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MS Thesis Defense - Anna Oetting

Effects of Instructors’ Beliefs on Incorporation of Sustainability Curriculum at a Midwestern University

9:00 am – 10:00 am
Dave Gosselin,
The degree to which sustainability is taught is often varied and inconsistent across colleges, departments, and higher education institutions. However, educating students and future generations regarding the different pillars of sustainability, including economic, social, and environmental topics, is increasing in importance and urgency.

A mixed methods case study utilizing surveys and interviews investigates why instructors incorporate sustainability, what impacts course incorporation of sustainability, and barriers that instructors face.

The study found that instructors’ beliefs regarding the importance of sustainability transfers to the level of incorporation in their curriculum. Topics of sustainability incorporated are determined by instructors’ industry and college versus instructors’ specific beliefs. Instructors are more intrinsically versus extrinsically motivated to teach the topic and face a variety of external barriers, such as lack of resources, time, and opportunities. By investigating instructors’ beliefs regarding sustainability from multiple fields, this research fills a void in the published literature and provides general recommendations for how to support faculty and university change.

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This event originated in School of Natural Resources.