Up the Pyramid, Around the Loop—Action Research Cultivates Sustainability Scholars to Green the Campus


  • Dann Sklarew Environmental Science & Policy
  • Andrew Wingfield New Century College
  • Allison Richards Environment Science & Policy




With the support of a three-year curriculum development grant from the Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research (OSCAR), we have integrated undergraduate research in sustainability studies into our curriculum. This presentation details how we use the program's bookend courses, the introductory Sustainable World and capstone Sustainability in Action courses, to scaffold students' ascent of OSCAR's three-level scholarly pyramid: discovery, inquiry, and creation of scholarship.

We also describe our learning loop model, which provides students in the introductory course with opportunities to learn about design and execution of university-funded, campus action research projects directly from students who have completed the capstone. Reciprocally, project ideas from the introductory course are passed forward for potential implementation by subsequent capstone students.

Finally, we share the results of our research into the impact of our curricular approach on our students. In particular, we share our findings regarding how the pyramid and loop affected their individual emergence as sustainability practitioners and scholars as well as their forging of a community of practice among peers and alumni, extending beyond the classroom.

Author Biographies

Dann Sklarew, Environmental Science & Policy

**2010 GMU Teaching Excellence Award**

Andrew Wingfield, New Century College

*2006 GMU Teaching Excellence Award**





4:15pm-5:30pm POSTER SESSION (Group A- 4:15-4:45pm)