The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Office for Sustainability Division of Finance and Administration

International Center for Sustainability Across Curriculum

Above:  Participants in UTRGV's Project Sin Fronteras - Project without Borders work together to development and grow new sustainable curriculum.

International Center for Sustainability Across the Curriculum Conference 2017

Application Process

  • To ensure a good fit between the workshop and attendees, a short application is required.
  • Registration begins March 17, 2017
  • Applications must be submitted by April 20, 2017

REGISTRATION CLOSED

Program Goals

To ensure that all students have the knowledge, skills and motivation to be leaders for sustainability requires a significant increase in the number of courses that incorporate sustainability themes. Recognizing that over the last decade, AASHE developed Sustainability Across the Curriculum Workshops that have trained have trained over 500 faculty leaders at institutions around the country to catalyze curriculum change on their campuses. Based on the pioneering success of the Ponderosa Project at Northern Arizona University and the Piedmont Project at Emory University, this model has now been implemented successfully at dozens of institutions around the country. Indeed, some institutions have organized sustainability across the curriculum workshops for many years and have developed significant expertise in how to organize such workshops.

The Centers for Sustainability Across the Curriculum program aims to build on the expertise of these institutions by supporting them in organizing workshops that are open to faculty from other institutions in the region. The overall goal of this program is to significantly accelerate the infusion of sustainability content into curriculum.

UTRGV awarded Sustainability Across the Curriculum Designation, 2016

In December of 2016, UTRGV became one of thirteen centers nationally to be chosen to participate in the program. From 40 applicants, the Centers were selected through a competitive application process held earlier in the year.  UTRGV's successful application was grounded by its successful Project Sin Fronteras - Project without Borders (PSF) program in operation since 2014. PSF is a transformational platform that infuses sustainability concepts and practices into the UTRGV curriculum and systems. Since its inception, 55 faculty from eight colleges have provided over 300 sustainability courses influencing more than 5,100 UTRGV students. The Office for
Sustainability (OFS) has managed this initiative in coordination with the Office of the Provost for Academic Affairs.

UTRGV's International Center for Sustainability Across Curriculum

Through this exciting collaboration, UTRGV will extend invitations to participate in the program here in south Texas to our global partners, our peer Texas institutions, and neighbors on both sides of the Border.  UTRGV Faculty will continue to be encouraged to also participate to infuse sustainable development in existing programs or to develop new curriculum using sustainable development concepts.  OFS will continue to recruit nationally recognized trainers and utilize our local faculty talent in providing coaching to participants. 

UTRGV's Project Sin Fronteras - Project without Borders Brief History

At UTRGV, PSF has developed a proven record of helping participants change not merely what they teach but how they teach.  Consequently, alumni of the PFS workshops report significant changes in pedagogy where student participation is essential to sustainability. Providing students with opportunities to contribute directly to causes, which raises awareness and engages in conversation about sustainability, is key to instilling those SF/SR values in students and demands a commitment on the educators’ behalf to active, problem-solving pedagogies. Newly designed assignments immerse students in investigative and reflective activities with the surrounding natural world and human-constructed environment, often pointing toward innovation and change.

Project Goals:
  • Help faculty explore the shift in pedagogy from a paradigm of teacher as expert to teacher as facilitator of learning, becoming co-learners with students and with each other.
  • Ground the learning experience of the faculty (and through them, their students) in an awareness of place and of the specific bioregion of which the university is part, to build concrete areas of understanding and meaningful experiences that support motivation and innovation.
  • Bringing together a broad range of inter- and trans-disciplinary expertise to develop a spirit of cooperation based on an openness to work across traditional disciplines and provide a transformational platform for the sustainable design of the new university and its programs including new and enriched courses, increased undergraduate and graduate degree programs, and a more engaged community.
  • Offer opportunities to combine professional research skills with ethical reflection, personal responsibility, and action, raising questions about daily life habits as well as long-term institutional policies.

The program, designed by our program partner, Ms. Susan Santone, Creative Change Educational Solutions will provide opportunities to share insights with peers within and across disciplines.  Participants should bring an existing or planned syllabus. Depending on the scale of their course redesign, participants will walk away with a course makeover or a firm blueprint for completing one. Participants will receive an instructional design booklet with support tools and frameworks, also developed by Creative Change Educational Solutions.

For more information about AASHE's program, please contact Daita Serghi, Programs Coordinator, at daita.serghi@aashe.org.  For more information or questions about the program at UTRGV, please contact the Office for Sustainability at 956-665-3030 or sustainability@utrgv.edu. More information about UTRGV's Project Sin Fronteras - Project without Borders may be found here.