Sustainability course awaits approval for Kent Core addition

Julia Sprowls

Yanhai Du was the first assistant professor to teach Introduction to Sustainability at Kent State nearly a year ago. Now, the course is likely to become part of the Kent Core by Fall 2014, Du said.

There are sustainability-related courses in Kent Core already, including Sustainable Energy, Sustainability in Fashion, Economics of the Environment, Sustainable Design and more. Du, an assistant professor in the College of Technology, said that Introduction to Sustainability touches broadly on all of these interrelated courses.

Senior architecture major Karolina Iveljić is currently enrolled in Introduction to Sustainability and said she has taken other sustainability courses, but none has presented such a broad range of sustainability concepts as the introduction class.

“Students get a bit of every aspect of sustainability, not just one specific field,” Iveljić said.

Du said he started the process of creating the course a Kent Core a couple of months ago.

“Not only myself, but the department and college, all feel that this is a very important class,” Du said.

Du said he knows how supportive the College of Applied Engineering, Technology and Sustainability and the Honors College have been in working toward final approval to become a Kent Core.

Senior construction management major Brian Mehalic said he is in his last month of the class. He said it has taught him that people need to do more to preserve the world.

“This class gives a good general overview of sustainability and how it affects all different fields,” Mehalic said.

Du said that the Kent Core has a lot of specific requirements when proposing a new course to be added.

“It’s not so much about the course or its contents because the course is designed very well. It’s mainly about how you assess the students’ learning after the course,” he said.

Du has been keeping a detailed record of the course research, content, student work and test results.

Kent State is not the only university integrating sustainability courses into its core curriculum. A March 31 article in the New York Times written by Richard Peréz-Pena discussed colleges in Oregon offering an increasing number of global warming and human-caused crises classes. Peréz -Pena said university courses on global warming have become common.

Iveljić and Mehalic said they would like to see Introduction to Sustainability become part of the Kent Core and said they would recommend it to future students.

This semester, Du said his class has students from four different colleges and next semester will have students from regional campuses taking the course. Du said he thinks every student should have the chance to sit in on this class before they graduate.

“Once this becomes a Kent Core, the college envisions that hundreds of students will come to the class,” he said.

“We’ve submitted the requirements and all the information they need,” Du said. “We’re just waiting for approval.”

To learn more about the Kent Core, visit:

Contact Julia Sprowls at [email protected].