Sustainability and Development Conference Workshops

(Click each workshop below to expand)

[Morning Sessions]
9am-12pm, University League (Room D)
A1. Critical Dialogue to Enhance Effectiveness in the Practice of Sustainable Development

Facilitators: Anna Malavisi (Western Connecticut State University) and Marisa Rinkus (Michigan State University)

1. Specific aims of the workshop

  • Allow cross-disciplinary collaborators to engage in a structured, reflexive dialogue about tacit assumptions that constitute the worldviews which frame their practice.
  • Enable discussion and analysis of conflicting assumptions, power dynamics, implicit biases, ethical issues, and epistemic injustice within teams/institutions working in sustainable development.

2. Agenda (total length 3 hours)

Part I. Preamble
(30 minutes)

  • Presentation highlighting the motivation, background, and procedures of the workshop
  • Introduction of the The Toolbox Dialogue Initiative (TDI).

Part II. Breakout dialogue sessions
(90 minutes, including a 10 minute break)

  • Participants will divide into breakout dialogue groups.
  • Participants will introduce themselves to others in their particular dialogue group.
  • These sessions begin and end with participants completing a set of rating response items using a web interface, with a 60-minute dialogue in between. Sessions will be facilitated by members of TDI.

Part III. Co-creation activity
(30 minutes)

  • Small group activity and discussion of ways in which structured dialogue can work to support sustainable development projects that are both effective and just.

Part IV. Workshop Debrief
(30 minutes)

  • Closing discussion among all participants about the experience, focusing on application in sustainable development research and practice.

3. Key knowledge, tool, or skill presented

  • Knowledge about the normative dimensions of development, including power imbalances and epistemic injustice.
  • Philosophically-structured dialogue as a tool for critical reflection, discussion, and analysis.
  • Identifying implicit assumptions and biases that can undermine effective collaboration.

4. Outcomes for the participant

  • Identify habits that guide research, influencing it in ways that reflect differences in concept and value that are grounded in training and experience.
  • Share habits by articulating them – perhaps for the first time – and subsequently enabling their collaborators to learn more about how they operate.
  • Coordinate habits by harnessing the differences among them through dialogue, negotiation, and compromise.

9am-12pm, University League (Room 4)
A2. Using urban metabolism tailor-made method solutions to promote
minority education CANCELLED

Facilitators: MS candidate, ​Ms. Carol Maione, School for Environment and Sustainability (University of Michigan) and Dr. Gabriela Fernandez, Department of Architecture and Urban Studies (Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy) / Co-founder, Metabolism of Cities, Brussels Belgium

1. Specific aims of the workshop

Go getter: Would you like to learn more how sustainability issues may influence your daily life?

Today more than half the world’s population lives in cities while giving rise to three quarters of global carbon emissions and consuming two-thirds of all energy produced. Cities are also seats of political power, cultural production, and technological and business innovation. Join us as we will discuss the importance of localizing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 while considering the ‘no one should be left behind’ motto. In this workshop we will discuss together how the latest SDGs related to cities, big data, urban metabolism, material flow analysis (environmental assessment parameters), tailor made civic engagement may help make cities be more inclusive and sustainable. The workshop will include a number of presentations, group activities, open discussion all related to diversity research. Participants will be given an overview on strategies related to urban metabolism, civic engagement, participate in an open discussion and group activity on the SDGs.

2. Agenda (total length 3 hours)

Part I. Preamble
(30 minutes)

  • Welcome and introduction.
  • Instruction to assignments.

Part II. The SDGs and urban metabolism
(30 minutes)

  • Definition, visualizations, and lesson learn from the Urban Metabolism and Minority Pulse (UMMP) campaign.
  • Target on minorities: Who, and Why it is important, Benefits for all.

Part III. Identify problems and existing conditions
(30 minutes)

  • SDGs cluster: How to deal with SDGs, How they interconnect, Why it is important to speak on the UN SDGs.
  • Audience: How to select the target audience for a pilot, policy implementation, or solution design; Who to include; How to deliver tailored-made information and knowledge.

Part IV. Material flow analysis activity
(30 minutes)

Part V. A closer look at a practical case study
(30 minutes)

  • Round tables on the current problems including water and energy supply,
    pollution, waste management and good consumption

Part VI. Final group presentations and closing remarks
(30 minutes)

3. Key knowledge, tool, or skill presented

  • This workshop is for students, citizens, young professionals, city officials, entrepreneur,
    climate or thematic experts relating to the local city challenge, designers, and creators.
    The workshop will provide tools, data collection parameter methods, and urban metabolism
    system approaches towards resilient and monitoring cities.

