Curriculum Audit: How Dalhousie University is integrating sustainability into its non-environmental undergraduate programs
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Interdisciplinary education is a trend in post-secondary education across the world (Bear & Skorton, 2019). Climate change, and other issues of social and environmental sustainability are increasingly relevant and pressing to future leaders. To ensure the prosperity of the planet and society it is important for students (future leaders) to receive a comprehensive education, this can be achieved through interdisciplinary education (Feng, 2012). Dalhousie University is known for its achievements in sustainability education, however, there is little research into how they have integrated sustainability into their non-environmental undergraduate programs (Wright & Defields, 2012). The purpose of this research is to begin identifying how professors are explicitly or indirectly integrating lessons about sustainability into their curriculums. For this project, there was a focus on Computer Science, English, Management, and Political Science departments. To gather information about the integration of sustainability into non-environmental programs at Dalhousie, students and professors were surveyed. The survey results ended up being insignificant due to constraints on our capacity to distribute the surveys to the students and professors. Results are therefore extrapolations based upon the surveys that were completed and can act as a precedent for future research in this area. The results of our study were that 60% of students surveyed had taken a course with an environmental focus, and for over 70% of these students this course was not required. This seems to indicate a general interest in the study of sustainability for students not enrolled in explicitly environmental or sustainable programs. Over 70% of professors interviewed felt that sustainability education is an integral part of any education, and that students should be required to take a class on sustainability during their degree. One of Dalhousie University’s goals is to enhance values, knowledge, skills, and social norms that support sustainability. If they were to make changes in policy that required all undergraduate programs to explicitly integrate sustainability into their curriculums, this change would be supported by professors and students alike. Dalhousie currently does not require all programs to integrate sustainability into their curriculums. However, many professors feel their classes can (are relevant to shaping future leaders in a world where issues of sustainability are increasingly relevant) or do integrate sustainability education.