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Environment / Sustainability

SoGES Resident Fellow available to assist faculty with addressing sustainability in courses

September 26, 2011

Professor William M. Timpson (Education) is serving as a School of Global Environmental Sustainability (SoGES) Resident Fellow for 2011-2012 and is available to assist faculty across campus in addressing aspects of sustainability in their courses, in particular, through the use of case studies.

He is prepared to work with individuals, or to make presentations to groups, departments, and/or colleges. The partnership will provide SoGES with a way to connect with individuals and groups across campus, assisting them in infusing case studies, and other research initiatives.

Move Towards Problem-Based Learning

In joining SoGES as a Resident Fellow, Timpson hopes to remove the dichotomous, black-and-white cognitive processes students typically use to solve problems and attempt research. In Metateaching and the Instructional Map, Timpson calls for attention to another, “greyer” cognitive learning process: problem-based learning. “Problem-based learning (or case-based learning)”, notes Timpson, “is an approach to instruction that is gaining increasing popularity in some parts of higher education, especially in fields like medicine, where students will eventually move into roles calling for a great deal of critical and creative thinking about real and inevitably complex problems.”

Learning is more about an immersion in an issue and a process for exploration

According to Timpson, the instructor’s role is to guide students through their exploration of the central issues, explaining how to access the various sources that are available. In essence, learning is more about an immersion in an issue and a process for exploration.

“Students are challenged to discover their own responses but then check their ideas against what others in class are thinking as well as what ideas are in various published sources. With complex cases, they often also discover a range of opinions and their challenge is also one of evaluating those sources and the lines of reasoning each represents,” remarks Timpson.

Knowing how to impose a behavioral analysis on actions taken can also prove useful

Timpson reinforces the need for a model for consensus and a process for resolving issues that arise in groups without devolving to either aggressive or submissive responses can also be important. Finally, knowing how to impose a behavioral analysis on actions taken can also prove useful for resolving questions and concerns.

Timpson has published several books that address aspects of teaching and learning about sustainability and can share copies of these:

  • Timpson, W. and D. K. Holman, Eds. (2011) Case studies of classrooms and communication: Integrating diversity, sustainability, peace and reconciliation. Madison, WI: Atwood.
  • Timpson, W., B. Dunbar, G. Kimmel, B. Bruyere, P. Newman, and H. Mizia (2006) 147 tips for teaching sustainability: Connecting the environment, the economy and society. Madison, WI: Atwood.
  • Timpson, W. (2001) Stepping up: College learning and community for a sustainable future. Madison, WI: Atwood and Mason, OH: Thomson Learning.

About SoGES

The School of Global Environmental Sustainability's main goal is to develop new strategies for global sustainability that will address environmental and human challenges and inform solutions to global environmental problems. SoGES hopes to fulfill this mission using a sustainability human-environmental framework that will advance scientific understanding while supporting the generation of new science and linkages to economics and society. This mission is enhanced by the engagement of CSU’s expertise in various innovative ways that cross traditional disciplinary boundaries.

For more information about SoGES Fellows, please visit our website at

Contact: Kerri McDermid
Phone: 970-492-4155