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Curriculum and Research


The University of Kansas is committed to an integrated teaching and research environment that encourages innovation, critical thinking, a global perspective, and informed action.


Goal 1: Utilize the campus as a living laboratory

Objective 1.1:  Make the KU Center for Sustainability a hub where KU faculty, students, and staff can connect to explore sustainability issues through research, teaching, and outreach activities

While individual and interdisciplinary efforts exist throughout campus, establishing a central connecting point will increase collaboration and strengthen the relationships between economic, environmental and social sustainability.

Strategy 1.1.1: Develop strategic partnerships between the Center for Sustainability and other campus programs to incentivize living lab opportunities.

Strategy 1.1.2: Provide public access to research, resources, and learning opportunities associated with living lab projects and installations that are available to the KU and surrounding community


Objective 1.2:  Utilize the campus and community as a classroom

Connecting hands-on experiential learning opportunities for students with the sustainability goals of the physical campus and campus climate can serve to provide more meaningful educational experiences and advance campus sustainability through efficient use of social capital. 

Strategy 1.2.1: Create opportunities for students to learn about campus operations and dynamics

Strategy 1.2.2: Partner with engaged learning courses to gather and analyze data on campus operations and social dynamics

Strategy 1.2.3: Establish relationships to connect classes and individual students to experiential learning opportunities in the community


Goal 2: Ensure that all students have access to sustainability focused academic experiences

Objective 2.1:  Increase and encourage professional development and resources for faculty

A broader understanding of sustainability and the living lab concept and dedicated support are needed to aid faculty in fully incorporating these concepts into the curriculum.

Strategy 2.1.1: Continue to facilitate workshops and professional development opportunities for faculty that highlight best practices for integrating sustainability into the curriculum.

Strategy 2.1.2: Organize an annual panel or symposium that showcases innovative and successful examples of sustainability-related teaching

Strategy 2.1.3: Continue to engage the Faculty Affiliate network and the growing list of past Oread Project participants in order to maintain communications and partnership with academic efforts  

Strategy 2.1.4: Explore professional incentives for faculty to teach sustainability, such as related to tenure, research funding, etc.


Objective 2.2:  Develop learning opportunities centered on sustainability at all levels of education at the University.

Students should have opportunities for sustainability education within their chosen disciplines and throughout their academic career.

Strategy 2.2.1: Require at least one sustainability-focused course or freshman experience with economic, environmental, and social justice components as part of the general education requirements  

Strategy 2.2.2: Develop service learning or project-based interdisciplinary courses that involve sustainability projects on campus or in the local community

Strategy 2.2.3: Continue to grow the Sustainability Certificate program and widen its participation to include students in all Schools and studies.

Strategy 2.2.4: Develop a multidisciplinary sustainability degree program that includes economic, environmental, and social justice components.

Strategy 2.2.5: Encourage students to pursue independent studies related to sustainability

Strategy 2.2.6: Create multidisciplinary graduate degree options focused on equality, environmental, and social sustainability


Goal 3: Engage local, regional, and global partners in scholarly activities that advance sustainability research.

Objective 3.1: Develop scholarship opportunities centered on sustainability at all levels of the University.

Fostering sustainability-related research can create new opportunities for collaboration and advance sustainability initiatives on campus and in the research community.

 Strategy 3.1.1: Promote recruitment and retention of outstanding and diverse faculty for whom sustainability is a key interest

Strategy 3.1.2: Establish mentoring programs for undergraduate students to work on sustainability research projects led by graduate students or faculty.

Strategy 3.1.3: Work with the Center for Undergraduate Research to incentivize, support, and highlight students working on sustainability-related research.

Strategy 3.1.4: Develop a general research fund focused on sustainability research

Strategy 3.1.5: Explore and advocate the creation of a staff role within Academics and Research that will support student research and interdisciplinary studies around sustainability

Strategy 3.1.6: Hold an annual research symposium with a sustainability theme and featuring faculty and student researchers to promote collaboration across campus

Strategy 3.1.7: Develop a sustainability-focused Integrative Graduate Education and Trainee program


Objective 3.2: Share knowledge from sustainability research with the greater community in order advance the public good.

Look for opportunities to learn from and serve as a resource to communities seeking a sustainable future.

Strategy 3.2.1: Explore avenues to connect KU researchers with community needs.

Strategy 3.2.2: Work with other Regents institutions to share knowledge and collaborate on research efforts that impact Kansas

Coronavirus Update

KU Recycling and KU Surplus have resumed services. As part of our efforts to reduce an on-campus presence and promote social distancing, we will continue to limit special collections that are not mission critical. For updated information on KU's response to COVID-19, visit protect.ku.edu

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