Wittenberg University is among those receiving a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support a transdisciplinary culture of change and build open access to a Science Technology Engineering and Math (or STEM) Business curriculum featuring the United Nations Sustainable Development goals.
Wittenberg will receive approximately $370,000 of the $2.4 million being funded by the NSF for five years. Other universities receiving the funding include Bentley University in Massachusetts, Northern Illinois University in Illinois, and the Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College in Minnesota. This grant begins Oct. 1, 2019 and ends Sept. 30, 2024.
According to its website, the sustainable development goals, adopted by all United Nations member states in 2015, provide a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. Seventeen sustainable development goals are included in the UN global partnership. All are focused on ending poverty and other deprivations, improving health and education, reducing inequality, and spurring economic growth, while tackling climate change and working to preserve the world’s oceans and forests.
Wittenberg’s project is titled "Collaborative Research: Broadening the Fusion of STEM and Business Curricula in Undergraduate Sustainability Education.” Under the direction of Sarah Fortner, associate professor of geology and environmental science, and director of environmental science at Wittenberg, and Rachel Wilson, associate professor of business and economics, the project is also being conducted in collaboration with other Wittenberg professors including Amber Burgett, associate professor of biology; Gabe Courey, assistant professor of economics and business; Sunny Jeong, assistant professor of business; Steven Landgraff, assistant professor of economics; Stephanie Little, associate professor of psychology; Lindsay Meermans, assistant professor of business; Nona Moskowitz, associate professor of sociology; and John Ritter, professor of geology.
“Moving forward, we hope to identify synergies with regional partners, campus programming, and student-led initiatives to identify strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth,” Fortner said. “We are reaching out to liberal arts leaders to see how/what we might do to increase our capacity for sustainable development at Wittenberg and beyond. The 17 goals from the UN offer us ideas for collaboration at local and global levels. The collaboration will create a new open source sustainable development curriculum that seeks to co-address poverty, equity issues, and environmental challenges, while supporting a thriving economy. We are excited by the grant and hope to expand our collaborative excellence by connecting with regional businesses.”
This latest funding reaffirms collaborative excellence at Wittenberg. The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) recently named the University among only 22 institutions across the country that are providing models for how to make civic learning and democratic engagement an expectation for all students who major in a specific discipline. The announcement was made October 2017 and specifically praises Wittenberg’s Environmental Science and Geology Departments for their leadership in this area. Fortner was also recently named to the AAC&U Civic Learning by Design in the Major Institute Advisory Board. Her term will begin this month. The advisory board helps identify directions for institutions to expand civic engagement in the liberal arts.