Arizona State University
Senate Motion #2020-21
Motion Introduced by: Curriculum and Academic Programs Committee
Date of First Reading: October 7, 2019
Date of Second Reading: November 4, 2019
Title of Motion: Request from the School of Sustainability – for the establishment of a graduate certificate – Energy and Sustainability
Action Requested: This curricular proposal has received all college, school, unit and university administrative approvals, and is being presented to the Senate for review and voting decision.
Rationale: Our society is in the midst of a transition towards sustainable energy. Since the global energy system is a complex, socio-technical system, educating the next generation of leaders in sustainable energy requires a transdisciplinary perspective combining both technical and societal dimensions of energy systems. This proposed Certificate in Energy and Sustainability is designed to do just that, i.e. to train graduate students from diverse programs to see beyond the boundaries of traditional methodologies and disciplinary viewpoints. This graduate certificate is suitable for students from a variety of different backgrounds, including sustainability, engineering, urban planning, and the natural sciences.
Sustainable energy is on the forefront of many students’ minds, and yet there are very few universities with a graduate program that includes all aspects, not just the technical or the engineering considerations. Programs that do exist are either on the masters or the PhD level. One reason why sustainable energy may be an overlooked area in educational offerings nationwide is because it is a highly interdisciplinary area. Students need to be trained to see beyond the boundaries of traditional methodologies and disciplinary viewpoints, and integrate technological applications with societal and policy insights. ASU is well positioned to offer a certificate in Energy and Sustainability as there is a major interdisciplinary effort in this area, with strong student interest. This certificate is specifically aimed at current ASU students, either in a current graduate program or interested in adding a certificate to their education portfolio. The certificate would build on the foundation of School of Sustainability’s coursework for the PhD in Sustainable Energy, while allowing students to draw on electives from many other schools and program.