Learning Outcomes

Sustainability learning outcomes across all disciplines will ensure students are equipped with the experiences, knowledge, and skills needed to address local and global challenges.

Sustainability Learning Outcomes

“Sustainability learning outcomes are statements that outline the specific sustainability knowledge and skills that a student is expected to have gained and demonstrated by the successful completion of a unit, course, or program. Learning outcomes do not necessarily have to use the term “sustainability” … as long as they collectively address sustainability as an integrated concept having social, economic, and environmental dimensions.” 

– American Association of Sustainability in Higher Education


Examples from departments and programs at the University of Utah

ARCHITECTURE: Have a respect for diversity and the relationship between human behavior and the physical environment. Understand the fundamental role of the architect in society and their ethical responsibility to sustain and preserve the environment …

HISTORY: Describe the influence of political ideologies, economic structures, social organizations, cultural perceptions, and natural environments on historical events. Develop an international perspective on the past that addresses the cumulative effect of global exchange, engagement and interdependence.

CHEMICAL ENGINEERING: Ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability.

MATERIALS SCIENCE & ENGINEERING: Ability to select or design a materials based system, component, or process to meet desired needs withing realistic constraints, such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability.

GEOLOGY: Understand the role of the earth sciences in helping to solve societal problems related to natural resources, natural hazards, energy, environment and global climate.

MATHEMATICS: Analyze and understand quantitative problems which arise in applications, including relevant social, scientific, economic, and environmental issues.

CHEMISTRY: Explain why chemistry is an integral activity for addressing social, economic, and environmental problems.

ANTHROPOLOGY: Evaluate and synthesize scientific hypotheses about human ecological, biological, behavioral, and or sociocultural variation using empirical data.

HEALTH, SOCIETY & POLICY: Discuss how specific policies, programs, or practices can be used to address real-world health issues at the individual, social, cultural, ecological, and/or global levels.

Want to articulate your discipline’s unique contributions to sustainability?

Each department and program on campus has the opportunity to work with the sustainability education team to submit existing learning outcomes, outline applicable sustainability courses, and recraft current learning outcomes. Contact Adrienne Cachelin for more information.


Institutional Commitment

“I view universities as the context where the most visionary, path-breaking approaches to urgent challenges should be explored. If not within the academy, where creative thinkers from a wide range of fields work in close proximity in an environment where risk is allowed if not encouraged, then where would we hope to address societal concerns such as the prevention of disease and disability, climate change, air quality, and the analysis, synthesis and application of large quantities of data? Transdisciplinary education for sustainability is one of the many paths the University will use to advance knowledge, facilitate understanding, and promote viable solutions to the pressing issues of the 21st century.” 

– Ruth V. Watkins, senior vice president for Academic Affairs & incoming president