Classes that Change the World: Synergistic Solutions and Multiplier Effects for Students, Campuses, and Communities
Jennifer Wells Abstract Purpose: This paper offers a model and an example of a highly effective case study-based graduate-level class. Design/methodology/approach: This class is tailored to real life case studies and employs inter- and transdisciplinary, complexity and integral lenses and methodo- logies, and collaborative, multi-stakeholder approaches, drawing on and fostering stronger coalitions and synergies. Findings: Advancing interdisciplinary social and environmental solutions re- quires adequately inclusive and integral lenses and approaches. Focusing on real case studies provides a sufficiently complex and challenging context for learn- ing, while providing local sustainability successes. This win-win-win approach makes such classes cost-effective. Originality/value: The paper provides evidence that integral and complexity lenses can be advanced through case studies, based upon a highly successful class at U.C. Berkeley. Introduction Teaching for sustainability involves new knowledge, skills, and approaches. Today’s issues demand new competencies: to navigate the complexity and ambi- guity of socio-ecological issues; to mobilize others in the face of these complex challenges; to grasp and advance the conceptual and political challenges of transdisciplinary issues in an interconnected, uncertain and evolving world; and to study and articulate evolving, multifaceted issues in a spirit of ongoing debate and collaboration. As Walter Leal Filho points out in his chapter of this volume, adequate understanding of sustainability issues need to be approached in an inte- 282 Jennifer Wells grated fashion, from conception to analysis to policy implementation. Sustainability calls for integral approaches and lenses such as complexity theories and transdis- ciplinarity. Real life case studies provide an excellent structure...
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