4. Outcomes for the participant

  • Understanding of urban systems (i.e. urban metabolism).
  • Sustainability indicators.
  • Data collection (real case study)
  • 10 min group presentations

9am-12pm, Dana Building (Computer Lab)
A3. Open-Source Analysis of SDGs at the Food-Water-Energy Nexus Using Global, Gridded Modeling

Facilitator: David Johnson (Purdue University)

This workshop will introduce participants to an open-source, easy-to-use, web-enabled modeling framework for analyzing those SDGs that relate directly or indirectly to management of the world’s land, water, and energy-producing resources (9 of the 17 SDGs). These natural resources are already under intense pressure from rising global population and income. The complex relationships between food, energy, and water demand that these SDGs be viewed in a global context and pursued using a systems perspective, with local resolution. This poses a barrier to entry for high-quality analysis, suggesting a need for open-source, transparent, modular tools for modeling feedbacks between global and local scales and the impact of policies targeting the SDGs.

The goal of the workshop is to catalyze a radical new approach to understanding and predicting change in coupled human and natural systems, leading towards a global community of practice committed to tackling SDG challenges with integrated, flexible, extensible, and verifiable models and datasets (consistent with FAIR principles). Participants will learn how to use one such model that adopts this OpenSDG framework. SIMPLE-G is a global, gridded partial-equilibrium model of food and environmental security, hosted on Purdue’s GeoHub, with links to agricultural land and water use and to future climate and socioeconomic conditions.

As motivation, we will first present some flagship applications that have used the model to analyze tradeoffs and synergies between SDGs. Then we will show participants how to access and configure the model to replicate one of these analyses. The first flagship application examines the impact of water scarcity around the world on local food production, irrigation extent, global food prices and under-nutrition. A second application will explore the local, regional and global impacts of various options for location-specific strategies to mitigate aggregate nitrate leaching from farming in the US Corn Belt. Attendees will gain hands-on experience using the SIMPLE-G model i) to define resource constraints or agricultural management policies impacting SDGs, ii) to select future scenario conditions to run against the chosen policies, iii) to execute model runs using XSEDE computing resources, and iv) to explore model results that include interactive maps and annotated visualization dashboards.

[Afternoon Sessions]
1-3:30pm, University League (Room D)
B1. Improving Evaluation in Foreign Aid

Facilitator: Paul Clements, Director, Master of International Development Administration Program, and Faculty, Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in Evaluation (Western Michigan University)

1. Specific aims of the workshop

  • Explore challenges to learning and accountability in development assistance and how a comparative perspective anchored in cost effectiveness can help to address them.
  • Review today’s dominant evaluation framework, the DAC criteria – relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability – and consider how it undermines the comparative perspective.
  • Introduce methodology of evaluation for cost effectiveness and institutional reforms needed to implement it.
  • Consider how evaluation for cost effectiveness could have improved a number of health project evaluations.
  • Consider how evaluation for cost effectiveness could be applied to different kinds of climate change projects.

2. Agenda (total length 2 hours, 30 minutes)

Part I. Addressing challenges to learning and accountability in development assistance
(50 minutes)

  • Introduction and overview.
  • Discuss the challenges.
  • Presentation on the DAC criteria, how they undermine the comparative perspective needed for learning and accountability and how this can be addressed by evaluation for cost effectiveness.
  • Discuss definitions of “impact” and approaches to impact assessment for a range of contemporary interventions.
  • Presentation on institutionalizing evaluation for cost effectiveness.

BREAK 10 minutes

Part II. Group work
(50 minutes)

  • Given summaries of completed evaluations of health projects and lists of potential analytic weaknesses and improvements, groups identify analytic weaknesses in evaluations and select analytic improvements that could have enhanced the evaluation’s contribution to learning and accountability
      • Introduction, handouts, walk through example
      • Group work
      • Report and discussion

BREAK 10 minutes

Part III. Institutionalizing Evaluation for Cost Effectiveness
(30 minutes)

  • Discuss applying evaluation for cost effectiveness to climate change projects:
    • to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.
    • to adapt to effects of climate change.
    • to address the needs of displaced personsPresentation/discussion on institutionalizing evaluation for cost effectiveness.
  •  Presentation/discussion on institutionalizing evaluation for cost effectiveness

3. Key knowledge, tool, or skill presented

  • Understanding the DAC criteria and how their dominance as a framework for evaluating development assistance undermines learning and accountability.
  • Quick deep dive into the concept of “impacts” in development assistance.
  • Introduction to methodology of evaluation for cost effectiveness and to institutions needed to apply it.
  • Skill in identifying key evaluation challenges for different kinds of projects.
  • Skill in identifying how evaluations could be improved.

