August 26, 2015


SUBJECT:    UC Sustainability Initiatives

On May 7, 2015, President Napolitano launched the Carbon Neutrality Initiative, which commits UC to emit net zero greenhouse gases from its buildings and vehicle fleet by 2025, something no other major research university has done. In February 2015, 17 research, education, operations, and outreach projects focused on leveraging faculty expertise and student creativity to make the UC Carbon Neutrality Initiative a reality were approved. As part of this process, two new faculty engagement and education projects that are integral to the success of the initiative were announced. Faculty leaders are being sought from each campus for a Faculty Curriculum Workshop and Networking Events program, and a Faculty Climate Action Champion program.

Faculty Climate Action Champion Program:
The Faculty Climate Action Champion Award incentivizes and supports faculty engagement in climate change research, teaching, and engagement. Each campus will be allotted $25,000 to distribute to a selected faculty "champion" and $5,000 for events and related programming costs connected to the champion's work. The awards provide institutional support for one exceptional faculty member to deepen climate change teaching and research on each campus. Selected champions and their projects are intended to help meet and focus student demand for climate action and education. The champions should also inspire a wider range of faculty to take up the challenge of engaged research and education to achieve carbon neutrality. UC San Diego will select a Faculty Climate Action Champion by October 15, 2015.

Requirements of Champions:
The following elements must be included in faculty proposals submitted for Climate Action Champion and are required of the chosen champion:

1. Engagement of the campus community including students, staff, and faculty;
2. Plan for engagement of stakeholders off campus including local community members (including climate, social justice, and environmental organizations), non-profit leaders, government agencies, and/or business leaders;
3. Research plan that will have broader interdisciplinary scope and applications than to the specific academic field of the Champion and will give the Champion an opportunity to pursue a new direction in their work or a new project;
4. Description of teaching or other curricular innovations such as a seminar (targeted towards undergraduate and/or graduate students), a new course or set of courses, and/or significant infusion of climate action into an existing course or courses.

Faculty Curriculum Workshop and Networking Event:

Each campus will be allotted $35,500 to boost climate neutrality and sustainability education across their campus. This funding will support a curriculum workshop and a networking event to engage faculty members who choose to infuse climate change and sustainability concepts into existing courses across disciplines. Each campus will be asked to identify two co-leaders for the workshop and networking event, who will attend a systemwide training session in Fall 2015. Each campus is expected to host a workshop for 20 faculty members during the 2015-16 academic year, with a follow-up networking event in 2016-17 that will be open to all faculty and that will showcase the revised courses. Enriching existing courses in this way is very cost-effective and enhances the educational experience of many students, especially those for whom sustainability may not be a focus. Co-leaders each receive a $1,000 stipend. At least one of the co-leaders should be a member of the Academic Senate.

Applications to serve as the campus Faculty Climate Action Champion or a Faculty Curriculum Workshop and Networking Co-Leader are due by September 22, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. PDT.

Submit applications to

Robert Continetti
Vice Chair, Academic Senate,
San Diego Division

Sandra A Brown
Vice Chancellor for Research