Sustainability professors named 2017 AASHE award winners

Katja BrundiersThe Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) announced Katja Brundiers and Arnim Wiek, both professors in ASU's School of Sustainability, as recipients of a Campus Sustainability Research award for their outstanding achievements and progress toward sustainability. AASHE bestows its prestigious awards on institutions and individuals that are helping to lead higher education to a sustainable future. This year, AASHE received 230 entries that resulted in 10 winners announced in three campus sustainability categories –  leadership, achievement and research. An article by Brundiers and Wiek, titled “Beyond Interpersonal Competence: Teaching and Learning Professional Skills in Sustainability," was submitted to AASHE. The article summarizes professional skills synthesized from literature and why they are relevant for sustainability professionals. It also details how these skills have been taught in an undergraduate sustainability course at ASU, discussing both the effectiveness and challenges of that course and concluding with lessons learned. "This award recognizes the role professional skills play in impactful sustainability work and the important contribution higher education sustainability programs can make to that," says Brundiers. "This is such an encouraging statement for us as educators and an invitation to embrace professional skills training, especially because AASHE represents the voices of sustainability scholars and practitioners – on campus, and increasingly in the community." Winners were announced during the Opening Ceremony at the annual AASHE Conference & Expo in San Antonio, Texas. Entries were judged on overall impact, innovation, stakeholder involvement, clarity and other criteria specific to each category. “The 2017 award winners demonstrate an inspiring passion for solving some of the world’s most complex challenges. They are truly pioneering the campus sustainability movement,” said AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. Award recipients received recognition in a variety of formats, as well as a plaque made of Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood from Rivanna – a woman-owned B Corp with a strong commitment to sustainability. To date, this award program has recognized more than 75 campuses since its inception in 2006.