Serve-Learn-Sustain Fellows Program

SLS Fellows Programs are interdisciplinary learning communities bringing together faculty and staff from all six GT colleges to develop new ideas for interdisciplinary and engaged research and teaching. Approximately 30 fellows meet regularly over the course of one semester, with community, industry, and government partners, to examine key ideas related to the program topic and to the SLS theme, “creating sustainable communities.” SLS Fellows Programs help participants push their research and teaching in new ways while also informing strategic direction for the Center for Serve-Learn-Sustain. 

Spring 2022 Fellows Program: Sustainability/SDG Education Teaching Fellows

The Sustainability/SDG Education Teaching Fellows Program builds upon Serve-Learn-Sustain (SLS) Fellows and Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) Teaching Fellows Programs. The SLS Fellows Program fosters interdisciplinary learning communities by bringing together diverse faculty, staff, and graduate students to examine and apply key themes related to sustainable communities. CTL Teaching Fellows Programs bring together a diverse group of interdisciplinary faculty to engage in conversations about teaching. Fellows support each other as they apply insights to their own teaching practice and become champions for inclusive and engaging education in their schools and colleges. 

The Spring 2022 Sustainability/SDG Education Teaching Fellows Program will advance the work of the participants to incorporate the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and sustainability competencies in their teaching. In so doing, Fellows will advance the Institute Strategic Plan (ISP) goal to provide all students with transformative learning experiences to grow as creative, ethical, globally aware, technologically sophisticated leaders who can define and solve problems to improve the human condition.

Sustainability/SDG Teaching Fellows Participants

Spring 2020 Fellows Program: Kendeda Building Teaching Fellows

The Kendeda Building Teaching Fellows Program – Spring 2020 (Pilot) is an interdisciplinary learning community bringing together faculty members to share and learn from each other, in ways that enhance their teaching, research, and action. In this program, all Fellows teach in the building, and come together to develop a Community of Practice in which they share and learn from each other about how to integrate the seven Living Building Challenge petals and the Kendeda Building itself into their teaching. They also explore how to engage themselves and their students in enacting behavior change aligned with the building’s principles. The Spring 2020 program is a pilot engagement program, which means that we will use the experience as a foundation for developing a training and engagement program for faculty who will teach in the building in the future. The program is facilitated jointly by Serve-Learn-Sustain, Campus Sustainability, and the Global Change Program, and is supported by these programs and the Kendeda Building Academic and Research Council.

Kendeda Building Teaching Fellows Participants

Spring 2019 and Fall 2019 Fellows Program: U.N. SDGs


In 2019, eight SDG Fellows, from four colleges and seven schools, worked with SLS during 2019 to advance their teaching and/or research around ​the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to help SLS increase faculty engagement in our regional sustainability network, RCE Greater Atlanta, officially acknowledged by the United Nations University. Colleagues from the Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business in the Scheller College of Business served, together with SLS. Read about their projects below:

Fellows' Name College School Project
Michael Best Computing/Ivan Allen Interactive Computing/International Affairs

Computing, Communications, and the SDGs

Shatakshee Dhongde Ivan Allen Economics

Research on Economic Growth, Poverty, and Inequality

Alice Favero

Ivan Allen Public Policy SDG13: Take action to reduce Georgia Tech emissions: A Feasibility Study for a Georgia Tech Carbon Price Model (PUBP Climate Policy – Class Project)
Roger Jiao Engineering Mechanical Engineering Integrating the SDGs through Systems Thinking for Course Projects in ME6101
Britta Kallin Ivan Allen Modern Languages Sustainability, the UN SDGs, Community Engagement, and German Studies
Neha Kumar Computing/Ivan Allen Interactive Computing/International Affairs Technology and Poverty: Thinking Globally and Acting Locally - INTA/CS 4745/6745
Ravi Subramanian Scheller College of Business   Research Project: Effects of Incentive Programs for Workplace Safety
John Taylor Engineering Civil & Environmental Engineering UN Sustainable Development Goals: Conflict & Balance – CEE Course Lecture

Spring 2018 - Spring 2019 Fellows Program: Climate Change


SLS Climate Change Fellows Program Faculty Co-Directors:  

Education Working Group

  • Kim Cobb, Professor, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences; Director, Global Change Program
  • Jennifer Hirsch, Director, Serve-Learn-Sustain; Adjunct Assoc. Professor, City & Regional Planning
  • Matthew Realff, Professor, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering; Assoc. Director, Strategic Energy Institute

Research Working Group

  • Marilyn Brown, Professor, School of Public Policy, Climate & Energy Policy Lab
  • Michael Chang, Deputy Director, Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems
  • Richard Simmons, Director, Energy Policy & Innovation Center, Strategic Energy Institute


The Climate Change Fellows Program is offered jointly by SLS, the Climate & Energy Policy Lab, the new Global Change Program, the Strategic Energy Institute, the Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business, and the Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems.  The Climate Change Fellows Program will advance the work of the Global Change Task Force of 15 faculty, convened by President Emeritus Wayne Clough during AY 2016-2017, which identified avenues for education and research activities in the climate change arena, motivating the creation of the new Global Change Program by Provost Bras.  The Fellows Program will leverage these activities by engaging faculty dedicated to advancing Georgia Tech's capacity in both climate change education and research.  Fellows have self-selected into two working groups focused on the education and research missions.

