Request for Proposals for an Undergraduate Methods Course on Sustainability for the Global Sustainability Minor

The Sustainability Initiative is accepting applications for a grant of up to $10,000 to develop an undergraduate methods course in sustainability for the Global Sustainability Minor.

Successful applications will be interdisciplinary and demonstrate a balanced curriculum that touches on traditional paradigms of research design and methods as well as alternative approaches to research, which may include strategies of theory development, team science, and/or collaborative, community-based participatory research designs and methods.

Deadline: May 15, 2015

About the Global Sustainability Minor

The Global Sustainability Minor accelerates skill building across UCI’s academic majors in students motivated to tackle many of the grand challenges facing current and future generations. These challenges include addressing society’s need for adaptation to a changing climate while avoiding amplification of extreme poverty. The Earth is a complex system comprised of interactions between various physical, biological, social, political, and economic components, and human populations have initiated many global practices that cannot be maintained indefinitely. Some of these practices are physiochemical or biological in nature (the depletion of fossil fuels, the accumulation of ozone-depleting chemicals, the destruction of wildlife habitats, and high rates of species extinction); while others are social, economic and political (accelerating urbanization, population displacement, and regional economic imbalance).

Solutions and pathways advancing from these challenges depend upon interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches that draw on the strengths of multiple fields. In the minor, students become aware of the main drivers of climate change, both natural and human-induced, the intrinsic as well as the resource values of species, ecosystems, and communities, and how the loss of cultural diversity and a growing income gap between nations leads to additional pressure for biological resource exploitation. Students also become familiar with foundational sustainability concepts in social practice, governance and resource allocation, along with the physical and biological sciences to better understand and effectively address the contemporary environmental and social equity crises.

Requirements for the Minor

The minor is open to all UCI students. Courses in addition to those already approved for the minor may be petitioned to the Director, and the list of accepted courses is updated on an annual basis. See for more information. Students are required to complete three introductory courses (12 units), three electives (12 units), one methods course (4 units), and three quarters of a senior capstone sequence (8 units).

Specifics of Request

This Request for Proposal (RFP) seeks plans for creative interdisciplinary approaches that develop and teach core methods courses on sustainability that may be based in diverse disciplinary discourse. The courses need to be applicable to students in multiple disciplines, while understanding that each course may not successfully integrate all potential schools and departments associated with sustainability. The successful proposals will demonstrate a balanced curriculum that touches on traditional paradigms of research design and methods (e.g., quantitative and qualitative methods and approaches to knowledge creation and data collection) as well as alternative approaches to research, which may include strategies of theory development, team science, and/or collaborative, community-based participatory research designs and methods. The proposed courses are expected to be placed into the minor curriculum and intended for students beginning their upper-division educational experience.

Eligibility: Proposals will be accepted from all Senate Faculty interested in participation in the minor program.

Funding: (up to $10,000) Funds may be used for course development, summer salary, TA support, and direct course expenses. Other expenses will be considered. Department/ Program support or matching funds are strongly encouraged. Expenditures for faculty salaries (either summer or academic year) and/or course release time are permitted according to school policies and appropriate approval by unit heads for each collaborator.

Proposal Form: The proposal consists of four components:

  • An application (not to exceed 4 pages) that should include the following sections:
  • Title
  • Faculty name and role in the course
  • Additional participating faculty and staff
  • Brief course description (200 words)
  • Proposed quarter the course will be first offered
  • Intended student audience (year, student profiles, impacted programs)
  • Innovative features
  • Anticipated technological needs
  • Example course activity list
  • Plan for continuation beyond 2015/2016 and incorporation into Departmental or School curriculum.
  • Budget, including stipends and anticipated course expenses
  • One page bio-sketch of the lead faculty, including research interest and teaching experience.
  • One page tentative syllabus and statement of learning objectives
  • Documentation of support from Chair or Program

These four documents should be compiled as a single PDF document and submitted electronically to, by May 15, 2015.

Criteria for Selection: A peer-review process managed by the faculty Task Force for Sustainability Education (TFSE) will evaluate proposals for teaching innovation, interdisciplinary content and the ability to strengthen curriculum within the context of the Global Sustainability minor. Other criteria include: 

  • Clarity of goals and statement of need
  • Feasibility of timeline
  • Appropriateness of budget allocations
  • Feasibility of incorporating the course into other UCI curricula
  • Use of evaluation methods for assessing outcome and impact, where relevant

Reporting requirements: By June, 30, 2016, the grant recipients must provide to the TFSE a brief summary report (not to exceed 2 pages) accompanied by course curriculum.

The summary report should describe:

  • the work that was accomplished;
  • the outcomes/impact of the course development funds;
  • an update on plans for ongoing collaboration beyond the funded project;
  • a final accounting of budget expenses; and
  • student feedback and course evaluations (if relevant).

If applicable, describe any significant deviations from or extensions to the project described in the original proposal.