Faculty Senate endorses sustainability school

The USF School of Global Sustainability (SGS) is one step closer to completion.

Members of the Faculty Senate Committee voted to endorse the final proposal for SGS on Wednesday.

On Dec. 2, the proposal will be presented to USF’s Board of Trustees, which will then vote whether or not to approve it, said Linda Whiteford, associate vice president for global strategies and professor in the department of anthropology.

“Once that happens then we will start putting together the school and recruiting the director, and inviting students to talk to us about the kinds of things they would like to see in the school,” she said.

Whiteford and College of Education professor Arthur Shapiro are two leading faculty members involved with the SGS project. The unanimous vote of endorsement was “remarkable,” Shapiro said.

“I have never seen it happen before and I have been a senator for five years,” Shapiro said. “The University is called a university because it has a universe of ideas. Therefore, you have a lot of different ideas and there is usually always opposition.”

SGS will be a graduate school in which students will be able to earn a Master of Arts degree in global sustainability.

Because of budgetary reasons, Whiteford said no new faculty will be hired to specifically work in the new school. Teachers from various departments who are already involved in sustainability research will work with SGS students, she said.

According to the proposal, SGS’s budget of more than $3 million is made up of funds from several sources: $500,000 from 2009-10 tuition revenue; $300,000 in private funds; approximately $1.5 million in research contracts and grants; $200,000 in state funds; $383,130 in SGS tuition revenue; $200,000 in special program fees; and $21,000 from distance learning fees.

USF will hire a director with a salary of $195,000 and other departmental workers would receive a combined salary of $175,500, according to the proposal.

The school will offer classroom lectures, but the majority of courses will be offered online.

“It’s going to be a stand-alone school for the 21st century,” Whiteford said. “We are going to draw on the expertise that we already have here, invite them to collaborate under this umbrella and provide support resources.”

Steve Permuth, professor in the USF College of Education, said he hopes students will be able to register for SGS within the next year.