Teaching students about the Sustainable Development Goals and their application is key to the long-term health of the planet. We all share the work of protecting the planet as pressure continues to mount on the ecosystems that sustain life. The United Nations has developed the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as an action plan implemented through 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). At NYU Abu Dhabi, our classrooms can be wonderful spaces, for conducting research and building awareness about sustainable development in the UAE and the world.
Higher education is integral to the realization of the SDGs through research and preparing future critical decision makers. In line with the National Climate Change Plan of the UAE 2017–2050 and NYU’s commitment to a more sustainable future, the Office of Sustainability and Stewardship at NYUAD works towards a comprehensive Climate Action Plan that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions around campus through combined efforts of teaching, research, and engagement. The Hilary Ballon Center for teaching and learning provides facilities resources for embedding SGDs into their teaching.
Embed the SDGs in your lecture slides and Brightspace page. Indicate the specific SDGs your course will cover in your course description.
Where appropriate incorporate the SDGs into your course’s learning objectives
Refer to Education for Sustainable Development Goals: learning objectives for education expectation of each SDGs.
Identify SDG-relevant key competencies in your syllabus. The UN has identified a list of cross-cutting key competencies for achieving all SDGs
Practice sustainability in your teaching from distributing electrical copies of the syllabus. Encourage conceptual and empirical research on sustainability among your students.
The United Nations Development Programme has compiled a list of SDG-related courses offered by world renowned institutions, you can find the course list and content here.
Invite a guest lecturer in the relevant industry whose work links closely to the SDGs. This helps students to understand how classroom knowledge is applied in practice and critically reflect on the relevance and potential challenges represented by the SDGs in the industry.
Invest one class in introducing the SDGs and challenge students to think about its relevance in the industry or location critically. This helps students to understand the causes and challenges represented by the SDGs and engage in critical reflection and evaluation of current solutions and pathways.
Draw examples from the UNFCCC Climate Negotiations to add to your class slides or discussions. For example, a discussion over challenges and perspectives relating to your specific topic/industry in the UNFCCC climate negotiations, climate protests in the mainstream media, or transition to a green economy in the places where your students consider home. Deliberate discussion & Engaging learners like these can help students to think more critically about concepts, compare different viewpoints, understand the gaps in their thinking, and reflect on the learned knowledge.
Including readings about sustainability is the simplest way to introduce climate action in your course. For example, you can assign a climate action policy brief (e.g., IPCC reports) and ask students to identify the usefulness and potential pitfalls of this policy brief to your specific industry. This activity allows students to observe how policymakers evaluate SDG challenges and propose solutions in writing to address complex issues posed by climate change. It also encourages students to think critically about the effectiveness of climate action policies and what can be done to improve.
Student Presentations on climate change issues are a great way to engage students in learning about climate actions worldwide.
Assign a research paper to scaffold knowledge connection between concepts learned in class and climate action in a specific area. You can assign a collaborative action research project that requires a topic in one of the SDGs as the final project of the course. This assignment can help students to investigate a specific actionable aspect of climate change mitigation or adaptation.
If you need more contextual examples, you can review these case studies of how professors integrated climate action education into their classes at Anglia Ruskin University.
If you would like one-on-one support for your course, pair up with librarians, ask students to brainstorm over lunch, and engage with the Hilary Ballon Center for Teaching and Learning.
|STEM||ART||SOCIAL SCIENCE||ALL SUBJECTS|
|Conduct a green mapping project||Discuss how art is used to protect for climate change and its effectiveness||Deconstruction speeches in COP 21 and COP 28||Acknowledge the opposing voice exists the climate skeptical. (eg., how successful they are blocking the advocacy of climate action and where do their fundings come from?)
|Assess the calculation of greenhouse gases (eg., are current measurements and calculations effective?)||Conduct a survey study about sculptures that are used to fight climate change in the UAE||Read the assess climate action policy briefs.|
|Conduct an impact assessment of climate action plan and impacts across different university campuses||Discuss artwork attack as a way of climate awareness action (i.e., just Stop Oil protests)||Investigate youth engagement in climate action protests
Grading rubrics help students understand expectations and various components of the assignment. Designing a grading rubric requires investment of time upfront, but a grading rubric can contribute to effective grading and learning for you and your students. The Hilary Ballon Center for Teaching and Learning at NYUAD offers tips and resources for designing your grading rubrics.
