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:
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.
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. It is anticipated that the Sustainability Council will develop 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.
Council Faculty, Staff, + Students
|Chair||Mihyun Kang (Director for Sustainability)|
|Teaching + Learning||Heather McCune Bruhn (working group leader, Art History faculty)
Angela Rothrock (School of Visual Arts faculty)
Eric McKee (School of Music faculty)
|Research||Carlos Rosas (working group leader, faculty council)
Hong Wu (Landscape Architecture faculty)
Rahman Azari (Architecture faculty)
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)
Huiwon Lim (Graphic Design faculty)
Madison Borsos (undergraduate student)
|Operations||Deborah Gulick (working group leader, Office of Digital Learning)
Chris Swetcky (School of Theatre faculty)
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:
Sustainability Faculty Teaching Fellows Program
This program annually recruits faculty and graduate students to serve as College of Arts and Architecture Sustainability Faculty Teaching Fellows. Ten faculty members and three graduate students, including at least one from each academic unit, were selected in 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.
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.
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:
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 College of Arts and Architecture faculty representing the Center for Pedagogy in Arts and Design, Hamer Center for Community Design, Stuckeman Center for Design Computing, School of Visual Arts Studio for Sustainability and Social Action, Arts and Design Research Incubator, and Ecology+Design. The symposium also featured presentations on sustainability initiatives in the College of Engineering and Smeal College of Business.
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.
Faculty Research Get-Together
This casual gathering provides an opportunity for faculty and doctoral students to become acquainted with each other, learn more about sustainability research by peers, and explore potential collaboration. The first gathering was held in November 2020.
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
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.
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.
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.
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:
Offices within the College of Arts and Architecture explore opportunities to improve sustainability efforts in the workplace.
News from A&A
Earth Day talk April 22 to feature artists from world-music film
The Center for the Performing Arts and Sustainability Institute will partner to host two of the artists featured in the musical film “Small Island Big Song: An Oceanic Songline.” The