SLS trains students to use their disciplinary expertise to help “create sustainable communities” where humans and nature flourish, now and in the future, in Georgia, the U.S., and around the globe. To that end, we partner with faculty across campus to offer affiliated courses. SLS Affiliated Courses teach students skills and knowledge that will help them engage in “creating sustainable communities.” They align with one or more parts of the SLS sustainable communities framework. Our goal is to have affiliated courses in every school, at all levels.
While we encourage faculty to incorporate real-world learning with community partners into their courses, there is no set amount required for affiliation. Some courses will expose students to key concepts/methods about service-learning and community engagement and will include interactions with community partners, through guest speakers, assignments, or field trips, but no big projects. Others may include deeper community experiences, from small to full semester projects, whether service-learning or socially/environmentally-related capstone design projects. Still other courses will teach students a specific concept related to sustainability, like one of the SLS BIG IDEAS but won’t link to real-world community work at all. In all cases, we encourage faculty to incentivize their students to participate in SLS Events & Workshops and then provide opportunities for the students to bring what they learn into the classroom, through assignments or discussion, so that they begin to think about how the course lessons will prepare them to engage in a broad array of sustainable communities-related work.
A subset of SLS Affiliated Courses participate in our Level 1 Program, which promotes course development aligned closely with the SLS Sustainable Communities framework, especially: 1) addressing sustainability as an integrated system, and/or 2) focusing on social sustainability. Level 1 Affiliated faculty:
- Develop or revise their courses in close partnership with SLS, as part of an SLS Faculty Learning Community
- Receive $1000 in funding; awardees might use this funding:
- to implement activities featured in our toolkit
- to cultivate a relationship with a community partner
- to engage an advanced undergraduate student as your Course Development Coordinator (SLS is happy to help you identify a student and facilitate this process)
- Engage in course assessment as an Advanced Assessment Partner
Calls for Level 1 Affiliation are issued every semester. Interested? Contact Ruthie Yow.
- Attract students from a variety of disciplines, through SLS marketing efforts such as our weekly e-newsletter and course highlight videos
- Get priority assistance in developing course content and connecting to partners and projects and help taking advantage of our Resources for Affiliated Faculty
- Receive invitations for faculty and students to participate in exclusive SLS activities, such as showcases, field trips, and guest speakers
- Collaborate with SLS on publications and presentations
- Apply for mini-grants for materials, travel, or stipends for guest speakers, etc.
- Become eligible to participate in the SLS Level 1 Affiliates Program (see above)
- SLS is starting to develop thematic pathways (an alternative to a certificate or minor), and affiliated courses will be considered for inclusion
- Keep abreast of SLS opportunities through our weekly e-newsletter and encourage your students to explore them (subscribe to the newsletter here)
- Introduce the course to your students as SLS Affiliated:
- Include the SLS logo and a short statement about SLS on your syllabus
- Highlight sustainability or sustainable communities as an important theme and explain why you affiliated the course
- Invite SLS staff to speak to your students about SLS or incentivize your students to attend an SLS Information Session; dates are advertised through the SLS Newsletter and on the Events and Workshops web page
- Revisit SLS and the sustainability/sustainable communities theme at different points during the semester so the students come to understand how the course lessons are preparing them to engage in sustainable communities-related work
- Coordinate with SLS Academic Assessment Manager Carol Thurman to help us assess SLS Student Learning Outcomes – note that this includes providing SLS with a copy of your syllabus and with student work products (learn about assessment here)