Doug Campbell recently offered insights to turning high-performing facilities into buildings that teach in American School + University. In his piece, Doug discusses that while higher education institutions have made a concerted effort to create sustainable buildings and landscapes, it’s still up in the air as to whether students are learning from these facilities, or just sticking within their academic lanes.

Lack of engagement isn’t due to lack of interest – as his piece states, a survey from “Sustainability Literacy as a Bridge to Addressing 21st-Century Problems” found that 85 percent of respondents indicated they would ‘like to have more opportunities to learn about sustainability and sustainable practices for my community.’ So how can higher education institutions create more opportunities for students to learn about and engage in sustainability? Here’s a snippet from the piece:

The Pedagogical Framework

A methodology focused on buildings (and landscapes) that teach has many facets. One of the first steps should be an alignment between an institution’s strategic plan and its sustainable learning goals. Does the school want to be known for sustainability education? Should sustainability education be its own discipline or open to a larger group of students (if not the entire campus)? What degree of sustainable learning does the institution hope to achieve and how many students will be engaged? These are questions at the start of the framework. In order to assist colleges and universities with this range of choices, a “sustainability learning pyramid” can be developed to show different learning platforms – from the most passive to the most active levels of engagement.

This framework offers two particular aspects to colleges and universities; clear platforms for more active sustainable learning and the possibility of progression or differentiation between groups of students. Each institution can choose the level of engagement that is appropriate for its strategic and student outcomes.

Doug’s full piece can be found in the July issue of American School + University.

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