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UT Engages UN Sustainable Development Goals

Eliminating poverty, providing affordable and clean energy, supporting good health and well-being, and ending hunger are just some examples of the complex problems the world is addressing and trying to solve every day.

In a world full of grand challenges, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Center for Global Engagement is launching an initiative to connect students and faculty at UT with the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Earlier this fall, the center collected information on the courses offered at UT that speak to one or more SDGs, identifying more than 225 courses from 37 departments. The list will be updated annually. The center also developed an SDG website, where students, faculty, and advisors can search SDG-related courses by goal or by department.

“We highly encourage all students and advisers to check out the SDG website and take it into consideration when deciding or advising the coursework for the coming semesters, as we believe that the SDGs highlight the array of opportunities that will be of keen interest to our students,” said Jamie McGowan, director of the center’s Office of Global Research.

“We are in the process of developing a program, such as a graduation pin, to signify student commitments to learning about the SDGs. These students will have fulfilled the coursework and community service that is indicative of their commitment,” McGowan added.

In addition to identifying SDG-related courses, the center is submitting data for UT to participate in the Times Higher Education impact rankings, which assesses institutional performance regarding the SDGs.

“By demonstrating UT’s SDG performance in several key areas, we believe that talented prospective students around the world will recognize key commitments that may spark their interest in the institution and the opportunities that exist at UT,” said Gretchen Neisler, vice provost for international affairs and director of the center.

Rachel Rui (865-974-5272,