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About

The College of Arts and Architecture seeks to strategically advance the University’s sustainability goals, fostering sustainability in teaching and learning, research, community engagement, student engagement, and operations in the college. Penn State’s Sustainability Institute embraces sustainability broadly, defining sustainability as “the simultaneous pursuit of human health and happiness, environmental quality, and economic well-being for current and future generations.” Penn State strives to implement the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the Sustainability Institute supports sustainability champions throughout the University’s 24 campuses and 13 colleges. Here in the College of Arts and Architecture, Mihyun Kang, director for sustainability, contributed to the establishment of the Sustainability Council comprising College of Arts and Architecture faculty, staff, and students.

Sustainability Council

The College of Arts and Architecture Sustainability Council advocates forming a sustainability vision for the college to connect it to other strategic initiatives while creating efficiencies and enhancing impact. The council approaches sustainability as a transformational concept that leads to innovation. The Sustainability Council has developed action steps that advance the college’s priorities and the University’s sustainability vision and mission. The college’s Sustainability Council has working groups focusing on teaching and learning, research, community engagement, and operations.

Collage of A&A Sustainability Council members' headshots

Council Faculty, Staff, + Students

The Sustainability Council includes representatives from each of the college’s academic, outreach, and support areas, and other members from the faculty, staff, and student community. Council members include:

Members

Chair Mihyun Kang (Director for Sustainability)
Teaching + Learning Heather McCune Bruhn (working group leader, Art History faculty)

Elisha Clark Halpin (School of Theatre faculty)

Eric McKee (School of Music faculty)

Research Rahman Azari (working group co-leader, Architecture faculty)

Bonnie Collura (School of Visual Arts faculty)

Hong Wu (working group co-leader, Landscape Architecture faculty)

Lauren Sosa (Faculty Council)

Kate Cholakis-Kolysko (Landscape Architecture Graduate Student)

Community Engagement Joyce Robinson (working group leader, Palmer Museum of Arts)

John Mark Rafacz (Center for the Performing Arts)

Hope Falk (Staff Advisory Council)

Huiwon Lim (Graphic Design faculty)

Alyssa Humarang (Undergraduate Student)

Operations Deborah Gulick (working group leader, Office of Digital Learning)

Kate Domico (Office of the Assistant Dean Administration and Information Technology)

Sustainability Council Charter

Teaching + Learning

Goals in this area include ensuring that every student at Penn State will have the opportunity to take one or more sustainability-focused or sustainability-related courses prior to graduation and that graduating seniors will demonstrate acquisition of sustainability awareness, attitudes, and knowledge. Ongoing initiatives in this area include:

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Sustainability Teaching Roundtable Series

The Roundtable Teaching Series will transform the culture of sustainability education and pedagogy, embedding it into the college’s teaching culture. A wide range of topics concerning sustainability, curricular planning, and engagement across the college’s academic units will be addressed through the series. The series convenes faculty, staff, and graduate students for focused presentations and discussions.

Upcoming Sessions

Session 13: Small Island, Big Song and Sustainability
April 5, 2022
Small Island, Big Song

Session 12: Ecology Plus Design—Teaching, research, and outreach for ecologically appropriate design
March 1, 2022
Ecology + Design

Previous Sessions

Session 11: Design, technology, law, and sustainability: Transforming access to civil justice through strategic partnerships
February 1, 2022
Presenter: Sandra J. Allain, LLB, M.Ed., Professor of Practice SEDTAPP, College of Engineering and International Affairs, Lecturer in Law, Penn State Law, Director Law, Policy and Engineering – LPE, Director Design, Justice, & Sustainable Development Lab – DJSD

 

Session 10: Sustainability Teaching Panel Discussion
November 9, 2021
Presenters: 2021 A&A Sustainability Faculty Teaching Fellows

 

Session 9: Sustainability Teaching Panel Discussion
October 5, 2021
Presenters: 2021 A&A Sustainability Faculty Teaching Fellows

 

Session 8: Paper from Invasives and Yard Waste
April 5, 2021, and April 12, 2021
Facilitator: Heather McCune Bruhn, Ph.D., Assistant Teaching Professor of Art History

 

Session 7: Sustainability behind A Marvelous Order
March 29, 2021
Facilitator: Eric McKee, Ph.D., Professor of Music Theory
Presenters: Judd Greenstein, Composer, and Joshua Frankel, Director/Animator

 

Session 6: SoVA Studio for Sustainability and Social Action
March 1, 2021
Facilitator: Angela Rothrock, Ph.D., Associate Teaching Professor of Visual Arts

 

Session 5: Sustainability and Environmental Justice: Integrating Environmental Justice into Teaching
February 1, 2021
Presenter: Heather Plumridge Bedi, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, Dickinson College

 