The Harriet W. Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning at Brown University offers resources on different types of grading rubrics (i.e., holistic vs. analytic).
The University of North Carolina Wilmington compiled a list of sample rubrics according to subjects.
In November 2022, the Conference of Parties (COP 27) to the UNFCCC will take place in Egypt. COP is an annual climate change conference that invites world leaders to collaboratively discuss concrete and credible solutions for climate change. COP 28 in 2023 is scheduled to take place in the United Arab Emirates.
For higher education, COP27 and COP28 will offer valuable, authentic learning opportunities to link classroom knowledge with negotiations and discussions of complex real-life challenges posed by climate change. Specifically, COP27 and COP29 can aid authentic learning in the following ways:
To better connect UNFCCC climate negotiations with your course learning outcomes, it is also essential to think about the following questions:
Your reflections on the above questions are the key to the successful authentic learning of your students. You can also consider the following four approaches to integrate UNFCCC climate negotiations in your course.
Use the links below to explore other frameworks and case studies for integrating UNFCCC climate negotiations in your course:
Title: FYWS: The Last Straw: The Effects of Environmental Change Throughout Time
Course Number: WRIT-UH 1134 (4 credits)
Location: Abu Dhabi
Instructor: Prof. Amy Beth Karoll (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Relevant SDGs: 13
Course Description: Climate and environmental change are not new problems. When drastic or quick, these changes are characterized as catastrophic, periods of complete upheaval including traumatic shifts in society. People are painted as passive victims. However, as active agents of change, humans alter and adapt to their environments. This writing seminar explores how people have faced environmental disruptions throughout time, those caused by human intervention and modifications as well as by natural climatic phenomena. Exploring case-studies to contextualize such changes, the class will begin with methodological and theoretical perspectives to qualify and quantify change. The majority of the class will be concerned with how the environment influenced and was changed by societies in the Middle East, beginning with the agricultural revolution and ending with modern built environments. Through assigned readings, essays, class discussions, and presentations, students will be encouraged to explore how environmental change is recursive and heavily influenced by cultures in diverse ways.
Title: Multispecies Living and the Environmental Crisis
Course Number: CCOL-UH 1082 (4 credits)
Location: Abu Dhabi
Instructor: Prof. George Jose (email@example.com)
Relevant SDGs: 7, 9, 13, 14, 15
Course Description: How do we understand and make sense of the consequences of what has clearly become a climate emergency? What conditions catalyzed this moment of crisis? Why and how might we consider re-orienting our habits of thought and action to engage this global challenge? What are the limits of anthropomorphism, or the anthropomorphic imagination, of assigning human attributes to nonhuman others? Our notions of "development" and "progress," our conception of natural resources, and our relationship to the technocratic imagination have all contributed to the making of the Age of the Anthropocene, in which human agency reshapes our environment. This course will engage with a range of approaches that re-conceptualize the relationship of humans with nature. It will study the environmental consequences of urbanization, resource frontiers, extractive industries, the quest for sustainable energy, human-animal conflict, and the politics of conservation. It will conclude by asking what constitutes environmental justice as students explore the need to recalibrate multiple disciplines to generate a "multispecies" perspective on our world.
Title: Designing Health
Course Number: CADT-UH 1053 (4 credits)
Location: Abu Dhabi
Instructor: Prof. Vijayavenkataraman Sanjairaj (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Relevant SDGs: 3, 9
Course Description: What constitutes innovation in medical technology? Is it always necessary? How is its value determined? How would we know if innovation has peaked or reached a point of diminishing returns? What do global perspectives reveal about medical devices and healthcare in general? In what ways are cultural contexts important to consider? How can the med-tech innovation process address issues of diversity, inclusion, and accessibility? This course takes up the above questions through several case studies and examples, including bioprinting and COVID-19 vaccines -- two topics with current relevance -- as well as two of the most important historical med-tech innovations that have gone wrong in the past: The Malaria Project and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. How can current design and innovation avoid repeating past mistakes? Working in cross-disciplinary teams, students will engage in design projects that will apply what we have learned from this course and address some of the paradoxes present in our ongoing quest to design healthier bodies and societies.
