Green Threads workshop offers opportunity to weave sustainability into the classroom


Members of the 2016 Green Threads workshop, l to r: Lynda Mercer, Ying Huang, Justin Mog, Melissa Merry, Karen Kayser, Russ Barnett and Margaret Carreiro.

University of Louisville faculty from all disciplines and Graduate Teaching Academy participants are invited to explore means of weaving sustainability themes into their classes by participating in the 2017 Green Threads workshop. This year’s workshop is April 21; the deadline to apply is March 22.

“Green Threads is a fantastic way to build your interdisciplinary network and discover new ways to integrate all that is happening in sustainability on campus into your students’ learning experience,” said Justin Mog, assistant to the provost for sustainability initiatives.

The UofL Sustainability Council modeled Green Threads after the Ponderosa Project at Northern Arizona University and the Piedmont Project at Emory University. Its aim is to infuse sustainability across the curriculum in existing courses or in newly created courses focused on sustainability. Since its launch in 2009, more than 50 faculty from 30 departments have participated in the workshop and reached thousands of students through new and revised courses.

Participants receive resources – including a $500 honorarium for faculty only – support and inspiration.

“I was able to meet people who were very involved in sustainability here in Louisville, and learn more about folks I already knew,” said Daniel Decaro, who teaches in urban and public affairs, psychological and brain sciences and law. He took part in Green Threads in 2015 even though he was already teaching Behavioral Dimensions of Sustainability and Sustainable Social-Ecological Systems.

“Participating in Green Threads is an excellent way to meet and begin a working relationship with (Mog), Russ Barnett (director of the Kentucky Institute for the Environment and Sustainable Development), Dave Simpson (chair of urban and public affairs and the UofL Sustainability Council) and Margaret Carreiro (a biology professor very active in sustainability education and research). These connections led to many subsequent collaborations in teaching and administration,” he said. “These are people you can go to with questions about sustainable research and teaching, and I found that many were very willing to speak with students or join us on field trips. Green Threads was a gateway to those learning opportunities and broader experiences.”

Russ Barnett (facing camera) leads an environmental justice tour of West Louisville for Green Threads participants in 2014. Barnett is the director of the Kentucky Institute for the Environment and Sustainable Development at UofL.

The workshop was created by the Sustainability Council’s Education and Research Committee. Since it started in 2009, 53 faculty members from across the university have taken part. Among the units represented have been humanities; accountancy; political science; social work; urban and public affairs; law; psychological and brain sciences; biology; peace, justice and conflict transformation; communication; anthropology; geography and geosciences; fine arts; health and sports sciences; philosophy; business; teaching and learning; health promotion and behavioral science; honors; entrepreneurship; sociology; electrical and computer engineering; mechanical engineering; industrial engineering; English; justice administration; women’s and gender studies; economics and mathematics.

This year’s Green Threads will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the University Club. It is open to full- and part-time faculty, as well as non-tenure-track faculty and students in the Graduate Teaching Assistant Academy.

Source: Green Threads workshop offers opportunity to weave sustainability into the classroom (UofL News, March 2, 2017)