Principles of Sustainability course at NWTC/ critical thinking

Principles of Sustainability  (10-806-112)  is a (newer) three credit course taught online, face to face and blended at NWTC.  This transferable course counts as a science elective  at UWGB/UW-O and is quite popular with General studies transfer students and also with ADN to BSN completers.

What’s in the curriculum you may ask?

Principles and applications are involved, but also critical thinking.  Solar energy (alternative energy), chemical cycling and biodiversity are considered the three scientific principles.  Most of us would expect those topics.   The SOCIAL science principles are:  economics, politics and ethics.

Sub themes include:  natural capital, natural capital degradation, trade-offs, solutions and individuals matter.

Any one of those sub themes could be a SPARK, or even a topic to integrate into a lesson in many disciplines that need applications/ current events.

The critical thinking charge to students in the preface lists these items:

  1.  Question everything and everybody.
  2. Identify and evaluate your bias and beliefs
  3. Be open- minded and flexible
  4. Be humble about what you know
  5. Question evidence and conclusions presented
  6. Try to uncover differences in basic beliefs and assumptions
  7. Try to identify and assess motives of those presenting evidence
  8. Expect and tolerate uncertainty
  9. Do the arguments used involve logical fallicies or debating tricks?
  10. Do not believe everything you read on the internet
  11. Develop principles or rules to evaluate evidence

My hope is that more instructors will be encouraged to add some content from Principles of Sustainablity to their classes.   Feel free to share your ideas!




DECA Advisors are encouraged to include Collegiate DECA Case Studies in the curriculum: “Collegiate DECA’s industry-validated Case Studies are aligned with marketing, business management/administration, finance and hospitality/tourism career clusters…the Case Studies contribute to students being career ready when they graduate.”

The National Collegiate DECA organization offers a variety of Guidelines, Performance Indicators, Sample Exams and Events in every topic from Accounting, Corporate Finance, Hospitality, Starting/Growing a Business to Ethics, Event Planning and International Business.  To review and/or download this information, visit this website:

Guest Speakers

Guest speakers add value to the classroom…it is somewhat of a challenge to find individuals that provide quality information while engaging or connecting with the learners.  If you are in need of the same, check out the founder of “Daily Life University:”

Mission Statement: Daily Life University is a community of dedicated life-long learners. Through studying Mentality, Gratitude, Health, Relationships, Finances, Choices, and Spirituality, D.L.U. aims to help others rise above mediocrity to live an Extraordinary Life!

Jason shares aspects of launching/marketing a business as well as “success secrets” from his book, “Conquer The Post College Passion Slump!”  The students (and this Instructor) thoroughly enjoyed this presentation.

Cool Visuals to Explain Summative and Formative Assessment

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the 2017 WTCS Assessment Conference.  One of the sessions I attended was Teachable Moments:  Formative Assessment for student Success by Dr. Nancy Chapko and Dr. Meg Hunter.  At this session they shared these two visuals which struck me as a great visual way to explain the difference between Summative and Formative Assessment.  In the ice climbing visual, Summative assessment is like the Summit and formative assessments are the foot holds that you help you reach the end result, the summit.

Don’t ask me any questions…..

Have you ever heard this from an instructor, professor, or boss? Well some of our students might have or feel this way when it comes to asking questions before, during or after class. We all know when it comes to asking questions, or concerns about an assignments, that the student is quite shy as they don’t want to bother us, or worst case scenario don’t want to feel STUPID…..Well the best way to assist with this process is with “Peer to Peer” mentoring or as I have titled this: M.A.P.S= “Motivating a Positive Success”

Scared People Continue reading

Improving Course Success without Adding Content

As an instructor, I often feel that the end of a semester is both the most joyous and most disappointing time of the semester. I am able to reflect upon the positive achievements of those who have successfully completed my  course, but my mind tends to gravitate towards the students who were not successful. I find myself constantly thinking about what I could have done differently in the course and the measures I could implement that could positively impact student success. I have now concluded that it is not as much about changing the resources I am using to teach as much as how I am supporting students who are at risk of not being successful.

Continue reading