Title: Foundations of Peace: Economic and Political Perspectives
Course Number: PEACE-UH 1011 (4 credits)
Location: Abu Dhabi
Instructor: Prof. Joan Barcelo Soler (email@example.com)
Relevant SDGs: 16
Course Description: This course surveys the political science and economics literature on social conflict and peacebuilding. The class will focus on major themes and issues such as the determinants of peaceful cooperation and sustainable peace; the root causes of armed conflict; the determinants of ethnic conflict; the political economy of civil wars; the variables affecting the duration and termination of wars; the phenomenon of different forms of political violence-including protests, riots, military coups, political assassinations, and terrorism; and the politics and economics of peacebuilding. The course is highly interdisciplinary and will cover a wide variety of cases from a comparative perspective.
Course Number: CSTS-UH 1096J (4 credits)
Summer J-Term 2022
Instructor: Prof. J. Andrew Harris (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Relevant SDGs: 13
Course Description: How can we understand climate change? On one level, the unfolding climate crisis is a story of graphs, charts, and scientific evidence. On another level, it is a chorus of present and future narratives of those victimized by their predecessors' short-sighted choices. We will engage the topic on both levels. We will weave together a long work of climate fiction -- Robinson's The Ministry for the Future -- along with work from the sciences and humanities to illustrate important themes: geo-engineering; the human cost of climate change; the science of prediction; climate-induced conflict; the ethics of violent protest; interdependence; accountability and governance; and the problematic primacy of human life on Earth. In each meeting, we discuss a few fiction chapters together with shorter works on the science, ethics, and meaning of climate change.
Title: Sustainable Development
Course Number: CDAD-UH 1022JQ (4 credits)
Summer J-term 2023
Location: Abu Dhabi
Instructor: Prof. Arpad Horvath (email@example.com)
Relevant SDGs: 11, 12, 13, 16
Course Description: Sustainable development is the most significant global challenge of our time. In fact, humanity’s survival as we know it depends on finding ways to maintain societal progress while living healthily within the carrying capacity of the Earth. This course introduces students to the concepts, literature, scientific methods, data, and practices of sustainable development both globally and locally. We start with history and global observations, and gradually work our way to regional and local issues involving people, industries, ecosystems, and governments. From the environmental realm, topics covered include the use of energy, water, and other resources, emissions, climate change, and human and ecological health impacts. We review the economic implications of pathways to a sustainable future. In all our discussions, societal impacts such as equity, wealth, and justice are considered, and discovery of data needs and analysis are explored.
Title: Sustainable Urban Transportation Planning for the 21st Century
Course Number: CDAD-UH 1070J
Location: Abu Dhabi with international trip
Instructor: Prof. Elizabeth Deakin
Relevant SDGs: 11, 13
Course Description: How do urban transportation systems arise? How are they planned? What is the role of transportation planning in advancing the goals of sustainable development? How do we measure sustainability in relation to transportation? In this class students will engage with the many public policy challenges current transportation systems face, from environmental quality and social equity to economic vitality and the threat of climate change. Readings, discussions and assignments will offer an overview of theories, policies, and implementation tools for advancing sustainable transportation and urbanization programs and help students appreciate the complexities of varying contexts and practices. Beginning with analysis of worldwide trends and projections for urbanization and urban travel, students will examine key transportation planning and policy issues raised by current conditions, trends, and projections. Drawing on case studies from emerging economies as well as developed cities, and a regional seminar in Athens, students will conduct qualitative and quantitative analysis of transportation modes as well as operations and management strategies that can be used to increase sustainability. Note: Pending feasible international travel conditions, this course will include a seminar in Greece.
