iSEE Names 8 Levenick Teaching Fellows

Urbana, Ill. — The Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) has selected eight faculty instructors to be part of the 2022-23 Levenick iSEE Teaching Sustainability Fellows cohort.

Funded by a generous endowment from Illinois Alumnus Stuart L. Levenick and his wife Nancy J. Levenick, this fourth cohort hails from across the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus — and beyond. One of our fellows represents a collaboration with the Zhejiang University International Campus; another will offer a class jointly with the University of Manchester, UK. All eight Teaching Fellows will incorporate sustainable thinking into existing classes or create entirely new courses built around eco-friendly elements.

“We are excited about the breadth of courses that will emerge from this year’s program,” iSEE Associate Director for Education & Outreach Luis Rodríguez said. “From sustainable concrete in architecture to emerging environmental issues to a look at sustainability trends in Urbana-Champaign, these courses will provide a wealth of knowledge to students.”

Applications continue to pour in each year for the Levenick Teaching Sustainability program — and iSEE prides itself that applicants from academic units across campus are interested in adding sustainability thinking into the curriculum. Levenick Fellows will meet throughout the year to trade ideas on sustainability education and to benefit from the educational resources and expertise at iSEE.

“We are grateful to the Levenicks for the generous donation that sustains this program,” Rodríguez said. “As part of our educational commitment to the Illinois Climate Action Plan, iSEE is striving to incorporate sustainability into as many classes as possible. And with a majority of the Levenick fellows working on 100- and 200-level courses, we are doing our part to reach as many students as possible.”

The 2022-23 awardees and the projects they will undertake:

  • Kate Abney, Associate Director of Intercultural and Global Learning in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, who will incorporate human-caused climate change discussions into LAS 291-292 “Global Perspectives” courses for students participating in education abroad programming;
  • Benjamin A. Bross, Assistant Professor of Architecture, who will create a new 200-level course on regional and urban-scaled environmental, social, and economic sustainability;
  • Niloufar Emami, Assistant Professor of Architecture, who will create a new course, ARCH 571 “Additive Formwork for Complex Concrete,” to explore new, sustainable fabrication methods for designing and making concrete building components;
  • Ryan Flanagan, Senior Lecturer of Rhetoric at ZJU-UIUC Institute in Haining, China, who will update the department’s Rhetoric 101-102 course by implementing sustainability as the central concept (and coordinating student participation in the Eco Club on the ZJU campus);
  • Surangi Punyasena, Associate Professor of Plant Biology, who will update IB 105 “Environmental Biology” with existing and emerging solutions to environmental issues;
  • Mark Taylor, Associate Professor of Architecture, who will create a new class, ARCH 576 “Solar Decathlon: Past, Present, and Future,” in which students will learn about sustainable housing design and develop schematics for affordable, energy-efficient homes;
  • Gretchen Winter, Clinical Assistant Professor in Business Administration, who will create a new 100-level global classroom course, “Evaluating Energy Sources of the Future Using a Professional Responsibility Lens,” which will challenge students to think about how companies and countries can develop an energy transition plan for a lower carbon future. (Colombia is the setting for the case, and the course will blend classroom learning, field trips to area non-fossil fuel energy research sites, and guest lectures from business leaders and professors. The course is expected to be jointly offered with the University of Manchester — students from there will visit campus for two weeks, and all students will complete UIUC-Manchester team presentations); and
  • Jinhui Yan, Assistant Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering, who will enhance CEE 360 “Structural Engineering” with sustainability awareness and materials, and add analysis of environmental, energy, and economic impacts.

Read more about the Levenick iSEE Teaching Sustainability Fellowship Program.