Connecting Active Learning Activities and Assessments to Sustainability

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Laura Matheson, an educator since 2008, joined Conestoga College in 2013 to develop and teach in the Sustainable Business Management post-graduate program. Passionate about education, Laura fosters diverse learning experiences for students and the community, influencing thoughts and actions throughout her 15-year career. In 2020, she co-founded the School of Business PRME initiative, fostering collaboration among faculty and enriching student learning. She was recently seconded to spearhead Conestoga’s inaugural sustainability plan, combining her passion for sustainability, strategic planning, and project management. Laura also serves on the City of Waterloo’s Sustainability Advisory Committee and proudly resides in one of the city’s initial certified NetZero homes.

Are you interested in promoting sustainability through your teaching at Conestoga?

In October 2023, Conestoga College launched the development of a college-wide Sustainability Action Plan, which will support efforts to embed sustainability through academic programs, research, partnerships, and operations. Faculty may engage their students in this effort by creating active learning activities and assessments that incorporate and highlight sustainability so that students can understand its relevance to their chosen industry.

“If faculty are interested in discussing sustainability in relation to their curriculum, a great place to begin may be with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” said Laura Matheson, project manager, professor, and program coordinator of Conestoga’s one-year Sustainable Business Management post-graduate certificate program. The SDGs include 17 interconnected goals designed to provide a plan for action for a more peaceful and prosperous world.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

“This framework provides a starting point to have critical discussions that are broadly applicable, from programs and courses in the School of Trades and Apprenticeship to the School of Health and Life Sciences. The SDGs as a teaching tool are truly universal and resonate with our students,” said Laura.

The Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME), co-founded by Laura and Rajul Singh, is an initiative in the School of Business, a United Nations-supported program whose “mission is to transform management education and develop the responsible decision-makers of tomorrow to advance sustainable development.” Conestoga seconded Laura for a year to support the sustainability action plan’s development, which is currently in the stakeholder engagement phase and is supported by consultants from Intelligent Futures, based in Calgary, Alberta.

“As part of our engagement phase, we encourage faculty to attend a school-specific workshop and/or fill out a survey to share their perspectives and priorities for sustainability at Conestoga,” said Laura. “Faculty can share details about this initiative with their students and invite them to complete the survey.  This will help us create a meaningful and impactful plan that reflects our community’s aspirations.”

For more information on PRME and curriculum integration, including a free micro-credential certificate, visit Continuing Education’s website, and feel free to enroll in any available courses that interest you.

Wesley Butler

Wesley Butler, B.PR, B.A. Comm, and Cert. Post-Sec Teaching, brings a breadth of experience as a communications specialist to the role of Teaching and Learning Coordinator. In his time with T&L, he has launched multimedia outreach initiatives to promote educator development opportunities, including a weekly interactive e-newsletter and a feature-length success story series on accomplishments from Conestoga faculty. As a Conestoga professor, Wesley teaches in the School of Business's Marketing and Communications programs, and has developed workshops on professional e-mail communication and hybrid internal communications for large-scale conferences at the college.

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