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WIU faculty members who participated in the first WIU "Coneflower Project: Teaching Sustainability Across the Curriculum," first row (L to R): Timothy Collins, Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs; Joel Gruver, School of Agriculture; Jongnam Choi, geography; Ranbir Kang; geography. Row 2 (L to R): Marjorie Allison, English and journalism; Vickie Livingston, biological sciences; Amy Patrick Mossman, English and journalism; Mei Wen, health sciences; Bruce Harris, instructional design and technology. Row 3 (L to R): Jim La Prad, educational and interdisciplinary studies; Bill Knox, English and journalism; Shazia Rahman, English and journalism; and Gordon Rands, management and marketing. Photo credit: Mindy Pheiffer, recreational, park and tourism administration
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Faculty Sustainability Workshop, "Coneflower Project," Is Topic for Oct. 25 IIRA Brownbaggers

October 20, 2011

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MACOMB, IL – Every Tuesday since Sept. 20 this autumn, the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs (IIRA) at Western Illinois University has brought many members from the WIU and surrounding communities together for lunchtime presentations and conversations known as the "Sustainability Brownbaggers" series. Held every Spring and Fall semester at WIU, the IIRA series is described as "conversations for the natural and social sciences, business and the arts and humanities" and is scheduled from 12:30-1:30 p.m. in WIU's Leslie F. Malpass Library, third floor.

This fall, there are two more Sustainability Brownbaggers sessions planned, but the schedule has changed slightly, according to Amy Mossman, associate professor in English and journalism and advisory board member of the WIU Institute for Environmental Studies (IES). Originally, Mossman and her colleagues were scheduled to present at the Nov. 1 Brownbaggers session, "WIU Coneflower Project: Teaching Sustainability Across the Curriculum," and Timothy Collins, IIRA assistant director and sustainability coordinator, was scheduled to present, "Voices from the Past: Warnings About Climate Ignored" Oct. 25. But due to a schedule conflict, Mossman's presentation about the Coneflower Project is now slated for Tuesday, Oct. 25, and Collins will present "Warnings About Climate Ignored" Nov. 1.

The Coneflower Project session will cover a sustainability faculty workshop Mossman established at WIU and convened over this past summer at Western. She will present with WIU faculty members who participated in the first Coneflower Project workshop, including Shazia Rahman, English and journalism; Ranbir Kang, geography; Mei Wen, health sciences; Marjorie Allison, English and journalism; Jim La Prad, educational and interdisciplinary studies; and Vickie Livingston, biological sciences. Mossman noted the idea behind the faculty sustainability workshop it is to train faculty to infuse sustainability into their curricula.

"These workshops are held around the country, and because they are focused on place — specifically, sustainability in a particular place — the workshops have often been named after something that fits for a particular eco-region. 'Coneflower Project' fits in western Illinois, because some of the coneflower species are native to prairies in our region," Mossman explained. "The goal is to get faculty from different departments and different areas to come together and learn about sustainability and then talk about concrete ways they can work that into their courses. So each year we plan to have a class of faculty members who will attend the workshop."

Mossman added that the name "Coneflower Project" is also fitting due to historical reports about how WIU's school colors of purple and gold were chosen, based on the region's golden prairies and purple coneflowers.

Mossman said the Coneflower Project supports WIU's participation in the Talloires Declaration (TD). According to the Association of University Leaders for a Sustainable Future (or ULSF, the secretariat for signatories of the Talloires Declaration), the TD is a ten-point action plan for incorporating sustainability and environmental literacy in teaching, research, operations and outreach at colleges and universities. The ULSF website notes the TD "has been signed by over 350 university presidents and chancellors in over 40 countries" (see She also noted that WIU has been a signatory to the TD since 2005.

Coneflower Project Sponsors

According to Mossman, several offices and entities at WIU co-sponsored last summer's first Coneflower Project workshop, including the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Research (CITR), the English and journalism dept., the WIU Environmental Summit committee, Horn Field Campus and the WIU Institute for Environmental Studies. (A video featuring Mossman talking about the workshop can be viewed on WIU's YouTube Channel at

For more information about the Coneflower Project, contact Mossman at (309) 298-1322 or For more information about the IIRA's Sustainability Brownbaggers series, contact Collins at the IIRA (309) 298-3412 or via email at

Posted By: Teresa Koltzenburg (
Office of University Communications & Marketing