RCE Greater Portland - 2018

PSU's Sustainability Leadership Fellows Program
Basic Information
Title of project : 
PSU's Sustainability Leadership Fellows Program
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Greater Portland
Contributing organization(s) : 
Greater Portland Sustainability Education Network (GPSEN); Portland State University
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
Name: 
Heather Spalding
Organizational Affiliation: 
Coordinator, PSU's Student Sustainability Center
Format of project: 
Curriculum and workshops
Language of project: 
English
Date of submission:
Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Additional resources: 
https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/11WKu5QiOL5p3Y1-SfExkIwy_LtnXfrqY?ogsrc=32
GPSEN's College Network
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Local
Geographical & Education Information
Region: 
Americas
Country: 
United States
Location(s): 
Portland, Oregon - Multnomah County
Address of focal point institution for project: 
1825 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97201
Ecosystem(s):
Target Audience:
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
Greater Portland is known as one of the greenest metropolitan areas in the United States. Yet our green reputation does not mean the region is free of challenges. In fact, we struggle in at least four major areas of sustainable development: environment, education, economics, and equity. With water and air pollution, struggling schools facing tightening budgets, unemployment and high rates of homelessness, and racial discrimination and inequities, we recognize the need to collaborate to address these challenges.
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
This project supports the development of accessible and replicable SDGs curriculum. The learning activities are developed to support a variety of learners who have varying levels of interest and knowledge about sustainability issues. The student participants also span widely in terms of age and academic standing (from freshman to PhD candidate). The program integrates pedagogical best practices from sustainability education and student development theories.
Contents
Status: 
Ongoing
Period: 
July, 2017
Rationale: 
The leadership fellows program within Student Activities and Leadership Programs (SALP) at Portland State University (PSU) weaves together elements of sustainability education theory, the Social Change Model of Leadership, and campus-wide learning outcomes to create accessible and transformative sustainability curriculum that is relevant to student leaders with diverse backgrounds, experiences, majors, learning styles, and interests. The curriculum is replicable and applicable for formal and non-formal educators across the university (as well as other educational contexts), including faculty, sustainability professionals, and student affairs staff. The sustainability focused curriculum was piloted within one cohort during the 2017-18 academic year and has also been integrated into all SALP cohorts for the 2018-19 year.
Objectives: 
Two curricular overviews are provided. One focuses on the three E's of sustainability: environment, economics, and equity. The other focuses on the theme Self, Community, World.
Activities and/or practices employed: 
The curriculum includes interactive activities and reflections inspired by contemplative practice; multicultural, critical, and indigenous perspectives; popular education; place-based education; and systems thinking principles. Throughout the year, students integrate sustainability into their leadership values, beliefs, and philosophy through guided conversations in class, activities, and online reflections.

The year’s transformative curricular activities begin by co-creating a shared sustainability definition and complementing their own perspectives from leaders and organizations from around the world, including short videos that highlight indigenous perspectives. Each term increase the scale of sustainability awareness (fall-self; winter-community; spring-world or fall-economics; winter-equity; spring-environment). Throughout the year, students consider how their learning relates to their student leadership roles through short articles, poetry, art, quiet reflection, and a final action plan for how they can use their leadership skills and philosophy to create a more sustainable world.
Size of academic audience: 
120
Results: 
The pilot program was implemented within one cohort with about 20 student leaders in 2016-17 and 2017-18. Due to this success and SALP's 2018-19 theme (sustainability), the curriculum has been integrated within all cohorts for 2018-19. 97% of students involved in the pilot felt the program was effective in delivering on the goals and objectives; 97% also felt positively about the themes (Self, Community, World and Economics, Equity, Environment).
Lessons learned: 
Successes included developing the curriculum through piloting with a smaller cohort and then using these initial successes and other educational connections to expand the pilot for the program overall. The committee included professional staff who have experience and education in the fields of sustainability education, service learning, counseling, and student development. The program also successfully developed an assessment plan, articles, reflection questions, rubrics, and lesson plans.

Challenges included fitting sustainability into the existing structure of the program which includes other learning outcomes. Another challenge was developing curriculum that was applicable for facilitators and learners who had varying levels of sustainability interest and understanding.
Key messages: 
This project supports the development of accessible and replicable SDGs curriculum. The learning activities are developed to support a variety of learners who have varying levels of interest and knowledge about sustainability issues. The program integrates pedagogical best practices from sustainability education and student development theories.
Relationship to other RCE activities: 
One of the leadership fellows positions is dedicated to the GPSEN College Network; some panelists are GPSEN leaders; the curriculum has been submitted for consideration to WOHESC. The curriculum also inspired integration of the SDGs in to PSU's Intensive English Language Program.
Funding: 
Funding for the professional coordinator who develops curriculum - Portland State University's (PSU) Student Fee Committee; leadership fellows scholarships for participants - PSU's Student Activities and Leadership Programs department (also through Student Fee Committee)
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 4 - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all 
Direct
Theme
Curriculum Development 
Direct
Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development – Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 2 - Transforming learning and training environments 
Direct