Teaching Sustainability Initiative


The Office of Planning, Sustainability and Project Management along with the CCSE Education and Research Subcommittee are pleased to host the Teaching Sustainability Initiative’s Course Development program. In its fourth year, this program is intended to intentionally grow UIC’s sustainability course offerings to all students.

The Teaching Sustainability Initiative is a one-day program that provides faculty of all subject areas an overview on how to amend and/or create curricula to include sustainability concepts. The workshop explores how we can meaningfully integrate sustainability — broadly defined — into our classrooms, as well as access to a network of experienced instructors who provide assistance and feedback to formulate a dynamic syllabus and curriculum.

Program Objectives

The Teaching Sustainability Course Development program objectives:

  • Comprehensive working definition of sustainability.
  • Framework for understanding the components of sustainability and how each relates to your background and expertise.
  • List of readings and short videos to use in your class(es).
  • Learning outcomes for classes.
  • Internal and external sustainability resources
  • Draft exercises that you might use in your class(es) and examples of how other instructors have incorporated sustainability into their courses. View the previous years’ cohorts syllabi.
  • Opportunities for exploring sustainability on campus through the landscape, buildings, operations, transportation and UIC’s Climate Action Implementation Plan strategies.
  • Cohort of colleagues with similar goals to incorporate sustainability into their teaching.
  • A paradigm shift towards interdisciplinarity. Faculty from last year’s cohort came from disability and human development, English, EOHS, finance and nursing. 

Program Overview

The program consists of four components designed to make it as easy as possible for participants to add sustainability to their teaching:

  • Teaching Sustainability Workshop: Workshop participants will work alongside subject matter experts from a varied array of disciplines to begin the development of lesson plans and exercises appropriate for courses in each attendee’s given field.
  • Feedback and support: After the workshop and throughout the summer semester, the Office of Planning, Sustainability and Project Management, alumni from the program, and subject matter experts in sustainability will be electronically available to provide feedback on initial plans and course revisions.
  • Fall check-in: A final meeting for members of the cohort will be held in the fall semester to discuss lessons learned, things that may bear revision in the future, and plans for the upcoming spring semester. Participants will be expected to submit their instruction plans, syllabus, or other documents around the time of this meeting. A second meeting in the spring may be required.
  • A stipend: Faculty or instructors of record will receive monetary support for their participation in the above events.
    • $1,000 to faculty adding significant sustainability components to a preexisting course or courses (preferred).
    • $2,000 to faculty creating a new course or courses with a sustainability focus (requires additional letter of support from department chair).

Half of the stipend amount will be offered upon acceptance to the cohort; the other half will be provided after provision of the final syllabus and start of instruction. Funding is made available through the Sustainability Fee and has been approved by the Sustainability Fee Advisory Board.

The Teaching Sustainability Initiative is open to faculty across the university, so please consider applying for this exciting opportunity today.

Applications are due Feb. 18. Use the Teaching Sustainability Initiative application form to apply today.

For questions or comments, please email Christopher Anderson (canders8@uic.edu). More information is available on the TSI website.

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