Title: Sexual and Reproductive Health: A Case Study of Uganda
Course Number: CDAD-UH 1056J
Location: Abu Dhabi
Instructor: Prof. Rhoda Wanyenze (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Relevant SDGs: 3, 10
Course Description: Ensuring equity and leaving no one behind is a crosscutting theme across the United Nations sustainable development goals (SDGs), and is emphasized under universal health coverage and SDG 3.7 (ensuring universal access to reproductive health services). However, inequalities in access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services persist within and across countries. Adolescents and young women are among the most vulnerable groups with some of the worst indicators especially in the low and middle-income countries (LMICs) particularly in Africa. This session will introduce participants to the comprehensive SRH package, SRH indicators and trends globally and in Africa. Using Uganda as a case study in Africa, participants will review the trends in SRH indicators among adolescents and young women and the underlying drivers of the poor indicators (including early marriage, early pregnancies and mortality, among others). Using a multi-sectoral approach, participants will engage in an interactive discussion to examine current interventions, analyze the gaps and propose innovative interventions to bridge the gaps.
Title: Water, Energy, Food Nexus
Course Number: CDAD-UH 1026EJQ
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Instructor: Prof. Sanjiv Gokhale (email@example.com)
Relevant SDGs: 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 13
Course Description: Billions of people on earth lack adequate access to water, food, and energy. What might be gained by recognizing the interdependencies that exist between these resources? It is well known that water is fundamental to agriculture and to the entire agro-food supply chain. Moreover, it is clear that energy is required to produce and distribute water and food: to pump water, to power irrigation machinery, and to process and transport agricultural goods. But a global society requires industry and policymakers to take even broader views. For instance, how are water security, energy security, and food security linked, so that actions in one area will likely have impacts in one or both of the others? How will population growth, economic development, and climate change affect international efforts to eradicate poverty? Additionally, what roles might renewable energy technologies play in providing access to cost-effective, secure, and sustainable energy supplies? Students will approach these questions through multidisciplinary lenses and cultivate the skills required to address the social, economic, and environmental challenges posed by the water-energy-food nexu
The below open events are great learning grounds to embed in your course regardless of the discipline.
The eARThumanities research initiative was launched in the spring of 2017. NYUAD has taken a big step in building intellectual research and debate in the emerging field of environmental humanities.
At NYU Abu Dhabi, the eARThumanities research initiative emphasizes the significance of the arts in this wider conversation. It also draws a correlation between the social sciences, physical sciences, and even engineering to foster interdisciplinary dialogue.
The eARThumanities researchers study the past and present challenges of increased demographic pressure and global climate change.
The Functions of eARThumanities include:
The campus and our social systems make for excellent real-world application of sustainability-related classroom learning, activities, and assessment.
NYU Abu Dhabi is advocating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations in sustainability. NYUAD fosters a culture of sustainability by
startAD is an entrepreneurship accelerator at NYU Abu Dhabi, sponsored by Tamkeen. startAD supports students and the wider NYU Abu Dhabi community to corporate with the necessary tools to build new, innovative products that serve the global need.
startAD helps students to incorporate students to broaden their thinking and include goals in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These include #4 Quality Education, #8 Decent work and economic growth, #9 Industry, innovation, and infrastructure, and #11 Sustainable cities and communities.
NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) has reported a partnership with Mubadala Investment Company and its family.
The NYUAD Transition Investment Lab (TIL) is run by a Visiting Professor, Bernardo Bortolotti, and the research initiative aims to set forth NYU Abu Dhabi as a “center of excellence and knowledge hub for impact finance and ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) research, with special reference to long-term investments in the Middle East, Africa, and South-Asia (MEASA) region”.
The key objective of the lab is to measure and manage ESG risk and its impact in the MESASA region.
The TIL further reinforces our MEASA Partners platform's commitment to positioning Abu Dhabi as the gateway to the region by collaborating with institutional investors to jointly develop locally relevant ESG frameworks that encourage the deployment of international capital toward addressing the region's SDGs.
The below events can be embedded into course design to activate motivation and student engagement with the course material.
The initiative aims to raise awareness of environmental issues along with sustainable solutions for the future. Every year, NYU Abu Dhabi Organizes a full week of activities to ensure university students are aware of sustainability on campus. Run by the NYUAD student interest group Ecoherence and NYUAD student affairs.
Initiated by NYUAD institute, these talks discuss the impact of climate change on global communities and the importance of facilitating multi-sector solutions to address the “grand challenge” of our time.