three women sit next to a solar energy panel outdoors
Story Sustainability

CSU Honored for Innovation in Climate Change Teaching and Learning


2023 AASCU award recognizes the work of CSU multi-campus faculty learning community in teaching climate change.

three women sit next to a solar energy panel outdoors

The California State University has received the 2023 Excellence & Innovation Award for Sustainability and Sustainable Development in the Comprehensive category from the AASCU (American Association of State Colleges and Universities). The award recognizes the Chico State-led Teaching Climate Change and Resilience Initiative—a CSU multi-campus Faculty Learning Community (FLC)—for its outstanding results and potential to serve as a model for other institutions. Five additional CSU campuses—with faculty involved in the learning community—were also recognized with the award: Cal Poly Humboldt, CSU Monterey Bay, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo​, CSU San Marcos and Stanislaus State​.

The Faculty Learning Community (FLC) on Teaching Climate Change and Resilience was created by Chico State Professor Mark Stemen in 2022 to support fellow CSU faculty members in speaking about a topic as complex and emotionally fraught as climate change with their students. Stemen's FLC educated 62 faculty members in more than 30 disciplines across the six campuses on how to integrate climate change and resilience into their courses. Sessions covered the science behind climate change, the solutions available to counter it, and the need to incorporate justice into the conversation. To date, over 75 classes spanning all fields of study have been redesigned to include greater engagement in climate change and resilience.

With support from the CSU’s Innovative Teaching and Learning Programs​, the learning community will be expanded and made available to 230 faculty members across the 23-university system in spring 2024.

CSU Interim Chancellor Jolene Koester offered her congratulations and appreciation to the committed and forward-focused faculty and staff associated with the FLC.  

“This innovative program across six CSU universities is a powerful example of our faculty's commitment to address the existential threat presented by climate change, and it is aligned with the CSU's holistic efforts to incorporate sustainability throughout our curricula and every aspect of our operations," Koester said. 

“Congratulations again to these remarkable faculty and staff members from Cal Poly Humboldt, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Chico State, CSU Monterey Bay, CSU San Marcos, Stanislaus State and the CSU Chancellor's Office. Their work to educate and inspire future generations of climate champions will advance environmental justice and create a greener and more sustainable world for all of us."

The FLC's achievements were recognized in July at the AASCU Sustainability Solutions Symposium in Washington, D.C., and will again be commended during AASCU's 2023 Annual Conference scheduled for Nov. 4-7 in Chicago.

Visit Chico State's Teaching Climate Change and Resilience Initiative website for more information on the Faculty Learning Community.