Session 4: Sustainability Teaching Panel Discussion
October 6, 2020
Presenters: 2019-2020 A&A Sustainability Faculty Teaching Fellows

 

Session 3: Sustainability Teaching Panel Discussion
February 10, 2020
Presenters: 2019-2020 A&A Sustainability Faculty Teaching Fellows

 

Session 2: Sustainability Teaching and Community Engagement
November 11, 2019
Facilitators: Ilona Ballreich, Sustainable Communities Collaborative Manager, Sustainability Institute & Peter Boger, Ph.D., Asst. Director for Community Outreach and Engagement, Sustainability Institute

 

Session 1: Teaching the Arts and Architecture in the Anthropocene
October 14, 2019
Facilitator: Peter Buckland, Ph.D., Academic Programs Manager, Sustainability Institute

Sustainability Teaching Fellows Program

This program annually recruits faculty, staff, and graduate students to serve as College of Arts and Architecture Sustainability Teaching Fellows. Ten faculty members and three graduate students, including at least one from each academic unit, were selected in September 2019. The first cohort participated in the Sustainability Teaching Roundtable Series, integrating sustainability competencies into their courses and curriculum. The second cohort, including nine faculty and two graduate students, was announced in February 2021. The third cohort will be recruited in December 2021.


Visit the Second Cohort Presentations

 

Visit the First Cohort Presentations

 

Visit the First Cohort Sizzle Reel
Man giving a lecture in front of a classroom of people; one of the female attendees has her hand raised.
An instructor holding up a book in front of a table with an assortment of dried flowers in crates.

Sustainability Courses

The College of Arts and Architecture offers many courses integrating sustainability. The table below shares courses typically offered within each academic unit that are sustainability-focused or sustainability-related. To count as a Sustainability-Focused course, the focus of the course should be on the interdependence of ecological and social/economic systems or a major sustainability challenge. Sustainability-Related courses are not explicitly focused on sustainability, but sustainability has clearly been incorporated into course content. The course should incorporate a unit or module on sustainability or a sustainability challenge, include one or more sustainability-focused activities, or integrate sustainability challenges, issues, and concepts throughout the course. Students can search for these course numbers in LionPath and contact instructors to learn more. In accordance with the Association of Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), sustainability encompasses human and ecological health, social justice, secure livelihoods, and a better world for all generations in an inclusive way.

Architecture

Course Name + Number Course Title
ARCH 132 Basic Design Studio II (Sustainability-Related)
ARCH 170N Introduction to Sustainable Architecture (Sustainability-Focused)
ARCH 203 Materials and Construction I (Sustainability-Focused)
ARCH 204 Materials and Construction II (Sustainability-Focused)
ARCH 332 Architectural Design IV (Sustainability-Focused)
ARCH 380 Introduction to Environmental Control Systems (Sustainability-Focused)
ARCH 381 Environmental Control Systems (Sustainability-Focused)
ARCH 412 Integrative Energy and Environmental Design (Sustainability-Focused)
ARCH 480 Technical Systems Integration (Sustainability-Focused)
ARCH 491 Architectural Design Studio (Sustainability-Related)
ARCH 497 Special Topics

  • Introduction to Shape Grammars (Sustainability-Focused)
ARCH 534 Architectural Design IV (Sustainability-Focused)
ARCH 536 Design-Inquiry

  • High-Performance Building Design Studio (Sustainability-Focused)

Art History

Course Name + Number Course Title
ARTH/GEOSC 107N Rocks, Minerals, and the History of Art (Sustainability-Focused)

Graphic Design

Course Name + Number Course Title
GD 201 Typography I (Sustainability-Related)
GD 203 Advanced Typography (Sustainability-Related)
GD 301 Experience Design Process + Methods (Sustainability-Related)
GD 304 Practical Communications (Sustainability-Related)
ART 571 Graphic Design II (Sustainability-Related)

