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Some big news for sustainability at UVM: on Monday, March 9th, UVM’s Faculty Senate passed the resolution to require all undergraduate students entering UVM in Fall 2015 to meet the General Education Sustainability Learning Outcomes (SLO). While this is a significant accomplishment, there is still much work to be done to ensure its success.
The Sustainability Curriculum Review Committee (SCRC), the faculty sub-committee charged with developing a plan for the SLO university-wide implementation, has been tasked with articulating a process for soliciting, reviewing, and approving proposals to fulfill the sustainability requirement. Part of this work is to help faculty understand the “Sustainability Course (SU)” designation process. Completion of an SU course is one of three pathways in which a student can fulfill the requirement. (Please refer to GenEd-Sustainability sitefor information on all the pathways and the course process.)
To that end, all interested faculty are invited to attend “Introduction to UVM’s General Education Sustainability Learning Outcomes Course Proposal” workshop on Friday, March 20, 9:00 – 11:00 AM, Bailey Howe 303. This workshop walks faculty through the proposal development process and, for those who are ready, provides instruction on proposal writing.
For more information and to register for this workshop, please see CTL Events.
More sessions will be offered in the late spring.
In addition, the upcoming “Educating for Sustainability Webinar Series,” hosted by the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, provides information and resources on best practices for sustainability education in higher education:
Strategies for Institutionalizing Sustainability in the Curriculum
Wednesday, March 25, 2015, 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM, Bailey Howe 303
Strategies for Redesigning your Course to Integrate Sustainability
Wednesday, April 8, 2015; 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM, Bailey Howe 303
To register for these events, please visit the CTL events calendar.
This fall, the CTL sponsored a book group exploring contemplative teaching/learning methods. The book, Contemplative Practices in Higher Education: Powerful Methods to Transform Teaching and Learning (Barbezat and Bush, 2013), describes a pedagogy that is based on long-established meditative practices and cites research indicating its effectiveness. The authors explore contemplative teaching practices’ potential to:
- Deepen student understanding of, and personal connection to, course content
- Develop student attention, inquiry, and problem-solving skills
- Support student sense of compassion for self and others
In addition to theoretical background, the book presents practical ideas for applying these practices across disciplines, including mindfulness, deep listening, contemplative reading, writing, and movement.
Led by Kit Anderson, senior lecturer in the Environmental Program, the book group’s ten enthusiastic members, representing a variety of disciplines, shared stories from their teaching experiences. Kit, who has attended seminars presented by the book’s authors and has been integrating these practices into her teaching for a while, was invaluable to the discussions.
We would to like grow this community of faculty who are curious about contemplative pedagogy and plan to offer this book group again early in the spring semester. If you would like to be sent a scheduling poll for this group, please send your contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include in the message that you are interested in participating in the contemplative practices book group. Specific times and dates will be chosen after the poll has been completed and will reflect the most common dates.
The UVM Sustainability Fellows Program invites applications for its sixth year!
» Applications are due Oct 3rd – Click here to learn more.
This program is presented by UVM’s Environmental Program, Center for Teaching and Learning, The Office of Sustainability, The Greenhouse Residential Learning Community and in partnership with Shelburne Farms. The fellowship is supported by the Provost’s Office.
The UVM Faculty Senate Committee on Sustainability Learning Outcomes has announced that the draft outcomes are now available to the campus wide community and is asking for feedback.
The outcomes were developed over nearly a year of discussions with the Faculty Senate and administrators and three years after the Student Government Association Senate passed a resolution supporting the creation of a university-wide sustainability curricular requirement to be included in Phase II of the General Education plan.
The learning outcomes are rooted in UVM’s Common Ground, as they seek “to prepare students to live in a diverse and changing world.” The outcomes “recognize that the pursuit of environmental, social, and economic vitality must come with the understanding that the needs of the present be met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Draft Learning Outcomes:
Learning outcome 1: Students can have an informed conversation about the multiple dimensions of sustainability and its complexity. (knowledge category)
Learning outcome 2: Students can evaluate sustainability using a disciplinary approach and integrate economic, ecological, and social perspectives. (skills category)
Learning outcome 3: Students think critically about sustainability across a diversity of cultural values and across multiple scales of relevance from local to global.
To read the full description of each outcome and submit your comments please go to: http://blog.uvm.edu/dwang-genedsustain/. Please note, to enter comments you will have to login with your UVM net and password.
