Examining and evaluating three different sustainability activities (course, project, and network)

Fiona Rowles

Designing Novel Graduate-Level Sustainability Science Courses
The University of Alaska, Fairbanks offered a graduate-level course during the Fall 2016 and Fall 2017 semesters called Global to Local Sustainability (NRM 647). This class presented a unique approach to teaching sustainability science by immersing students in a hands-on, team science project examining stakeholder engagement in EPSCoR’s Alaska ACE program. This project looks at student learning outcomes from the course, including career impacts on students 3-4 years after taking the class.

Examining stakeholder engagement in EPSCoR’s Alaska ACE project
Between 2012 and 2018, EPSCoR funded a $21 million large-scale research project called “Alaska Adapting to Changing Environments” (Alaska ACE). The primary focus of Alaska ACE was to “evaluate vulnerabilities, resilience, and adaptive capacities of Alaskan communities to the effects of environmental changes occurring in their region.”. Alaska ACE also focused on interdisciplinary approaches to research questions, developing decision support tools, and the training and mentoring of students. To address these goals, three test cases across the state of Alaska were developed, as well as two working groups. Incorporating data generated from the Global to Local Sustainability class, this project examines the level of stakeholder engagement across the three test cases and two working groups.

Expanding evaluation metrics for landscape-scale conservation
The Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) were initiated in 2009 under the Obama administration, and sought to create a landscape-scale approach to conservation in North America. Through interviews with current and former LCC employees, this project looks at the challenges faced by the nation-wide network, including selecting appropriate metrics for larger-scale, longer-term conservation approaches. This project also seeks to understand what type of training is best suited to individuals working at similar social-ecological scales.