December 27, 2007 at 11:21 am Leave a comment

As this article in the New York Times discusses, the complexity of issues such as global warming is requiring a whole new approach from academia:

Take what’s happening at the Rochester Institute of Technology. In September the school established the Golisano Institute for Sustainability, aimed at getting students and professors from different disciplines to collaborate in studying the environmental ramifications of production and consumption.

“The academic tradition is to let one discipline dominate new programs,” said Nabil Nasr, the institute’s director. “But the problem of sustainability cuts across economics, social elements, engineering, everything. It simply cannot be solved by one discipline, or even by coupling two disciplines.” …

So more universities are setting up stand-alone centers that offer neutral ground on which engineering students can work on alternative fuels while business students calculate the economics of those fuels and political science majors figure how to make the fuels palatable to governments in both developing nations and America’s states.

[Full article here]

The approach described involves setting up stand-alone centres within existing schools.  At the City Program, we’re cworking with the Centre for Sustainable Community Development to create a new certificate program that will bring instructors from the private and public sectors together to teach the latest practical information on sustainability that professionals today will need. 

It’s a slightly different approach but it’s based on the same principle: collaboration.

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