Goal 1

Integrate sustainability into a University of Richmond education.

New ways of thinking and doing are required to develop solutions to the grand challenges that face humanity today, including climate change, food insecurity, water scarcity, poverty, and loss of biodiversity. To adequately address such multifaceted concepts, diverse ways of knowing must be brought together, bridging academic fields and building interdisciplinary partnerships. Educating for sustainability also presents an opportunity to further transform the University into a living laboratory, providing students with real-world applications for sustainability theory that support the University’s operational goals.

Integrating sustainability into a University of Richmond education means building upon the significant efforts already underway to ensure that all students have access to sustainability-related courses and research opportunities, thereby strengthening our ability to prepare students for “lives of purpose, thoughtful inquiry, and responsible leadership in a diverse world.”

Strategies & Actions

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  • Strategy 1.1 Increase the opportunity for University of Richmond students to engage in coursework focused on sustainability.

    1.1.1 Across the five schools, support the efforts of faculty, staff, and students working to grow the number of courses that focus on a holistic concept of sustainability (including social, economic, and environmental dimensions) or examine an issue or topic using sustainability as a lens.

    1.1.2 Provide support for faculty, staff, and students who seek to explore incorporation of sustainability into common learning experiences, including the general education curriculum.

    1.1.3 Support the efforts of faculty, staff, and students who are exploring the development of a formal sustainability education program, including a minor in sustainability.

    1.1.4 Investigate the establishment of an ‘s-designation’ for sustainability courses to enhance the rigor of the sustainability course tracking system and increase the visibility of new and existing sustainability courses.

    1.1.5 Develop UR-specific resources that outline and measure the sustainability knowledge, attributes, and skills a student is expected to demonstrate through completion of a sustainability-related course, program, or unit.

  • Strategy 1.2 Support the integration of sustainability into co-curricular initiatives and high-impact educational practices, including first year experience, themed semesters, living learning communities, undergraduate research, study abroad, community-based learning, internships, and capstone courses.

    1.2.1 Further develop a University of Richmond sustainability living lab program that connects coursework, research, and campus services and operations.

    1.2.2 Partner with Living-Learning Programs, the Center for Civic Engagement, Study Abroad, Student Development, and other campus departments to increase awareness of and participation in sustainability-related immersive educational programs.

    1.2.3 Partner with the Office of Alumni and Career Services and Academic Advising to increase the profile and number of sustainability-related career opportunities available to students, including job listings, internships, career fairs, and networking opportunities.

  • Strategy 1.3 Strengthen connections and establish incentive structures to support scholarship and teaching across different academic programs and disciplines engaged in sustainability.

    1.3.1 Provide resources to help faculty enhance their ability to develop academic initiatives and conduct research related to sustainability, especially across disciplines and in collaboration with others.

    1.3.2 Support interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching on innovative topics that address global, systemic problems, including climate change, water scarcity, loss of biodiversity, and land use.

    1.3.3 Provide professional development opportunities in sustainability education to assist faculty in all disciplines in creating or reworking sustainability courses and learning outcomes.

    1.3.4 Appoint a sustainability faculty fellow to support sustainability research and the integration of sustainability into the curriculum.