Sustainable Futures Curricular Community

words sustainable futures with green swoop


NOTE: This competition is now closed. Stay tuned for the 2023-2024 version. 

After the success of the 2020-2021 Pandemic Pandemonium, in celebration of the Sustainable Futures initiative, and in collaboration with SJSU's Office of Sustainability, we invited faculty in the College of Humanities and the Arts to create robust assignments and/or curriculum that engages with issues of sustainability. Ten assignments were selected from among all of the submissions to feature on the Office of Sustainability website with faculty each be awarded $200 professional development funds. 

Faculty Awards (Fall 2021)

We are pleased to announce AY 2021-2022 winners, all of whom contributed outstanding assignments. Each assignment has been archived in ScholarWorks with a Creative Commons license that invites anyone to revise, reuse, and remix the materials. See our news page for further information. Congratulations to our winners! 

Defining Sustainable Futures

Given the last year in both the nation and the state of California, the question of what a sustainable future looks like is one we all must face, and that the arts, design, and humanities are some of the best avenues to explore. How can you embed these pressing questions about Sustainable Futures into your curriculum? 


  1. For your submission to be considered, you must schedule a 15-minute meeting with Katherine Harris (see open office hours or email for appointment).
  2. You may submit only one assignment to the Sustainable Futures Curricular Community for consideration.
  3. The assignment can be from a course you have or are currently teaching or a brand new assignment that you create specifically for this opportunity. 
  4. Submission is required to use the assignment template (for ease of archiving and obtaining permissions). 
  5. Your assignment must be accompanied by a brief contextualizing paragraph. See the pdf of the Google submission form to see the requested information. 

Creating "Robust" Assignments

How you interrogate the ideas inherent to the theme of Sustainable Futures into your assignment is contingent on your focus and discipline. We invite you to dream big. We encourage you to create an interdisciplinary assignment that allows students to think broadly across this issue of sustainable futures. If you would like to collaborate with a colleague in another department on an assignment, we encourage that! Cross-disciplinary teams are eligible for $400 - each faculty member should submit his/her/their own version of the assignment that would be appropriate for his/her/their types of students.  

Your assignment might embed one of our 2021-2022 engaging, community-oriented workshops, performances, talks, and art exhibits that addresses sustainable fire management, food scarcity, sustainable design, poetic renderings, sustainability and user interface design, climate visualization, poetic postcards, ecoacoustic series, and poetry as environmental justice (see Current Events). 

Other considerations for your assignment:

For ideas about assignments, take a look at examples of robust, innovative assignments. Also check Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities for ideas about getting students to engage in your innovative pedagogical ideas. Considering that we all had to innovate with the move to online during the pandemic, take a look at what you’ve already created and come talk to Katherine Harris to brainstorm further (open office hours).

Please note: If you revise or remix an assignment from any of these samples, please be sure to add a citation to your assignment in the same fashion that you would for any piece of scholarship. (See "Citational Practices" in Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities.)

Timeline & Submission Link

Deadline Task                                  
Sept-Nov. Schedule & attend 15-min appointment with Katherine Harris (open office hours)
Nov 19 Submit assignment to Google form using required assignment template by 5pm
Dec 15 Winners announced
Jan 25 Each winner records 1-min video explaining the context for the assignment. Videos added to Sustainable Futures Public Programming. Both assignments and videos added to Office of Sustainability Curriculum Development.
Feb (tbd) Awards Ceremony (in-person tbd) 
March Archive assignments in ScholarWorks

Sustainability Resources

Awards Committee

  • Dean, Shannon Miller
  • Associate Dean, Roula Svorou
  • Director, Public Programming, Katherine D. Harris
  • Director, Office of Sustainability, Debbie Andres

Archiving Your Assignments

Because we think that the work and innovation that goes into creating new pedagogy and particularly pedagogy that brings together our college’s multiple disciplines around a theme needs to be recognized and shared, we have created a structure that will permanently archive your assignment in SJSU ScholarWorks with a Creative Commons license in order to foster sharing and citation of your work in a format that can be shared globally (See the 2020-2021 faculty assignments from Pandemic Pandemonium). For these reasons, we are requiring the use of the assignment template with a Creative Commons license.