With a new semester underway, this is a terrific time for faculty to get reacquainted with the SLS Teaching Toolkit and to explore the NEW tools added over the past year. As you seek out opportunities to learn more about pressing issues such as climate resilience and racial inequality and identify ways to incorporate these real-world challenges in your courses, the resources and lessons in SLS’ Teaching Toolkit can help.

Instructors with a specific topic in mind may want to begin by using the search function on the Teaching Toolkit home page. You may also find it useful to browse relevant categories, listed on the right-hand side of the home page, to find relevant tools and resources that have been recently added. And don’t forget to refer to the Introduction to SLS & Sustainable Communities tool when preparing to talk about SLS and what it means to be an SLS affiliated course with your students.

We are excited to share the following descriptions of some of our NEW tools (developed over the past year or so) including many that support teaching with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We always welcome suggestions for additional tools as well as instructor-designed tool contributions. Please reach out to Rebecca Watts Hull (rwattshull@gatech.edu) or Ruthie Yow (ryow6@gatech.edu) with your ideas!

Fundamentals of Equity in the Sustainable Built Environment

This tool introduces students to the different ways in which equity can be deeply embedded in the design of the built environment. It encourages students to consider equity as a foundational component of sustainability. The tool is grounded in the following three key documents: Inclusion by Design (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment [CABE])Getting Beyond Green Report (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People [NAACP]), and the SLS Teaching Tool: Introduction to Equitable and Sustainable Development. These documents were analyzed for their main concepts and then used to develop a framework for defining the fundamentals of what equity means in the sustainable built environment. Each fundamental is followed by a few examples that embody these concepts.

An Introduction to Climate Resilience

Climate resilience is the concept of anticipating climate-related stresses to social and ecological systems to increase their capacity to adapt to climate change, although definitions vary based on discipline and the systems being examined. Assessment of climate vulnerability, or the degree to which systems and communities are susceptible to the effects of climate change, informs efforts to increase resilience. This tool defines and gives examples of climate resilience and vulnerability through the lens of three areas of research underway at Georgia Tech. Students are introduced to disciplinary understandings of climate resilience and vulnerability and then explore the work of Georgia Tech faculty members whose research aims to inform strategies for climate adaptation.

Environmental Justice and the UN SDGs: A WAWA Case Study

Building on the Environmental Justice 101 and SLS Case Study: Proctor Creek tools, this teaching resource situates the work of the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance (WAWA) in the Proctor Creek watershed within the context of two UN SDGs -- SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation, and SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities. Students explore the interactive WAWA StoryMap, which describes the history of environmental racism that led to the pollution of the Proctor Creek watershed and the work of WAWA and the local community to restore the area. They then make connections to UN SDGs 6 and 10, including how progress toward these SDGs relates to the environmental justice movement.

Teaching Local/Global SDG Connections Through Case Studies

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all” (United Nations). Students completing this lesson will be able to: 1) describe the goals and targets of SDGs Zero Hunger, Gender Equality, and Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; 2) compare global and local examples of initiatives that advance these SDGs; and 3) evaluate the efficacy of alternative approaches to advancing these SDGs.

Sustainable Cities and Communities: SDG 11

This lesson takes a close look at SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, which aims to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.” Students use the elements that comprise progress towards the goal to frame their interpretation of three large infrastructure projects: the Los Angeles River Revitalization, the Cultural Trail, and the 5280 Trail. Additional activity options involve in-depth project evaluation using SDG 11’s Sustainable Cities and Communities Targets.

SLS Resource List: Education for Sustainable Development

Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) “empowers learners to take informed decisions and responsible actions for environmental integrity, economic viability and a just society, for present and future generations, while respecting cultural diversity” and focuses on “learning by doing” (UNESCO). This resource list contains links to reports, articles, videos, sample teaching materials, and more that are intended to support instructors working on integrating sustainability education and the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with disciplinary course content.

SLS Resource List: Teaching with the SDGs Workshop Resources

SLS supports faculty working to incorporate Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) into their teaching. This resource list is intended to provide step-by-step guidance with the process of course redesign and unit or lesson development including the following: considering which SDGs to incorporate; aligning SDG Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) with existing course and unit SLOs; developing authentic assessment of SDG-related instruction; and identifying case studies and other pedagogical tools to support student learning. These materials were developed by SLS for workshops and other faculty development opportunities, in collaboration with Georgia Tech’s Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL). 

Resources for Teaching about the SDGs

This resource list includes links to general information about the UN SDGs as well as research at Georgia Tech related to the SDGs. Short videos of presentations from the 2019 Georgia Tech Sustainability Showcase are organized by SDG, providing examples of how Georgia Tech faculty across a wide range of disciplines connect their work to this global framework for change.