While the implementation and assessment plan is currently being developed, the vision integrates student achievement of outcomes in curricular and co-curricular activities.
For more about the history and process of General Education Sustainability Learning Outcomes, visit
The ALANA Coalition is proud to announce the UVM Multicultural Exposition on February 28th in Billings North Lounge from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM. The exposition will showcase faculty, staff, graduate students and our community members’ research, publications, art, and music. ALANA anticipates that a variety of UVM community members with different expertise will be on hand to share and facilitate rich discussions.
If you share you expertise and participate in the Exposition, please contact Alco at 656-5120 to register. Visitors are welcomed to stop by anytime between 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM without registering.
This event is sponsored by the ALANA Coalition, UVM Chief Diversity Office and the College of Education and Social Services.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an educational framework, based in cognitive neuroscience, that encourages the design of flexible learning environments to accommodate a variety of learning styles and differences. This post focuses on one of the three core principles in UDL: multiple means of representation.
This means moving beyond textual representation by presenting information and conceptual knowledge to students in a variety of formats, e.g., images, video, and audio. Not only does research indicate that this practice can enhance student understanding and retention of course content, it can also be used to engage students and prime discussion. Students responding to an image, song or movie clip can spark reflection and debate.
Effective use of multimedia in your teaching is non-trivial. It takes time to find the right image or clip and prepare it so that is accessible and available to all students. Fortunately, UVM has some resources to help you every step of the way.
Step 1: Finding Multimedia
There are so many sources of multimedia, and so little time. To help you get started, CTL has collected a list of websites where you can find images and videos applicable to many disciplines. Check out this link for information about copyright, fair use, and using multimedia in your courses, as well.
Additionally, Bailey/Howe Library has several new, searchable databases for streaming media that provides access to licensed documentaries with relevance across the curriculum. Features for some of these databases include synchronized, searchable transcripts, editing capabilities to make video clips, and an embeddable video player that can be used in Blackboard courses.
Step 2: Making Multimedia Accessible
Multimedia used in class or on the web needs to be ADA compliant. Video/audio content needs to be captioned. Captioning not only benefits the deaf or hard of hearing student, but can also benefit students for whom English is a second language, and individuals with learning disabilities (hearing and reading at the same time can improve comprehension). For information regarding captioning services on campus, please see the ACCESS offices captioning website.
Images on the web also need to be accessible and take into consideration not only people with blindness, but also those low vision, color-blindness, or cognitive disabilities. For a comprehensive discussion on effective and appropriate use of images to facilitate comprehension, see Creating Accessible Images on the WebAIM website.
Step 3: Making Multimedia Available on the Web
If you want students to access your own audio/video content on the web, or if the content falls within Fair Use copyright guidelines, use the UVM Media Manager tool to upload the files to your UVM server space, also known as your “zoo space.” The Media Manager makes it simple to share your media by broadcasting it, linking to it, or embedding it on a webpage such as a Blackboard course page. See Media Manager directions here.
Another way to add media to your Blackboard (Bb) course is to use the Bb “MashUp” tool. This tool allows you to search YouTube, Flickr, and SlideShare (a site for viewing and sharing PowerPoint-like presentations), select content, and then embed this content directly into your Bb course. While the media content resides on their respective websites, students view the media content without ever leaving the Bb course. View this tutorial on the Bb MashUp tool
Interested in Learning More?
For more information about the Filmmakers Library Online, attend the upcoming CTL Sound (Teaching) Bite on “Teaching with Streaming Media” facilitated by Daisy Benson of the B/H Library, on October 9, 12:00 – 1:00 pm. Visit this page for information and to register.
For more information about the Media Manager, attend the upcoming CTL Sound (Teaching) Bite, “From DVD to Blackboard” on October 3, 12:00- 1:00 pm. Visit this page for information and to register.
UVM faculty are invited to apply to participate in the Sustainability Faculty Fellows Program. This program seeks to develop a learning community—a multidisciplinary faculty cohort engaged in a yearlong exploration of sustainability, the scholarship of teaching, learning, collaboration and community building. Program goals are to:
- Create a community of faculty who are committed to integrating interdisciplinary approaches to environmental sustainability into the UVM curriculum
- Enhance the understanding of environmental sustainability concepts among faculty and students, particularly those not trained in environmental fields
- Explore teaching and course design strategies that will engage students in environmental sustainability from a multidisciplinary approach
For more information and to download the application form, please the Grants/Awards pages of CTL web site.