Faculty Focus: New FREE Sustainability Toolkit

Innovation & Entrepreneurship


Cindy Gilbert, director of the MA in sustainable design program, discusses her new sustainability toolkit, the growing field of “green jobs,” and an easy way for everyone to use sustainable thinking in their everyday lives.

In a nutshell, what is the Sustainability Toolkit you created?

The toolkit is a brief introduction to sustainable design concepts and sustainability assessment. It was designed for educators who want to begin to integrate sustainability thinking into their classrooms, from design to engineering. It is intended to be an easy-to-use tool for students to apply a whole systems and life cycle approach to their design and invention process.

Who is VentureWell, the organization you collaborated with on the project?

VentureWell (formerly the National Collegiate Inventors and innovators Alliance) is a nonprofit organization that supports the creation of new business ventures from an emerging generation of designers and engineers and supports the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems that are critical to their success.

How did you get involved with them?

I began attending their annual open conference about six years ago. Shortly thereafter, I began applying for their faculty grants to support course and program development for MCAD’s MA program. The MA has since received about $40,000 from VentureWell to support new courses and faculty training over the past five years.

Read the full interview here.


Image courtesy of Unsplash by Gustavo Quepón

Cindy Gilbert / Director

Cindy Gilbert is the founding director of MCAD’s Sustainable Design program which is home to the fully online, multidisciplinary MA in Sustainable Design (MASD) that is the first of its kind in the world. In this role, she fosters a culture of awareness and creativity through sustainable, innovative and collaborative design. The MASD program blends theory, practice and leadership into a holistic, hands-on learning experience that culminates in student-driven thesis work that brings novel, sustainability-focused products and services to fruition.

Cindy has taught numerous courses and workshops, around the world and online, in the fields of biology, sustainability and biomimicry. She is founder of Alula Consulting which specializes in innovative online and sustainability education projects for educational institutions, non-profits, and corporations. Most recently, she served for nearly four years as the founding director of university education at the Biomimicry Institute where she developed and managed all higher education programs, including the professional certification program, annual education summits, affiliate and fellows programs, and design challenges. Cindy is based in Montana.