University of South Carolina

Sustainable Carolina picks faculty, staff fellows

By David Whiteman, whiteman@mailbox.sc.edu 

Sustainable Carolina announced the recipients of its first annual Sustainable Carolina Curriculum Awards.  Each summer up to 20 faculty and staff Sustainability Fellows are selected to participate in Sustainable Carolina’s annual “Sustainability Across the Curriculum” workshop. 

The curriculum awards are given to those fellows who have demonstrated significant progress toward integrating sustainability into the USC curriculum.

This year’s winners and their projects are:

--Andrew Greytak, department of chemistry and biochemistry, USC Columbia
Greytak has focused his efforts in two areas. One has been working to improve learning outcomes in Chemistry 112 through the incorporation of sustainability-oriented examples, exam problems and extra credit associated with extracurricular activities.  Students are also given extra credit for making connections between the course content and news items or on-campus extracurricular events. Greytak also has joined Sustainable Carolina’s Built Environment Team and is working to organize “Energy Night” in the spring 2013 semester.  Students will have to opportunity to participate in a “Renewable Energy Exploration Series” of six extracurricular gatherings, focused on different aspects of energy sustainability and culminating in an Energy Night activity that brings together student groups and research teams that run a poster or booth describing some aspect of sustainable energy production or use.

--Helene Maire-Afeli, chemistry/biology, USC Union
Maire-Afeli teaches chemistry and biology at USC Union, and she has been adding sustainability to all the courses that she teaches. Her major innovation has been adding a basic chemistry course for non-science majors to the USC Union curriculum and centering it on concepts related to sustainability. She is also working to create an online version of the course and is working on arrangements for students to purchase take-home mini labs for students so they can conduct tests and experiments at home using their environment's resources. In addition, Maire-Afeli has edited the lab manuals for all of her other courses to incorporate sustainability and is using a solar panel both for her students and for outreach to elementary school and home school students in the local community.

--Tom Syfert, associate vice president, environmental health and safety & risk management, USC-Columbia
Syfert’s efforts have focused on the sustainability course he teaches in the Darla Moore School of Business. One of the projects undertaken by his 2012 class was the modification of USC’s biodiesel trailer so that it could be taken on the road to show other schools and groups how the process works. Through this project, USC has started using the biodiesel in campus buses and landscaping vehicles and is now supplying USC Upstate with biodiesel for their mowers. The curriculum award will facilitate trips in the spring 2013 semester to USC Upstate and the Center for Advanced Technical Studies (CATE) in Irmo.  Students on the biodiesel team will also be able to visit Clemson University and Piedmont Biofuels to learn more about the process of processing, testing and making soap.

The next “Sustainability Across the Curriculum” workshop will be held May 13-14, co-sponsored by the Center for Teaching Excellence.  All faculty and staff Sustainability Fellows chosen to participate in the workshop will be eligible for next year’s Sustainable Carolina Curriculum Awards. To apply to be a Sustainability Fellow for 2013-14, go to the online application form.

For more information, contact David Whiteman: whiteman@mailbox.sc.edu.

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Posted: 04/09/13 @ 12:00 AM | Updated: 04/09/13 @ 5:07 PM | Permalink