Landscape Architecture

Course Name + Number Course Title
LARCH 116 Landscape Architecture Studio 2 (Sustainability-Related)
LARCH 125 Landscape Architecture Orientation Seminar (Sustainability-Related)
LARCH 145 Ecology and Plants I (Sustainability-Focused)
LARCH 215 Landscape Architecture Studio 3 (Sustainability-Related)
LARCH 216 Landscape Architecture Studio 4 (Sustainability-Focused)
LARCH 245 Ecology & Plants II (Sustainability-Focused)
LARCH 246 Ridge & Valley Field Study (Sustainability-Focused)
LARCH 276 Human Dimensions of Design: History & Theory (Sustainability-Related)
LARCH 315 Landscape Architecture Design Studio V (Sustainability-Related)
LARCH 335 Design Implementation III: Planting Methods (Sustainability-Focused)
LARCH 336 Design Implementation IV: Stormwater (Sustainability-Focused)
LARCH 375 Human Dimensions of Design—Applied (Sustainability-Related)
LARCH 414 Design and Theory V: Advanced Landscape Architectural Design (Sustainability-Focused)
LARCH 424 Design Theory Seminar (Sustainability-Focused)
LARCH 502 Intellectual History and Theory of Landscape Architecture (Sustainability-Related)
LARCH 510 Graduate Seminar in Landscape Architecture (Sustainability-Focused)
LARCH 515 Design and Theory I: Introduction (Sustainability-Related)
LARCH 551 Final Culminating Experience Proposal (Sustainability-Related)
LARCH 552 Final Culminating Experience Production (Sustainability-Related)
LARCH 553 Final Culminating Experience Documentation & Presentation (Sustainability-Related)
LARCH 815 Grad Studio I (Sustainability-Related)
LARCH 816 Systems Design Studio (Sustainability-Focused)
LARCH 817 Grad Studio III (Sustainability-Related)
LARCH 837 Grad Implementation III: Plants (Sustainability-Focused)
LARCH 838 Grad Implementation IV: Stormwater (Sustainability-Focused)

Music

Course Name + Number Course Title
MUSIC 312 Performance of Diverse Music Style

  • Music for Social Justice: An Ensemble Experience (Sustainability-Focused)
MUSIC 464W Studies in Music History: 1850–Present

  • The Sound of the Anthropocene: Music, Humans, and Nature on a Changing Planet (Sustainability-Focused)

Visual Arts

Course Name + Number Course Title
ART 299 Foreign Study—Art

  • Social and Cultural Explorations in the Visual Arts: Sydney, Australia (Sustainability-Focused)
  • Social Responsibility in the Visual Arts: Sydney, Brisbane, and Lady Elliot Island, Australia (Sustainability-Focused)
  • Indigenous Culture and the Visual Arts in Australia and New Zealand (Sustainability-Focused)
  • Dublin, Ireland: Representing the Irish Landscape, Literature and Visual Arts (Sustainability-Focused)
PHOTO 402 Photographic Narratives (Sustainability-Related)
ART 433 Sustainable Studio (Sustainability-Focused)
ART 497 Special Topics

  • Climate Art and Action (Sustainability-Focused)

Online GenEd Courses

Course Name + Number Course Title
AA 103 Introduction to Interior Design (Sustainability-Related)
ARCH 170N Introduction to Sustainable Architecture (Sustainability-Focused)
ARTH/GEOSC 107N Rocks, Minerals, and the History of Art (Sustainability-Focused)

Research

Goals in this area include building capacity for solutions-oriented transdisciplinary sustainability research, supporting translation and implementation of research-based solutions, and creating opportunities for sustainability research experiences for students and for engaged scholarship. Ongoing initiatives in this area include:

Group of four research students gathered around a storm drain.

Sustainability Research Team Grant

Penn State College of Arts and Architecture’s Sustainability Research Team seeks to recognize and vitalize teams of faculty members for interdisciplinary research/creative scholarship around sustainability. It intends to stimulate the development of sustainability research projects that are likely to be supported by future external funding.

The Sustainability Research Team identified through a selection process will be provided with up to $5,000 and must develop and submit its sustainability research proposals for external federal, state and/or private funding within one year and provide quarterly reports of the team activities. The current application is for work that will be conducted between June 2022 and May 2023.

Apply online for the Sustainability Research Team by Friday, April 29, 2022!

The application consists of the following sections:

  • Project Description (250-word limit): Describe the purpose, approach, and expected outcomes of your team’s sustainability research project.
  • Statement of Novelty (250-word limit): Address how your project would be innovative and how this grant will enhance excellence.
  • Statement of Significance and Broader Impacts (250-word limit): Address how your project would advance sustainability research/creative scholarship in the arts/design.
  • Interdisciplinary Approach (250-word limit): Address your project’s interdisciplinary orientation and how each team member’s expertise contributes to the project.
  • Team Building Strategies (250-word limit): Indicate how your team will work together to create a collaborative environment that takes advantage of each team member’s role.
  • External Grant Application (250-word limit): Explain your team’s plan for external grant applications and provide potential funding agencies unaffiliated with Penn State University (federal, state agencies, and/or private foundations).
  • Budget: An itemized budget that can include summer salaries and associated fringes, materials and supplies, and project-related travel must be created with the assistance of Barbara Cutler, A&A Research and Grants Coordinator. Please contact Barbara at bac31@psu.edu to set up an appointment no later than Friday, April 15. Upload the budget that Barbara provided you as a pdf file.

A letter of recommendation sent directly to mkang@psu.edu from the unit director/head in support of the project is also needed for the Principal Investigator.

If you have questions, please contact Mihyun Kang at mkang@psu.edu.

