Are skills-based courses compatible with sustainability? I’ll share my experience integrating sustainability into a university writing course for international students. I sought to incorporate an experiential place-based sustainability theme while still meeting academic writing goals. I chose readings, invited speakers, planned off campus visits, found DVDs and rewrote assignments to explore the theme of community food systems and its relationship to bio-cultural sustainability. Students journaled in response to readings about local food movements, researched and wrote about local organizations that are contributing to community food systems, and analyzed differences between global and local food systems. Students also conducted a low-income grocery store scavenger hunt and a neighborhood food assessment to address the issue of food security. Throughout the semester, students not only improved their writing skills, but also improved their conversational English abilities by sharing their personal and cultural connections to food systems. Based on final course evaluations, the implementation of this theme was successful, but it wasn't all smooth sailing. I’ll share what worked and what didn't, research on developing sustainability curriculum, and tips for successfully implementing a sustainability theme to meet the goals of an existing skills-based course.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/heather_burns/12/