The concept of sustainability can be a unifying principle for a wide range of interdisciplinary and
multidisciplinary problems and solutions. It can serve to capture the interests and imaginations
of students, faculty, administrators and governing boards and can vividly encapsulate the greater needs
of human society.There are many challenges and opportunities with respect to the understanding and
application of sustainability concepts at institutions of higher education.
Significant additional support is required for curriculum
development, operations, and campus/community partnerships
in the environmental education arena.The National Science
Foundation (NSF) should focus its increased support on the
high-priority areas listed below. As these are consistent with
the environmental objectives of other federal, state and local
agencies, as well as the private sector, all of these entities
should be brought in as partners to support this agenda.
1. Curriculum Development, Graduate Studies, and Fellowships
To better understand the concept of sustainability and to foster
faculty and student involvement, funding should be increased
for curriculum development, graduates studies, and fellowships.
This funding should:
- encourage development and evaluation of interdisciplinary
curricula and support their dissemination
- provide opportunities for students to learn off campus in
2. Campus Community Partnerships
Partnerships between campuses and communities (including
different professions, social groups and minority groups) should
be established in order to:
- enable students to be involved in service-learning and
- recruit minority students into environmental fields and
programs, including through development of programs
targeted to faculty and students at minority institutions
- encourage collaborations between institutions of higher
education and different segments of communities
- support culturally-sensitive transfer of knowledge among
people in different societies.
3. Training and Research Projects
NSF should fund training and research projects on sustainability
and its integration into different aspects of university
- providing “bite-sized” grants (grants for smaller projects on
the order of $10,000 each)
- funding graduate student traineeships and fellowships in areas
relating to sustainability
- funding research on how to measure sustainability.