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ERIC Number: EJ1143171
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-May
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1089-9995
Students' Understanding of Sustainability and Climate Change across Linked Service-Learning Courses
Coleman, Kimberly; Murdoch, James; Rayback, Shelly; Seidl, Amy; Wallin, Kimberly
Journal of Geoscience Education, v65 n2 p158-167 May 2017
College and university faculty are increasingly being called upon to teach about sustainability. Many of these faculty members are incorporating content related to climate change because climate change is arguably the biggest threat to global sustainability. However, the concept of sustainability is complex, interdisciplinary, and potentially difficult to teach. Further, students may feel paralyzed in the face of climate change. Thus, delivering a course that effectively covers the concept of sustainability while also empowering students to take action against climate change is difficult. The goal of this article is to describe a joint effort between four college courses in different disciplines that used service-learning projects focused on climate change as a tool to teach sustainability concepts. Although the four courses were rooted in different disciplines, they intentionally shared common components and assignments, including community service projects, shared readings and reflections, and a symposium that brought all students together. Eighty preproject and 77 postproject reflections were qualitatively analyzed for themes related to learning outcomes. The results demonstrate that students in these classes gained a more sophisticated understanding of climate change and how it affects their respective disciplines, as well as a newfound sense of personal responsibility and agency for addressing climate change. Service-learning is an increasingly popular pedagogy on college campuses. This article highlights how the pedagogy can be used as a tool for integrating climate change into courses from multiple disciplines to teach about sustainability and empower students.
National Association of Geoscience Teachers. Carleton College W-SERC, One North College Street, Northfield, MN 55057. Tel: 540-568-6675; Fax: 540-568-8058; e-mail:; Website:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: US Environmental Protection Agency
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Vermont
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A