For over a decade I have been developing and teaching courses and giving workshops related to the integration of "sustainable" strategies into disciplines such as Industrial Design, Environmental Management, Business and Organizational Management and Planning.
Engaging in a "end-of-course dialogue" with the students has given me the opportunity to continually improve course content and structure. This simple and straightforward process has been very helpful in better aligning the content, the instuction and the course projects with students' needs and with a fast-changing landscape.
Industrial Ecology is an interdisciplinary field involving technology (science and engineering), public policy and regulatory issues, and business administration. Within that framework the overall goal of this course is to promote creative and comprehensive problem solving in the application of Industrial Ecology.
The specific objectives of the course include: Introducing students to the philosophy of Industrial Ecology, introducing several tools and strategies that can help effect a viable model of Industrial Ecology and provide examples and opportunities to explore and apply those tools and strategies. These tools include Industrial Metabolism, Input-Output Analysis, Life Cycle Assessment, Accounting, and Design for the Environment.
This course uses a “Learn-Think-Do” model and continually evolves as new Industrial Ecology concepts are incorporated into the course. Because of this approach, the projects are an interactive experience in the context of real world problems and opportunities. Some of the projects are designed to be group efforts; others are individual efforts.
Sustainability is on the agenda of virtually all corporations and consultancies. The role of the designer in meeting the objectives of the sustainability agenda can be peripheral and of little consequence or significant and strategic. The overall objective of this course is the latter of these two alternatives.
This course is designed to increase consciousness and understanding of the concept of “sustainability” and how Design relates to that concept.
The course examines the tools and the strategies that are currently available and those that are emerging in and beyond the Design community, including, Product Life Cycle Analysis, and selected guidelines, frameworks and tool kits.
Students learn about the relevance of product models, business models, and the systems models and the power of aligning these to reduce negative environmental, societal and economic consequences, incorporating them in discussion, assignments and projects.
Students also learn about what they can do as designers to influence corporate strategies related to sustainability and to create compelling change drivers to engage consumer behavior.
Course work includes both individual and team projects that use the tools, resources and the strategies explored.
Climate Change and Carbon Management
This course is focused on the importance of carbon (CO2) and carbon equivalents (Greenhouse Gases) in the environment caused by both natural and man-made phenomenon.
The primary objectives of the course are to understand the history of the carbon cycle, what activities have caused increases in the presence of greenhouse gases in the environment, and what might be done to reverse, mitigate and/or adapt to the consequences of greenhouse gas buildup.
Students explore strategies of what is being done by individuals, organizations, corporations communities and/governments to slow, stop, and finally reverse the increases in the presence of greenhouse gases, learning how we might apply and align these strategies from individual action to international cooperation.
Workshops in Design, Business Strategy and System Thinking
These workshops are specifically designed to compliment the institutional, corporarate and community setting, and to address their predefined concerns and needs as well as those of the students.
Team development and team projects are integral to these courses. An emphasis is placed on team self-assessment and improvement mechanisms that include the use of tools to equitably measure member participation and contribution.