The Education Working Group is focused on developing recommendations for modules, classes, and academic support structures - including a combined Energy and Climate Minor - to teach students about the social, scientific, and technical aspects of climate change and engage in using their disciplinary training to develop solutions.  The Research Working Group is focused on identifying shared interests among the Fellows in the area of climate change and working teams to explore ideas that: 1)are solutions-oriented, 2) have high potential for regional impact and connection to real-world projects and partners, 3) bring together diverse faculty, and 4) have high visibility and funding potential.

Climate Change Fellows Program Participants

Climate Change Program Launch Reflection

Fall 2017 Fellows Program: Energy Systems for Sustainable Communities

SLS ESSC Fellows Program Faculty Co-Directors:  

We used the Southeast as a case study for developing frameworks and approaches that can be applied in other regions. The Southeast has both rapid urban development and rural communities, each with sustainable community assets and challenges. Forestry is an industry that could provide significant energy resources and economic development and has a strong presence in the Southeast and agriculture is one of its major export industries. Utility scale solar power is also being developed in south Georgia and could provide a model for other regions. 

The program explored questions such as: 

  • How do energy options such as greater use of biomass and utility solar power impact different communities? 
  • How do different energy options improve the resiliency and viability of small communities? 
  • How would changes in grid architecture, such as microgrids, impact communities?  
  • How does climate change alter the energy supply and demand for regions and specifically for the South East? 
  • How do energy systems interact with other key infrastructure systems, particularly food and water systems closely intertwined with energy? 
  • What roles can communities play in the development and deployment of new energy systems? 
  • How do energy policies incentivize or limit community engagement? 
  • How can new developments in energy sources and systems improve opportunities for disadvantaged communities and improve equity, particularly in Georgia, where Atlanta is consistently ranked one of the most inequitable cities in the country? 

One goal of the program was to help participants develop ideas that can be part of the Strategic Energy Institute's new Energy Policy and Innovation Center. Another goal was to seed efforts for proposals to NSF CAREER and the NSF FEWS initiative. Read more about these goals and other achievements at the pages linked below.

ESSC Fellows Program Participants

ESSC Program Reflections

Spring 2017 Fellows Program: Smart Cities, Connected Communities

SLS Smart Cities & Connected Communities Fellows Program Faculty Co-Directors:

The Spring 2017 SLS Smart Cities, Connected Communities Fellows Program explored smart cities as an impetus for creating more connected communities. This program aligned with the NSF's Smart Cities Initiatives and helped participants begin to develop new ideas for differentiating themselves in NSF CAREER and other proposals. Together with each other and community, municipal, and industry partners, Fellows explored questions such as:

  • How does framing smart cities as a vehicle for connecting communities open up new possibilities for interdisciplinary collaboration at Tech that combines social and technological expertise and approaches?
  • How can big data and systems thinking support local efforts for sustainable and equitable communities?
  • How are communities already smart? What services, infrastructure, and technologies will be required to meet new challenges?
  • What are limits of technology in addressing issues in our cities? With so much focus on technology, what happens to problems that need to be addressed in other ways?
  • How can we better facilitate civic engagement in smart cities through practices such as participatory research or citizen science? How can industry partners support this engagement?

Read about how the Fellows answered these questions at the pages linked below.

Video Link: Smart Cities Panel: Issues of Participation, Access, & Equity

SCCC Fellows Program Participants

SCCC Program Launch Reflection

SCCC Program Reflection

Fall 2016 SLS Fellows Program: Food, Energy, Water Systems for Sustainable Communities

SLS FEWS Fellows Program Faculty Co-Directors:

The Fall 2016 SLS FEWS Fellows explored sustainable community-building through the integrated lens of food, energy, and water systems, touching on issues such as sociotechnical systems, civic engagement, and safety and security. The FEWS program aligned with NSF’s INFEWS program (Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water Systems; now called FEW) and helped participants begin to develop new ideas for differentiating themselves in NSF CAREER and other proposals.  

The primary question which drove the program was: How can Georgia Tech develop research, teaching, and engagement initiatives that leverage our capacities as researchers and educators to address pressing community issues concerning sustainable and equitable approaches to food, energy, and water? Additional questions included:

  • How does framing FEWS as a sociotechnical system open up new possibilities for interdisciplinary collaboration at Tech?
  • How can big data and systems thinking enhance our understanding of critical linkages between food, energy, and water and how these linkages can support sustainable and equitable communities?
  • How are communities already innovating around FEWS? What services, infrastructure, and technologies will be required to meet new challenges?
  • How can we better facilitate civic engagement in FEWS through practices such as participatory research or citizen science? How can industry partners support this engagement?

Read about how the Fellows answered these questions at the pages linked below.

FEWS Fellows Program Participants

FEWS Program Reflection