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UR Sustainable - Fostering and Environmentally Literate Faculty


  • Mary Finley-Brook
  • David Salisbury

In the last decade, the University of Richmond has made significant strides towards sustainability. The signing of the 2007 American College and University President’s Climate Commitment, and the 2015 American Campuses Act on Climate Pledge bracketed the creation of an active and forward thinking Office for Sustainability. This office leads the University’s efforts design and implement our strategic plan’s fifth value, “Stewardship in a Changing World. The first initiative under stewardship reads, “Complete and implement a Sustainability Strategic Plan to further weave responsible environmental stewardship into the fabric of the University.” The curriculum is an integral part of the fabric of the University and essential to the successful integration of sustainability and stewardship. However, the University’s 2016 Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) Report for the Association of Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) earned only a 45% grade under the critically important “Curriculum” category. In particular, we scored low on learning outcomes and academic courses. This FLC responds directly to the University’s initiative to weave environmental stewardship into the university by strategizing ways for our faculty to incorporate sustainability into their coursework and learning outcomes and to weave sustainability across our curriculum as we increase exposure through experiential, community-based, and other high impact practices.

 The primary objectives of this community include exploring and discussing strategies to integrate sustainability into coursework and leaning outcomes across the university. Our discussions will allow us to sketch out a framework for sustainability literacy across the UR curriculum. Expected outcomes include thoughtful recommendations to improve integration of environmental stewardship, sustainability, and climate change awareness throughout our university via:

  • Sustainability and Environmental Awareness Committee
  • Sustainability Strategic Plan
  • Campus serving as a Living-Learning Laboratory
  • Environmental Stewardship Pathway across the Curriculum
  • Cross-school initiatives

Our FLC will be a dynamic, interdisciplinary, and collaborative space to encourage a free flow of ideas that address how Richmond faculty can become local, national and international leaders and enthusiasts in sustainability literacy. We will present our strategies for potential inclusion into the University’s Sustainability Strategic Plan and work closely with Sustainability Director Rob Andrejewski.