August 8, 2017

Fostering Sustainable Behaviors

Fostering Sustainable Behaviors at Emory University

  • Lecturer name: Alice Reznickova
  • Dates: offered since Fall 2016/ongoing
  • Length and format: elective, 16 weeks, 2 x 75 minutes
  • Associated credits and evaluation: 3 credits (1 credit hour = 3 hours of work); participation assignments & projects
  • Towards what degree: Bachelor, Sustainability minor cross-listed with Interdisciplinary Studies and Sociology
  • Student profile: Interdisciplinary Studies/Sociology (but a mix of other majors)
  • Class size: 30
  • Background on teacher(s): One professor, interdisciplinary background (Environmental Studies)
  • Learning outcomes: Students are able to:
    • Name the different sustainability discourses (status quo, reform, transformation; weak/hard sustainability etc.) and explain their implications for human behaviors
    • Know how individual/societal factors facilitate/prevent sustainable behaviors; become familiar with leading behavior theories and sustainable behaviors research
    • Connect sustainability to their own discipline and participate in an interdisciplinary dialogue to create solutions
    • Practice communication strategies by presenting sustainability related issues to the public
    • Create a behavior change portfolio that illustrates various strategies for behavior change with practical applications
    • Utilize this new understanding to propose behavioral interventions on campus or in the student’s own community; this includes writing a proposal, conducting research, and presenting results
  • Syllabus: Download
  • Key reading materials: see Syllabus
  • Types of assignments:
    • Portfolio: Short reflections on various topics to aid discussion/build knowledge to be used in projects
    • News: Short reflections on current news related to sustainable behaviors/presented to class
    • Three projects:
      1. Communication (create an infographic communicating problem/solution effectively to target audience)
      2. Intervention (design/evaluate an intervention to promote sustainable behaviors on campus)
      3. Final paper on sustainability/society (outline/evaluate large scale solutions – policy, economy, social movements, urban planning etc. to promote sustainability)
  • Innovative approaches:
    • Adding context to a course that’s usually taught as a psychology/sociology course
    • Intervention on campus
    • Sharing news
    • Communications project with a poster session
  • Feedback from students: Built on an existing course, this new version of the course has changed significantly and has yet to be evaluated.