Designing Sustainability-focused Course Assignments

This opportunity is for faculty who are new to sustainability education and will support the creation of course assignments that integrate sustainability concepts with core course subject matter. Sustainability expertise and assignment design support will be provided through a series of consultations, as well as up to $500 in funding to support expenses related to the sustainability assignment.

The assignment design or re-design process will begin with submitting one’s course syllabus and assignment idea. This will be followed by a design consultation (in person or over Zoom) which will consist of reviewing the syllabus, idea-generation, brainstorming and example-sharing of sustainability expertise, and working through student learning goals for the new or redesigned assignment.

The faculty member will prepare a draft of the new assignment and share it with the team before the 2nd consultation, which then focuses on discussing and refining the assignment. In addition to being focused on sustainability topics, these new student assignments will ideally engage students outside the classroom, such as through field studies or local community engagement; involve students in solving complex real-world challenges and problems; or require working in teams, stimulating creative and critical thinking skills, research skills, and integrating knowledge and skills across disciplines—in other words, inculcating 21st century skills in our students.

Discussion at the second consultation will also include whether the faculty member anticipates any assignment-related expenses, and can prepare a proposed budget up to $500. Eligible expenses include, but are not limited to:

  • Field trips or transportation fees for students
  • Bringing in an expert on an interdisciplinary topic that relates to sustainability to talk with students
  • Using the campus as a laboratory for team projects that can make a difference for GU or our surrounding DC community
  • Purchasing assignment-specific supplies or software, etc.

Who is Eligible?

All Georgetown faculty who are teaching courses during the 2019-2020 academic year are eligible to apply for this assignment design opportunity.

How Does it Work?

  • Indicate your interest and submit your syllabus for a course you are teaching in Spring 2020. Include your idea for a course assignment. The idea does not have to be fully fleshed out.
  • The team will contact you to set up the initial design consultation, which can be done in person or over zoom. This will be followed up with one or two additional consultations to refine the assignment and discuss any anticipated expenses.
  • Anticipate and submit for pre-approval any assignment-related expenses up to $500.
  • Implement the new assignment in your course.
  • Submit a brief report detailing the students’ experience and assessing the overall merits of the project.
  • Work with your department administrator to receive reimbursement for your expenses.

How Can I Apply?

Interested faculty should complete our online application form. You will be asked to provide your course syllabus and a brief description of how you envision designing an assignment in your course to incorporate sustainability, and how the assignment might engage students outside the classroom using real-world challenges and problems.

If you have questions about this opportunity, please contact Mindy McWilliams at