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Undergraduate Workshop Criteria

Workshop courses are one of the options designed to provide a capstone experienced to SOS undergraduate students. In a workshop course, a faculty member supervises a group of students to address a single highly applied problem, challenge or task related to sustainability. In the course of the project students link the knowledge they have acquired in their courses to action in the community. Faculty wishing to create a workshop course are asked to submit a draft syllabus or proposal to the Curriculum Committee that addresses the following criteria:

  • The proposed project is an interdisciplinary sustainability project.
  • The product of the workshop is tangible product suggestion a course or courses of actions that can be implemented in the “real world.” Products might include reports, proposals, or designs.
  • The students act in a consulting role to an identifiable client of group of stakeholders.
  • Formal stakeholder input or involvement is integrated into the project.
  • Students develop an explicit set of skills in the course of the project. The skills are identified in the syllabus, and students are given explicit feedback on their attainment of those skills.
  • Teamwork and team skills are taught and used in the project.
  • The course is truly project based; while it may include “mini-lectures,” tutorials, or independent reading and study, students learn primarily by doing.

Questions to Help You Plan Your Workshop

  • Can the project, or a piece of it, be clearly defined so that it is a meaningful one-semester learning experience (in terms of content, size, complexity)? How many credits are appropriate for the amount of work expected?
  • What is the research question or problem statement? What disciplines or core research areas are needed to address it?
  • Is IRB approval needed for student or faculty activities? If so, will students have taken the NIH human subjects online course before work begins?
  • Who are the ideal faculty team leaders? Who wants to participate, and at what level?
  • How many students can participate in the project? What disciplines should they represent?
  • Content Skills
  • What content skills and knowledge must students already possess to be able to successfully accomplish the project? Are there/should there be prerequisite courses?
  • What content skills and knowledge will students acquire by the end of the project?
  • Team Skills
    • What team skills must students already possess to be successful? Will they receive team, communication, and project management training?
    • What team skills will students acquire by the end of the project?
  • What products will students produce? Are there relevant products that would be useful for students to add to a portfolio?
  • How will students communicate the results of their work to stakeholders in the project (including the both the research community and the public)?
  • How will students be evaluated, both individually and as a team? Will rubrics be provided so that students will be clear about expectations for the quality of the work they will produce?
  • How will faculty coordinate supervision and assessment of students? What approach to team teaching will be taken?
  • Capstone workshops are only open to School of Sustainability majors. Exceptions will be made on a case by case by the School of Sustainability Student Services Center staff.