Community & Friends

UTLC Academic Sustainability Coordinator and Fellowship Program

Posted on Wednesday, January 21st, 2015 by CommunityEngagement.

The UNCG University Teaching and Learning Commons (UTLC) is accepting applications for an Academic Sustainability Coordinator and Sustainability Faculty Fellow. Applications are due January 26, 2015.

Context

The University of North Carolina System has adopted policies that require each school to develop comprehensive initiatives to address sustainability. UNCG considers sustainability in the context of: environmental threats (e.g. pollution, the loss of biodiversity, climate change brought about by anthropogenic global warming), economic problems and possibilities (from fiscal constraints to the opportunities of increased efficiency), concerns of social equity (which raise questions about ethics and justice), and the desire to live a good life that is rich in esthetics (and that respects myriad forms of culture). Sustainability is not limited by any particular discipline, and it is both a local and a global approach to problems and solutions.

Given the limits of the planet and the constraints of our natural and social environments, we must change the way we meet our current needs so that future generations will be able to meet their own needs. The contemporary Western model of education has contributed to, even caused, the problems that sustainability advocates seek to address. It is thus reasonable to change this educational model from within in order to incorporate the values of sustainability, as UNCG did in our 2009-2014 Strategic Plan and as is outlined further in UNCG’s Climate Action Plan. But academic institutions alone are not the sole drivers of this approach to sustainability; students and parents believe it is important as well. Robust national data show that approximately 39% of incoming freshmen believe it is “essential” or “very important” to adopt environmental practices, and approximately 60% of prospective students and their parents say that sustainability issues contribute (“strongly,” “very much” or “somewhat”) to their decision to apply to or attend a school.

The Academic Sustainability Coordinator and Sustainability Faculty Fellows are central to UNCG’s efforts to achieve climate neutrality and mitigate the environmental impact of our campus, to foster innovative research that contributes to local and global sustainability initiatives, and to create an educational experience that provides students with sustainability literacy.

Mission

The mission of the Academic Sustainability Coordinator is to lead the development of sustainability in the academic trust by increasing the quantity and improving the quality of sustainability outreach, teaching, and research activities at UNCG.

The Academic Sustainability Coordinator (ASC) accomplishes this mission through campus leadership and through the development of educational programs and research opportunities for campus and community partners. Work includes administrative and service activities, community outreach and collaboration, cooperative initiatives with staff and administration, faculty development, scholarly and creative activity, student-centered programming, and teaching and curricular activity. The ASC serves on the University Sustainability Council, which body serves as a sounding board for the initiatives the ASC pursues. The ASC is a 2-year renewable position that has a joint appointment: 50% as a tenured faculty member in an academic department, and 50% as a direct report to the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor. The ASC must be a full-time faculty member. The ASC is remunerated through course releases from the Provost, determined in consultation with the faculty member’s department head and dean; such remuneration is usually in the form of course buyouts (at $3500/course, for half of the faculty member’s teaching load) and a redirection of the service workload to sustainability-focused activities.

The Sustainability Faculty Fellowship Program promotes collaboration among scholarly disciplines in order to encourage the integration of sustainability in research and teaching across the campus. Up to six Sustainability Faculty Fellows (SFFs) will partner with the ASC to further academic sustainability in the three areas outlined below (Leadership/Outreach, Teaching, and Research). SFFs work on clearly specified projects that may include, but are not limited to, 1) co- or extra-curricular campus programs, 2) curriculum activities (including team-taught and individual courses), and 3) research projects or collaborations. (See also below for specific topics of interest for the coming academic year.) The SFF is a 1-year position renewable through re-application. An SFF may be either tenured, tenure- track, or full-time non-ladder faculty. Each SFF is remunerated on an ad hoc basis in consultation with the faculty member’s department head and dean; remuneration may include a course release, research or travel funding, graduate assistant support, project budgets, or other mutually agreed upon non-financialresources. (While each SFF may receive funding of no more than $3500, actual budget allocations will usually be considerably less.)

