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Teaching Sustainability Initiative

PSPM and the CCSE Education and Research Subcommittee (CCSE) are pleased to host the Teaching Sustainability Initiative's Course Development program. Currently in its fifth year, this program is intended to intentionally grow UIC’s sustainability course offerings to all students. Since its inception, its community has grown to 75 TSI Fellows and TSI-incentivized courses have reached over 3,500 students to deliver innovative sustainability curriculum. Cohorts are limited to twenty fellows and faculty from all disciplines are encouraged to apply.

The Teaching Sustainability Initiative is a one-day program that provides faculty from all subject areas an overview on how to amend and/or create curricula to include sustainability concepts. The workshop explores how we can meaningfully integrate sustainability—broadly defined—into UIC classrooms and provides access to a network of experienced instructors who provide assistance and feedback to formulate a dynamic syllabus and curriculum.

Program Objectives Heading link

The Teaching Sustainability Course Development program objectives:

  • Provide a comprehensive working definition of sustainability.
  • Create a framework for understanding the components of sustainability and how each relates to each faculty member’s background and expertise.
  • Create a list of readings and short videos to use in class(es).
  • Develop learning outcomes for classes
  • Share internal and external sustainability resources
  • Draft exercises that faculty might use in class(es) and share examples of how other instructors have incorporated sustainability into their courses.
  • Develop opportunities for exploring sustainability on campus through the landscape, buildings, operations, transportation, and UIC’s Climate Action Implementation Plan strategies.
  • Create a cohort of colleagues with similar goals to incorporate sustainability into their teaching.
  • Support a paradigm shift towards interdisciplinarity: faculty from last year’s cohort came from the Disability & Human Development, English, EOHS, Finance and Nursing. (See map of fellows with links to their profiles below.)

Program Overview Heading link

The program consists of four components designed to make it as easy as possible for participants to add sustainability to their teaching:

  • Teaching Sustainability Workshop.  Workshop participants will work alongside subject matter experts from a varied array of disciplines to begin the development of lesson plans and exercises appropriate for courses in each attendee’s given field.
  • Feedback and Support. After the workshop and throughout the summer semester, PSPM staff, program alumni and sustainability subject matter experts will be available to provide virtual feedback on initial plans and course revisions.
  • Fall Check-In. A final meeting for members of the cohort will be held in the fall semester to discuss lessons learned, things that may need revision in the future and plans for the upcoming spring semester. Participants will be expected to submit their instruction plans, syllabus, or other documents around the time of this meeting. A second meeting in the spring may be required.
  • A Stipend. Faculty or instructors of record will receive financial support for their participation in the above events.
    • $1,000 to faculty adding significant sustainability components to a preexisting course or courses.
    • $2,000 to faculty creating a new course or courses with a sustainability focus. (requires additional letter of support from department chair)

Funding is made available through the Sustainability Fund and has been approved by the Sustainability Fund Advisory Board.

For questions or comments, please email Christopher Anderson at

  • Proposals are due March 15.
  • Applicants should proactively hold May 9, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for an in-person workshop.
  • Applications should be submitted online.

Teaching Sustainability Initiative Fellows Heading link

Teaching Sustainability Initiative (TSI) Fellows come together from across the university to explore sustainability as a truly interdisciplinary field. You can use this dynamic tool to explore their diverse academic homes and find collaborators for your teaching and research. This faculty map was developed by former intern, Elizabeth Christian, during the recent session of the Sustainability Internship Program.