Course/Module Development

2020-21 Sustainable Communities TAE Course/Module Development Grant Program


At Binghamton University we define the term sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without sacrificing the needs of the future,” and we include in this definition the interrelated aspects of the environment, equity and economics. Thus, education connected to research on Sustainable Communities at Binghamton University requires involvement from faculty across the University. The Sustainable Communities TAE recognizes that many faculty members include aspects of sustainability in their teaching but might wish to enhance current offerings or develop new graduate or upper-level courses focusing on aspects of sustainability for which efforts they would benefit from additional support. Following the model developed by the Data Science TAE, we propose a course/module development grant program that will provide support for current faculty wishing to establish permanent courses or modules in sustainability at the advanced undergraduate and graduate levels. These courses and modules will contribute to growing educational initiatives such as the Master in Sustainable Communities program, while also allowing for enhancement of existing programs in various disciplines.

Proposal process

This program invites proposals from faculty members across campus each year. Applicants will propose the development of a course in sustainability, or a module to incorporate a sustainability component into an existing course, at the advanced undergraduate and/or graduate level.

Grants of up to $3,000 will be offered based on submitted budgets, commensurate to the effort required. The funds could be used in various ways, such as to:

  1. Purchase of course materials that would aid in course instruction.
  2. Cost of training (such as short courses, workshops, conferences) in the proposed subject field.
  3. Payment of honoraria for experts to participate in course development and implementation.
  4. Purchase course materials, specialized software, data sets or equipment necessary for running the course.
  5. Acquisition of relevant data sets that would be incorporated into the class.
  6. Stipends paid to graduate students to cover costs associated with the development of the course.

Selection criteria

We prioritize proposals that establish or enhance courses that potentially contribute to regularly-offered interdisciplinary offerings for students across the campus. Preferences are given to modules that can be added to an existing disciplinary course to significantly enrich a sustainability component and provide sustainability exposure to the students. The combination of a sustainability component within a disciplinary course is commonly referred to as the "X + Sustainability" framework, in which X stands for a given domain discipline. Examples of a module of this kind include developing a portion of a course that focuses on how policy choices result in the differential maintenance of natural resources, or an examination of comparative sustainability indices in the context of a social science course. We are especially interested in funding modules in disciplines that are underrepresented in the area of sustainability. Modules that allow instructors to venture into new interdisciplinary areas and gain exposure to sustainability efforts outside of their own fields will be ranked favorably. Modules developed for regularly offered courses, rather than topics courses that are offered occasionally, are more likely to receive support. We only fund modules that are at least 20 percent of a full course, that is, roughly 2.8 weeks of coursework (or more) in a 14-week semester. Full course developments may also be funded. For full course developments, support from Departmental chair is required and preferences are placed on advanced undergraduate or graduate courses that are open to students beyond a single program.

A selection committee will be comprised of Sustainable Communities TAE Steering Committee members.

All awarded faculty members must:

  1. Offer the proposed new course or the sustainability module-enabled course with the proposed module by at least spring semester 2022.
  2. Produce curricular materials, such as syllabi, lesson plans, slides, presentations, notes, programming code/lab materials and datasets, which will be added to a repository to be shared with other faculty members who wish to teach the course or module in the future.
  3. Submit a short report to the Sustainable Communities TAE Steering Committee at the conclusion of the course.


Faculty applicants should submit the following materials to Carl Lipo at by Dec. 1, 2020:

  1. A current CV.
  2. A proposal of no more than two pages that includes, but is not limited to: a course/module description including the role of sustainability in the course, the target audience for the course, when the course will be offered; and in the case of module development, the proportion of the module within the course (it should be at least 20 percent), the role of the course in the disciplinary curriculum, the typical number of students taking the course each year and the frequency that the course is typically offered.
  3. A brief (no more than one additional page) budget and budget justification.
  4. A support note/email from the applicant's department chair.

Applicants will be notified of the status of their proposal by Feb. 28, 2021.

This proposal is modeled after the program run by the Data Science TAE.