The responsibilities of the ASC and SFFs are:

Leadership / Outreach for Sustainability

  1. Collaborating with the Office of Sustainability to bridge academic and operational sustainability.
  2. Engaging the campus, Greensboro, Triad, and beyond in sustainability discussions.
  3. Co-Managing the Internet resources sustainability.uncg.edu and sustainabilityfaculty-l@uncg.edu.
  4. Serving on relevant committees and in collaboration with appropriate campus initiatives.
  5. Leading the Clover Project.
  6. Serving on the executive committee of the University Sustainability Council (ASC only).
  7. Leading the Sustainability Faculty Fellowship Program (ASC only).

Teaching for Sustainability

  1. Collaborating with individual faculty, programs, and departments to integrate sustainability.
  2. Teaching/Co-Teaching “Introduction to Sustainability Studies” each fall and spring semester.
  3. Collaborating with the Residential Colleges to infuse sustainability throughout the RC curriculum.
  4. Collaborating on the annual Faculty Workshop on Sustainability in the Curriculum.
  5. Coordinating the Sustainability Film & Discussion Series.
  6. Serving on the Faculty Committee of the Environmental and Sustainability Studies Program.
  7. Serving as a consultant to departments and faculty and/or guest lecturer in classes.

Research for Sustainability

  1. Fostering an intellectual context conducive to sustainability research and creative activity.
  2. Leading the Sustainability Research Network.
  3. Pursuing internal collaborative funding.
  4. Pursuing external funding (one application per year required).

Qualifications

Academic Sustainability Coordinator:

  1. Strong communication & interpersonal skills that foster collaboration.
  2. Successful teacher.
  3. Terminal degree.
  4. Accomplished academic career (at the level of an associate or full professor, i.e. tenured).
  5. Experienced leader regarding sustainability in higher education.

Sustainability Faculty Fellow:

  1. Strong communication & interpersonal skills that foster collaboration.
  2. Successful teacher.
  3. Advanced degree (terminal degree preferred, but not required).
  4. Demonstrated interest in relevant research and creative activity.

Instructions for Applying

The ASC and the SFFs are internal appointments available to continuing UNCG faculty.Applications are evaluated by the Sustainability Council and UTLC with appointments made by the Provost. For positions starting in August 2015 (AY 2015-16), the application deadline is January 26, 2015. Submit via email three PDF attachments (cover letter, CV, and support letter) to both of the 2014-15 Sustainability Council Co-Chairs, Scott Milman <slmilman@uncg.edu> and Dr. Stephen Holland <sphollan@uncg.edu>. Please address any questions (regarding projects, budgets, course releases, unit approvals, etc.) to Academic Sustainability Coordinator Dr. Aaron Allen <asallen@uncg.edu>.

To apply for the ASC, submit a cover letter and CV, and include a short letter of support signed by the faculty member’s dean and department head; the letter of support must state their approval of the application and express support for releasing some portion of the applicant’s teaching and service time. The letter should 1) address the candidate’s strengths with regard to the qualifications and responsibilities outlined above, 2) identify the candidate’s particular experiences relevant for the position, and 3) outline a brief vision for academic sustainability at UNCG.

To apply for the SFF, submit a cover letter and CV, and include a short letter of support signed by the faculty member’s dean and department head stating their approval of the application. The letter should 1) address the candidate’s strengths with regard to the qualifications outlined above, 2) identify as strengths any of the responsibilities outlined above, and 3) propose one (or more) sustainability-focused project(s) to pursue during AY 2015-16 (the SFF candidate should also indicate if potential future years are anticipated or if the project is likely limited to one academic year). In this first year of SFFs, the Program is particularly interested in the following topics:

  • film (i.e. the Sustainability Film & Discussion Series),
  • curriculum development (i.e. in UNCG’s Residential Colleges and in collaboration with the UTLC)
  • faculty development (i.e. faculty workshops),
  • global engagement (i.e. connecting with the efforts of the QEP),
  • creativity (i.e. scholarly or expressive endeavors in the arts and humanities), and
  • research (i.e. the Sustainability Research Network).

In the case of a collaborative SFF application, candidates may either submit separate requests that clearly references the partner’s (or partners’) application(s), or they may submit a joint cover (or letters) from the collaborators’ dean(s) and department head(s).