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Education and Research

Sustainability, as a classroom and research topic, is naturally cross-disciplinary and provides an opportunity to connect students and faculty with varying academic interests to collaborate. Students can enroll in courses that include sustainability in every school at American University and many faculty members are engaged in research that contributes to the breadth and depth of knowledge in sustainability. More than 500 faculty members have been certified through the Green Teaching Program which focuses on recognizing teachers who use green practices in the classroom.

American University is home to a number of programs focused on sustainability:

Sustainability Courses and Courses that Include Sustainability

The Office of Sustainability asked faculty to use the below guidance to self-identify whether any of their classes were sustainability courses or courses that included sustainability. In the 2016/2017 academic year, nearly 300 courses were identified as such. 

American University also includes sustainability learning outcomes in the AU Learning Outcomes from the Provost. 

Sustainability Course
A sustainability course is a course in which the primary and explicit focus is on sustainability and/or on understanding or solving one or more major sustainability challenges.
Course Includes Sustainability
A course that includes sustainability is primarily focused on a topic other than sustainability, but incorporates a unit or module on sustainability or a sustainability challenge, includes one or more sustainability-focused activities, or integrates sustainability issues throughout the course.

American University's Sustainability Fund advances the university's active pursuit of sustainability by providing financial and administrative support for campus sustainability projects developed and proposed by members of the university community.

All faculty members are invited to join the ECOllaborative to connect with other faculty who are interested in sustainability topics.

In addition to offering many courses that teach sustainability, the Center for Teaching, Research, and Learning offers a Green Teaching Certificate program to help faculty green their classrooms. 

The Green Teaching Certificate is based on a system of self-reporting. Faculty members at American University can qualify for a Green Teaching Certificate by answering a number of questions about their efforts to make their courses more sustainable. Upon evaluation, qualified courses will be rewarded with a seal representing one of five different levels of the Green Teaching Certificate, which can be put on syllabi and Blackboard pages to market courses as green.