“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” – Matthew 28: 19-20
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Rooting your curriculum in creation care concepts, as outlined in the SSA Covenant, will play a critical role in moving your campus toward sustainability. Additionally, including curricular interests in your stewardship plan will help integrate creation care across the disciplines.
In order to achieve integration of creation care into the curriculum, specific goals must be set.
Below are some suggested goals:
- Create new courses focused on creation care themes
- Identify existing courses into which creation care concepts may be integrated
- Set outcome goals to be achieved by students before graduating
- Integrate service learning around creation care into key courses
- Focus new faculty scholarship on creation care
- Hire faculty members with creation care or sustainability expertise
Identify Learning Outcomes for Students
Learning outcomes should also be identified. Below is a list of some possible learning outcomes:
- Understand and articulate creation care themes in scripture
- Embody sustainability as part of daily practice
- Understand moral dimensions of creation care
- Know about important environmental issues
- Develop skills for a church environmental audit
- Think/write critically about creation care
- Identify creation care ministry and outreach opportunities
Creation Care Bibliography/Sample Syllabi
Identifying key creation care texts and designing courses is another important step.
Certification programs acknowledge a level of competency in or mastery of a specific body of knowledge. A Creation Care Certification focuses on environmental and sustainability issues, as seen through the lens of scripture. Certification may allow graduates to serve as campus sustainability coordinators, on community task forces, or with other local organizations focusing on sustainability. It also provides an excellent opportunity for graduates to lead the way in their church or denomination’s creation care efforts. Alternative options to starting a certification program could include incorporating creation care courses into your Continuing Education department, adding a creation care course to your general education requirements, or requiring a co-curricular creation care experience before graduating.
Sample Creation Care Certification Program
- Required Foundation Course:
Introduction to Creation Care
- Theology Department (choose 2)
- Creation Care and the Old Testament
- Creation Care and the New Testament
- Theology of Environmental Justice
- Eschatology and the Environment
- Theology of Environmental Issues
- Praxis (choose 2)
- Sustainable Missions
- Sustainability and the Local Church
- Creation Care and Public Policy
- Christian Sustainability in the 21st Century
- Faith-Based International Development
- Plus one additional elective from the above course lists
- Review & Expositor: quarterly Baptist theological journal dedicated to free and open inquiry of issues related to the Church’s mission in the contemporary world
- Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture: Formerly known as Ecotheology, this journal has been the leading forum for constructive and normative studies on the relationship between religion and ecology.
- Evangelical Quarterly: a well-established academic journal including articles on a wide variety of biblical and theological topics.
- Perspectives on Science & Christian Faith: a peer-reviewed quarterly journal that publishes scholarly articles on issues of science and faith and book reviews of seminal books published in these areas.
- Environmental Ethics: a peer-reviewed journal that publishes articles, reviews and discussions exploring the philosophical aspects of environmental problems.
- Journal for the Study of the New Testament: one of the leading peer-reviewed academic journals in New Testament Studies.
- Seminary Ridge Review (Creation Care Edition)
- Blessed Earth films
- Restoring Eden’s list of recommended documentaries
- Renewal is a feature-length documentary film capturing the vitality and diversity of today’s religious-environmental activists.
- Full environmental documentaries available online
- Is God Green? with Bill Moyer
- Creation Care Quotes compiled by Fred Kruger
- Creation Care Links
- Eco-Justice Ministries
- Sustainability Curriculum in Higher Education: A Call to Action by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)
“The fundamental problem faced in meeting the goal of education for a healthy and sustainable society for all students is that the existing curriculum in higher education has not been developed to examine how we shape a sustainable world. Much of the curriculum has been developed to provide students with an increasingly narrow understanding of disciplines, professions and jobs, and is focused on specific knowledge and skills employed in the given area. What is needed is curriculum that prepares learners for living sustainability, both professionally and personally, and that explicitly helps the learner deeply understand the interactions, inter-connections and the consequences of actions and decisions.
Regardless of the subject of the curriculum, students must learn and practice holistic systems thinking and be able to apply such thinking to real world situations. Furthermore, students must understand how the systems of which they are a part (social, economic and ecological) function and are integrated. In order to accomplish this we need a significant segment of the learning opportunities for students to be structured to accomplish these outcomes. To do so will require significant changes in the curriculum and the pedagogy used to deliver that curriculum. These changes will only occur when large numbers of faculty have the knowledge, skills, resources, support, incentives and disposition to change what and how they teach.
Any efforts to increase the scale of sustainability education will rest in the hands of the faculty and thus it is clear that strategies for ‘scaling up’ EFS [education for sustainability] have to be aimed at providing faculty with incentives, support, resources, knowledge, and skills for changing their practice.
Although faculty have responsibility for the curriculum, their work is part of a larger network that includes students, staff, administrators, employers, accreditation agencies, government agencies, foundations, and non-government organizations. As a consequence, one of the key opportunities for curriculum change involves collaboration among these stakeholders. Many individuals within these groups are committed to sustainability and those commitments can be leveraged to establish partnerships and collaborations that support curricular change.”