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Heather Reynolds
Department of Biology

Jennifer Meta Robinson
Department of Communication and Culture

Last modified: Tuesday, February 23, 2010

College Themester to offer free workshops on teaching sustainability across the curriculum

Feb. 23, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- In preparation for Indiana University's Fall 2010 Themester "sustain.ability: Thriving on a Small Planet," the IU College of Arts and Sciences will offer a free Teaching & Learning Institute to help faculty members, librarians, and graduate students of all ranks and disciplines tailor existing courses to incorporate issues of sustainability.

This free series of workshops aims to engage not only faculty whose courses already incorporate explicit sustainability themes, but also those who may have never imagined a connection to sustainability-related issues.

The workshops will take place at the Indiana Memorial Union on Friday, March 26, and Friday, April 2 from 9 a.m. to noon with an optional third workshop about service-learning opportunities on Friday, April 9, also from 9 a.m. to noon.

"Themester events slated for Fall 2010 include a stunning line up of keynote speakers, roundtable discussions, festivals, film series, artistic events and more," said institute co-facilitator Heather Reynolds, associate professor of biology. "These are rich and compelling teaching and learning opportunities that all faculty and their students can benefit from."

Heather Reynolds

Heather Reyolds

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By the end of the first two days, participants can expect to have planned one or more lessons that incorporate Themester activities into their course syllabus. Institute participants will also have developed readings and other work to prepare students to connect Themester activities to course themes and designed assignments that allow assessment of student learning and opportunity for students to share their learning at the Sustainability Themester's closing exposition.

The optional third workshop will help participants develop campus-based sustainability service-learning projects and/or collaborate on coordinated development of service-learning projects that reach across disciplinary lines.

"Sustainability is such a complex issue that it will require the insights and ingenuity of not only scientists and lawmakers but also humanists, including specialists in culture, media, ethics, communication, religion, and so on," said institute co-facilitator Jennifer Meta Robinson, senior lecturer in the Department of Communication and Culture. "If sustainability is designed into courses, it has a chance of staying in -- meaning many students will be able to learn about the highly complex issue of sustainability for years to come."

Jennifer Robinson

Jennifer Meta Robinson

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Reynolds and Robinson are among the co-editors of the recent IU Press book Teaching Environmental Literacy: Across Campus and Across the Curriculum.

The Teaching and Learning Institute is sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, the College Themester Planning Committee, Campus Instructional Consulting, and the Office of Service-Learning.

For more information about the 2010 Sustainability Teaching & Learning Institute, contact Lisa Kurz at Campus Instructional Consulting,, Robinson at, Reynolds at or Nicole Schonemann, Office of Service-Learning, at

To register, please send your name, title, affiliation, and the title and description of your Fall 2010 course to Jeff Weber, Themester Coordinator, at Registration is open through March 10, 2010.