Academics – Education and Research


This section of the Sustainability Planning and Climate Action Guide is undergoing significant redevelopment. Research, teaching, learning are some of the most important ways in which transformative change in higher education will have lasting and far-reaching impact. Second Nature is engaging in a network-wide effort to craft this guidance in a way that reflects the significant changes, opportunities, and gaps that exist in higher education with respect to enhancing creative and systems-level thinking around sustainability and climate action.

We will be soliciting input and ideas for this section at [email protected]. Please send us your thoughts along with your interest in becoming part of a more formal effort to redevelop this guidance.

We will touch on the content, context, and the process of teaching and learning. Themes we are considering for assessing and developing new guidance include:

  • Integrating environmental, social, economic systems in all disciplines
  • Building practice into research and research into practice: following the example of medicine
  • The role of science assessment (and/or models) in research, teaching, and learning
  • Big data, technology, and the opportunities for citizen science
  • Non-degree certification and training: trends, challenges, and opportunities
  • Understanding academic success in sustainability
  • Driving life-long learning and civic engagement
  • Becoming trusted experts and learning ‘labs’ for the community
  • The relationship between research and innovative solutions
  • Centers, institutes, labs: organizing the research and teaching
  • Gaming as a teaching and learning tool
  • New funding models and programs


While we develop new guidance – with input from across the network – here are some current examples of innovative centers, curriculum, research, and other resources around academics: