developed has been integrated permanently to the content of courses ranging from Writing and History to Art and Design to Architecture and Engineering. This innovation continues to touch over 300 students each semester.
Three overarching features were embedded into the courses as foundations for ecological thinking.
- Systems thinking –connections and influences between ideas, people, and communities
- Life cycles and respect for the role of time in nature, human activities, and our lives
- Self as agent and knowledge and uncertainty as a basis for decision making
In addition to working together to design and implement a common assessment scheme for environmental literacy, the “greening” project instructors enhanced their environmental teaching repertoire.