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UCLA Action Research Teams: A Model for Collaborative Student-Staff-Faculty Research to Improve Campus Sustainability Cully Nordby Institute of the Environment.

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Presentation on theme: "UCLA Action Research Teams: A Model for Collaborative Student-Staff-Faculty Research to Improve Campus Sustainability Cully Nordby Institute of the Environment."— Presentation transcript:

1 UCLA Action Research Teams: A Model for Collaborative Student-Staff-Faculty Research to Improve Campus Sustainability Cully Nordby Institute of the Environment and Sustainability Academic Director Chair, UCLA Sustainability Committee AASHE – Los Angeles October 15, 2012 Erin Berlin UCLA Education for Sustainable Living Program Communications Director,

2 Education for Sustainable Living Program Originated with the California Student Sustainability Coalition Student-initiated, student-led ESLP is a year-long sequence Lecture & Film Series Fall Quarter Environment 185A Action Research Teams Winter & Spring Quarters Environment 185B/C

3 What is Action Research? A dual commitment to study a system and concurrently to collaborate with members of the system in changing it in what is together regarded as a desirable direction. Gilmore et al. (1986) Consultation Goals of UCLA Sustainability ARTs are to: Conduct research that otherwise could not be done by staff Provide leadership and professional development training Foster collaborative community of students, faculty and staff Make UCLA a model campus and leader in sustainability

4 Structure of ARTs IoES faculty supervise the student-led ESLP courses Student Directors of ESLP selected at end of spring for following academic year Speaker Series: 2 Co-Directors ART: 2 Co-Directors, 1 Communications Director ART Directors attend UCLA Sustainability Committee meeting in Fall to discuss possible topics with potential stakeholders Stakeholders come from a variety of departments including: UCLA Chief Sustainability Officer Facilities Management Housing and Hospitality Services Transportation Office of Instructional Development Health System Capital Programs ASUCLA – Student Association UCLA Foundation Recreation

5 Structure of ARTs Team Leaders (3 units/qtr.) and Team Members (2 units/qtr.) recruited mainly via Fall Speaker Series Mandatory weekly Team meetings Team Leaders and Faculty meet every other week Stakeholder meetings as necessary, every other week or so Progress report at end of Winter Quarter Final report, public presentation and stakeholder presentations at end of Spring Quarter

6 Progression ESLP Speaker Series in Spring Quarter 1 unit course: Environment students enrolled Moved Speaker Series to Fall Quarter Created Action Research Team courses: Environment 185 B/C (2 or 3 units) 2 quarter sequence 8 teams, 40 students Waste focus, with other topics as well Public presentation of results in spring Modest funding >100 students enrolled in speaker series Added independent research credit course 1 quarter 3 teams, 12 students All teams focused on recycling

7 Progression Limited to 10 teams Competitive, 70+ students applied for 55 spots Teams awarded over $25,000 from TGIF Cumulatively ESLP courses have served over 1000 students from 30+ majors teams, 68 students Leadership workshop for team leaders Added student Communications Director $30,000 donor gift for 3 years The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) provides some funding Limiting to 8 teams and students Staff and administrators generating lots of ideas Competitive to become a staff stakeholder?

8 Action Research Team Topics Recycling Composting Enhancing bikability Drought-tolerant landscaping Curriculum outreach Paperless evaluations Recreation Center Food systems Greening orientation Responsible investing Green building communications Water savings Energy retrofits Fair trade purchasing Greening health clinics Tree mapping Greening the Greeks Living green on campus and off and many more…..

9 THE OLD WAY MAPPED BINS OUTREACH Campus Recycling Action Research Team Ideal ART collaboration Facebook survey of >700 students Assisted with Earth Day rollout Public education campaign

10 1:1 Ratio of trash to recycling bins New informational design Convenient to recycle and more waste diverted from landfills THE NEW WAY

11 GOAL: showcase drought tolerant landscape at UCLA UCLA entrance at Hilgard & Wyton - Before Drought Tolerant Landscaping Action Research Team

12 After : Hand planted over 300 drought-tolerant plants Served as catalyst for other projects, especially landscape plans for new construction

13 Waste Watchers Action Research Team Average Food Waste: 0.18 lbs per person per meal … or 3,500 lbs of food thrown away every day in the UCLA Dining Halls! Turned small student group initiative into concrete data points and ongoing collaboration with UCLA Dining Hall.

14 Health System Action Research Team Year 1 Initiated by very enthusiastic students Found a stakeholder, replaced midway Main accomplishment: Survey of nurses who then ended up forming own committee Students frustrated because stakeholders not engaged and project outcome was vague Year 2 Newly hired Sustainability Manager became stakeholder Team helped adapt Green Office program for clinic setting, recruited 10+ clinics Competition for generating ideas of how to green the hospital, received 300+ responses.

15 Communications Recruiting process ESLP Newsletter for participants and other interested parties Public presentation each spring Media stories: student newspaper, staff/faculty newspaper, local outlets - increased coverage with tag to Earth Day

16 What we’ve done right Exceptional student leadership Well defined roles for student directors, team leaders, team members, faculty and campus stakeholders Stakeholder engagement facilitated by the UCLA Sustainability Committee and campus sustainability staff – takes some work Topics chosen collaboratively between students and stakeholders Recurring stakeholders and continuity of key projects over multiple years Market ART program via year-end presentations and media outlets (ESLP Newsletter, Daily Bruin, UCLA Today, local) Funding via TGIF and DART Foundation

17 What we wished we’d known at the start Actively address students’ tendency toward “Us vs. Them” Manage student expectations (without squashing enthusiasm!) Clearly identify stakeholder on outset (1-2 max) Manage stakeholder expectations – Scope of projects – Students not just interns or research assistants Watch for rogue elements early, check in with team leaders, team members and stakeholders = keep communication lines wide open Limit number of teams (also helps combat stakeholder burnout) Mid-course correction sometimes necessary, isn’t a bad thing Keep enthusiasm and motivation high during second half of project Manage grading expectations (use peer reviews, not an automatic A)

18 Learn more and connect with us: Thank you!


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