4. Outcomes for the participant

  • Knowledge of structural challenges to learning and accountability in development assistance.
  • Appreciation of the definition of impact needed for learning and accountability and of impact assessment approaches for different kinds of projects.
  •  Introduction to evaluation for cost effectiveness.
  • Appreciation of evaluation challenges and opportunities for health projects.
  • Introduction to analytic issues raised by different kinds of climate change projects and appropriate evaluation approaches.
  • Skills listed above.

1-4pm, University League (Room 4)
B2. An Introduction to Using Case-Based Learning in the Classroom and Beyond

Facilitators: Meghan Wagner, Project Manager, Michigan Sustainability Cases; Stephanie Kusano, Assessment Specialist, Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (University of Michigan)

1. Specific aims of the workshop

  • Introduce case studies as a form of active learning well suited to developing critical competencies for sustainability and environment work.
  • Develop participant awareness of their own current teaching practices and expectations of case-based teaching.
  • Cultivate learner-centered modes of instruction.
  • Provide a foundation for how to facilitate a discussion.

2. Agenda (total length 3 hours)

Part I. Considerations When Preparing to Use a Case
(15 minutes)

  • A brief presentation covering things to think about before arriving to the classroom.

Part II. Reflection
(15 minutes)

  • On current teaching methods.
  • On challenges and opportunities associated with using cases.

Part III. Facilitation
(110 minutes)

  • Questioning, listening, and responding (30 minutes)
  • Q&A/debrief with workshop facilitators (20 minutes)

BREAK 10 minutes

  • Managing group dynamics (30 minutes)
  • Q&A/debrief with workshop facilitators (20 minutes)

Part IV. Closing and Next Steps
(15 minutes)

  • A wrap-up of learning.
  • Participants identify further information needs and opportunities to continue practicing their facilitation skills.

3. Key knowledge, tool, or skill presented

  • Case studies are a flexible and effective teaching method widely used to connect theory to practice. However, their successful implementation requires classroom management and teaching skills that few faculty are explicitly trained to do. This workshop will introduce participants to teaching with cases, with special emphasis on providing guidance and practice in facilitation..

4. Outcomes for the participant
By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Make an informed decision about when and how to use case studies in their teaching.
  • Identify the challenges and opportunities presented by case-based teaching.
  • Explicitly describe their current teaching methods, and how these complement or conflict with the requirements of case-based teaching.
  • Use the knowledge of, and practice in, facilitation from this session to continue building their facilitation skills for teaching and learning.

12:30-3:30pm, Weiser/Randall Building (Room TBD)
B3. Workshop on Standardizing Off-Grid Solar Solution with Capability to Provide 24x7 Grid-like Experience CANCELLED 

Facilitators: P. Venkata Pavan Kumar, S.K. Telahamsetti, H. Supal, J. Venkateswaran, C.S. Solanki (IIT Bombay)

1. Specific aims of the workshop

  • Understand the role & need of solar off-grid technology in providing sustained 24×7 energy access to households.
  • Introduce participants to solar off-grid technology solutions and the components therein, designing and building appropriate solutions, and the need for inter-compatible solutions.
  • Provide hands-on experience in assembling own solar product.
  • Discussions on standardisation of designs and pathways for solar interventions.

2. Agenda (total length 2 hours, 45 minutes)

Part I. Presentation
(75 minutes)

  • Introduction to solar energy, solar off-grid technology and its capability to provide 24×7 grid-like experience.
  • Introduction to components of solar off-grid technology solutions, super-efficient loads, inter-compatibility of components, designing and building appropriate solutions.
  • Estimation of the solar product/system components sizing with examples (Worksheet).


Part II. Practical session – Group work
(90 minutes)

  • Demonstration of various solar products and systems.
  • Make a small solar product (solar lamp/ solar lantern/ solar torch)
    • Identification and testing of the solar components such as solar panel, battery, PCBs, LED, using multimeter.
    • Assembly of the small solar product, using standard steps.
  • Discussion on standardization of design using open source hardware, pathways to encourage inter-compatibility of components among solar manufacturers, development of open-source hardware for critical components of off-grid solutions, and the potential to democratize solar interventions through delayed differentiation.

3. Key knowledge, tool, or skill presented

  • Knowledge on solar off-grid technology, components, and super-efficient loads.
  • Designing and building solar off-grid solutions.
  • Soldering and assembly of the various solar products.

4. Outcomes for the participant

  • Understanding of solar-off grid technology.
  • Awareness on the standardization of solar off-grid products/system, and open source hardware.
  • Use of super-efficient loads for enabling 24*7 off-grid solar supply.
  • Ability to design sizing of the solar solutions as per the need.
  • Ability to assemble/ make a solar solution.
  • Ability to explore innovative dissemination approaches (for policy makers).