Sustainability in Higher Education

Infusing Sustainability in Teacher Education in Washington: The Education for Sustainability STEM Outcomes Project

 

Universities and colleges across Washington State recently received funding from the National Science Foundation to collaborate on the improvement of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)teacher-preparation programs and to increase the recruitment of diverse STEM students into teaching careers. To accomplish these goals, a number of “critical-component working groups” were developed to create, adapt, and pilot materials and tools relevantto the preparation of STEM teachers. Education for Sustainability (EfS) is one of these critical-component groups; members of this working group hold a vision for an interdisciplinary undergraduate curriculum that is accessible to all pre-service teachers (students preparing for careers in K12 teaching) in Washington State.

The development of an EfS curriculum and pedagogy will be systems-focused and will invoke place-, design-, problem- or project-based learning with an explicit emphasis on social, economic, and environmental justice. The EfS team aims to generate transformative learning experiences so that all pre-service teachers have the necessary knowledge and skills to teach students scientifically rigorous and ecologically relevant sustainability-practices. EfS aims to increase the capacity for teachers to meaningfully address real-world challenges inside and outside of the classroom. Such preparation will culminate in K12 schools recognizing the importance of an EfS certification that integrates across existing state endorsable areas.

The Education for Sustainability Working Group is co-facilitated by Kathryn Baldwin, Eastern Washington University and Tamara Holmlund, Washington State University Vancouver. These leaders have built a large and diverse team of educators to contribute to this critically important task. The Working Group includes faculty members in teacher education from Eastern, Western, and Central Washington Universities and all three Washington State University campuses, as well as educators from K12 schools and non-profit organizations involved in environmental and sustainability education.

-from the Strengthening Sustainability on Washington Campus: A 2016-2017 Progress Report, produced by The Evergreen State College Curriculum for the Bioregion, Washington Center for Undergraduate Education. Jean MacGregor, C0-Director.

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