Sustainability Curriculum – As Interesting As It Sounds.


I decided to attend the 1 PM sustainability talk about curriculum (because that was really the only one that fit my schedule) and I will admit I wasn’t really entertained or amused on the subject matter.  The talk basically lasted an hour and was about the new curriculum that Bucknell would put in place in order to get this idea of sustainability across to the students.  It started off with one professor talking about the new requirements for engineers, and how they would need a sustainability class in 3 different categories.  The students would also have 3 free electives to pursue other areas of interest, or to increase their course load on sustainability if they chose to do so.  The talk then transitioned into Professor Hiller talking about sustainability and the management program, and some of the courses to be offered to the students that has a focus on sustainability.  After that was a talk on Bucknell in Nicaragua, and then a sort of summation and wrap up.  At first I thought the talk could have been interesting as they talked about the importance of sustainability to Fortune 500 companies and how a heavy majority issue sustainability reports annually, but then it took a turn towards Bucknell curriculum and it became immediately uninteresting.  I feel as though the seminar was more for current professors than for students.

Our discussion in class afterwards was where my thoughts were when we said that people who are interested in sustainability will pursue these opportunities on their own, and they shouldn’t really have to be forced to take classes on it.  I know I took a class on sustainability and really didn’t find the material to be interesting, personally.  I was okay with taking one course on it, but would NOT want anything else in my curriculum on that material.  I feel like having 3 courses required for sustainability is overkill, and would not be enjoyable for those students who do not want to have a career associated with it.  People who are actually interested in the subject matter will be the ones who will sign up for these classes, and they shouldn’t really be mandatory.  I know I am a management major, but finance interests me so I used my available course space to take classes that I liked.   I think people who like the topic of sustainability would chose to form their curriculum around that interest as I have around finance.

Leaving the seminar I was glad I was a senior and wouldn’t have to take these courses as a requirement.  As a liberal arts school I have already had to take courses I had no interest in (like 2 lab sciences) and wouldn’t want to add more classes to that list.  I think there are other ways to get sustainability into the school.  They could offer more clubs, more classes (but electives, not mandatory), more seminars, or anything that is informative without changing the curriculum.  I understand the importance of the topic, but I don’t see its importance so much at a collegiate level.  A lot of the learning you experience for your career is done on that job, and I find that a lot of things learned in college are eventually lost on kids because it is more theoretical than practical.  Classes help prepare students for work load, time management, listening, oral presentation skills, and many other valuable areas of development, but specific knowledge that will be used on the job is more so learned ON the job.  It should be interesting to see how the new proposed curriculum pans out at Bucknell, and how the students respond.

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Bucknell gets Sustainable……in the classroom


sustainability_diagram

Hey everyone, hope you had a Happy Easter. Since I was leaving after class to go home for the weekend and had work in the morning, I was only able to attend the 1 pm session of the Sustainability Seminar about the curriculum. I noticed that there was a significant amount of us that attended this one, so I’ll try not to be too long and do the best I can not to make this sound repetitive. So what is sustainability in the eyes of four Bucknell professors? According to dictionary.com, its defined as “the ability to be sustained, supported, upheld, or confirmed.” I don’t think this really sums up what they were trying to say, but the website also gives an Environmental Science definition as well. It states, “the quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance: The committee is developing sustainability standards for products that use energy.” Now this is more likely, as the four professors discussed educating future students at Bucknell on how we should be more environmentally sustainable when making managerial decisions.

HillerCC

Professor Tammy Hiller spoke to me the most, considering I’m a management major and she was speaking for the management program. She discussed how the school of management was recently split up into four degrees and that sustainability was one of them. The courses in this division of management will focus on how to make the future of our world a more sustainable place. I find this interesting, but I have a feeling student will tend to turn away from this kind of major. That’s a personal opinion, but I feel kids will lean more towards finance and marketing. Anyway, this was only a small part of her discussion. She went into greater detail though about how sustainability has not been a major issue for most companies in the recent past. She said now though, that more companies are working towards becoming more sustainable, a lot of them because it is the ethical thing to do. But are all companies eventually going to be sustainable? I don’t think so. There are always people looking to cut corners and as long as they make profits, they won’t care about the state of the environment. Does that mean we need more government regulation or is this just the American way?

Is sustainability a major issue for corporations? Yes. Should we work towards becoming more sustainable for the health of our planet? Definitely. Do we need a whole section of the school of management focusing completely on it? Will wait and see, I guess. I don’t know. I always felt that sustainability courses were good, but not good enough for me to base my major on it. I always felt one class a semester, maybe even a year would be better. What’s your opinion?

Educate yourself


This week I attended the sustainability seminar that spoke about the new curriculum.  I think sustainability is actually a very interesting topic and wish I had attended a different seminar that spoke more about sustainability rather than the curriculum.  I mean yeah, I guess it was somewhat interesting to learn about the new curriculum but to be honest I don’t really care about a curriculum that wasn’t offered to me.

Don’t get me wrong, I do think that sustainability is an extremely important topic but I’m not sure its something that can be taught in the classroom.  I really think it is something that you kind of have to go out and learn on your own.  Its similar to what we were talking about in class with taking an entrepreneurial class.  There is no reason to do this, it’s more of something you just have to go out and learn on your own.

I hate to be so distraught towards I school I love but to be honest I kind of feel like this whole sustainability notion is more of a facade than something that is actually real.  I feel like Bucknell is doing it in order to look better in the eyes of a number of different people and so that they can make the claim that Bucknell is a highly “sustainable” campus.  Like I saw in some other posts, it is important to highlight that sustainability doesn’t just mean saving the environment.  I do support the parts of engineering curriculum that are being changed but I am by no means a huge fan of what is going on in the management school.

Teaching for a sustainable future


Although the session about curriculum would not have been my first choice to attend during the Sustainability Seminar, it was the only one that fit in my schedule on short notice. Four professors spoke about their respective sustainability-focused courses and programs, then sat for a brief question and answer panel.

I’m not going to go over what was said by each since there are already half a dozen posts like that, but realize that sustainability is not just about the environment and natural resources. The gist of the Engineering department sustainability curriculum was to develop courses for engineers but include all students, not labelled engineering, and provide necessary perspectives for engineers designing sustainable technologies and techniques. The new sustainability-focused Management major is about managing limited resources to carry out an organization’s mission in an environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable method. The Bucknell in Nicaragua program is focused on social sustainability of communities and adaptation to external and internal pressures. The interdisciplinary integrative perspectives courses, wrestle with issues, combine content, model interdisciplinary collaboration through co-teaching by professors in different disciplines that inspire new perspectives on how to deal with global questions with local ramifications.

I think sustainability is a very important topic for all students to cover as our world is more crowded than ever and natural resources are becoming scarce. The global market requires sustainable thinking and planning to continue, as we have talked about the need to develop long-term benefits rather than short term rewards thinking.

Beyond the Bottom Line


As a senior, it has gotten to that point when I have been frequently reflecting on my college experience.  And while I have always loved Bucknell, it wasn’t until this year when I realized how much Bucknell has truly given me.  I could go on and on with my nostalgia, but enough of that will come over graduation weekend.  (I know, I just said the “G” word…yikes.) Continue reading