Sustainability Research Get-Together

A series of casual gatherings provide an opportunity for faculty and doctoral students to become acquainted with each other, learn more about sustainability research by peers, and explore potential collaboration. Sessions were held in November 2020 and November 2021.

Previous Sessions

Session 2: Grant Proposal Development
November 15, 2021
Panelists: Benay Gürsoy, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Architecture, and Elizabeth Mansfield, PhD., Professor and Head of Art History

 

Session 1: Sustainability Research Interests and Collaboration
November 18, 2020
Presenters: Stephen Mainzer, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture, and Heather Ligler, Ph.D., Assistant Teaching Professor of Architecture
Far off shot of a wind turbine on a mountain tinted with a blue ombre overlay.

Convergence: Sustainability Symposium title slide with multi-color sustainability wheel and photo of wind turbine.

Sustainability Symposium

Held in Fall 2020, the Sustainability Symposium highlighted, connected, and amplified sustainability research within the College of Arts and Architecture to foster collaboration with the Penn State sustainability research community and beyond. The symposium featured presentations by keynote speaker Julian C. Chambliss from Michigan State University and by Penn State faculty within the College of Arts and Architecture, College of Engineering, and Smeal College of Business.


Visit the Symposium website

 

Visit the Symposium playlist

 

Visit the Symposium Sizzle Reel

Green, purple, and orange tiered circle infographic. The tiers are surrounded by sustainability icons and black text, "Planet, people, prosperity, peace, and partnership."

Sustainability Exhibition

Held in spring 2020, the Sustainability Exhibition recognized the research taking place within the college and explored sustainability research collaboration across disciplines. The two-week-long exhibition took an inclusive view of sustainability and included displays ranging from traditional research poster presentations and original artworks to a multimedia component.

Community Engagement

Goals in this area include expanding student access and community access to engaged scholarship focused on sustainability challenges, increasing sustainability literacy in public and private sectors, expanding commitment to sustainable practices and policies at the local and state levels, and fostering strong, resilient, and sustainable communities through programs and engagement processes. Ongoing initiatives in this area include:

We are Sustainable Video Series

The “We Are Sustainable” video series interviews students, faculty, staff, and alumni to explore how their work engages with sustainability. The series demonstrates how sustainability can be integrated into a wide range of disciplines, providing inspiration to others and documenting the innovative work of the College of Arts and Architecture community.

Dark blue background with "We Are Sustainable with Alumni" white text

We Are Sustainable with Alumni

In these short video interviews, Penn State’s College of Arts and Architecture alumni reflect on the role of sustainability in their work and how their Penn State experience led them to where they are today.


Visit the Alumni playlist

White background with navy blue We Are Sustainable with Faculty and Staff text

We Are Sustainable with Faculty and Staff

Faculty and staff within Penn State’s College of Arts and Architecture share insights on how sustainability enters their research, teaching, and community engagement initiatives. They also share advice for students hoping to integrate sustainability into their learning.


Visit the Faculty and Staff playlist

Coral pink background with white We Are Sustainable with Students text

We Are Sustainable with Students

Students across Penn State’s College of Arts and Architecture reflect on how they have engaged with the topic of sustainability in their studies and what they hope to do next.


Visit the Student playlist

Operations

Goals in this area include changing and enhancing college operations to not only adapt and combat the effects of human-induced climate change but to reverse the current direction of climate change. This involves examining opportunities for sustainability improvements; educating staff about sustainability concepts; and encouraging employees to identify actions and processes that need to change, get involved in the change process, and pioneer new solutions. Ongoing initiatives in this area include:

Green Paws

Offices within the College of Arts and Architecture explore opportunities to improve sustainability efforts in the workplace.

Green Teams

The Center for Performing Arts revitalized the Green Team, which engages and educates its peers to help them operate in a more efficient, innovative, and healthy way. The Borland Building has additionally launched a Green Team.
green seedling sprouting from the soil.

Contact

Sustainability in Arts and Architecture

Mihyun Kang
Director for Sustainability
aasustainability@psu.edu

News from A&A

College names third cohort of Sustainability Teaching Fellows

The third cohort of Sustainability Teach Fellows has been announced and includes, for the first time, staff members.

The College of Arts and Architecture has named its third cohort of Sustainability Teaching Fellows, including seven faculty members, two graduate students and, for the first time, two staff members


Read More

Stuckeman School professor recognized for sustainability efforts

Mihyun Kang, director for sustainability and research professor in the Stuckeman School, has been named a 2021 Campus Sustainability Champion by the Pennsylvania Environmental
Read More

Earth Day talk April 22 to feature artists from world-music film

Two artists featured in the project “Small Island Big Song” will join Penn State students in a free discussion about climate change and the arts.
Read More