What is the mission of the Sustainability Science Education Project?
We are increasingly confronted by unprecedented challenges as the growing human population puts unsustainable demands on the Earth’s resources and regenerative capacity. It is imperative that we educate future generations to understand the challenges that they face and the potential solutions within their grasp. We believe that attaining a sustainable future can be achieved by working with informed and dedicated educators who are passionate about the world and society we live in.
The Project’s mission is to empower K-8th grade educators with an understanding of how science, technology, design, and effective governance can create a sustainable society, and to inspire educators with the ability to translate these concepts.
When and why was the project created?
Our project was created in 2011 as part of the vision of Nobel laureate Dr. Lee Hartwell, who came to ASU seeking lasting impact on today’s educational landscape. Most colleges and universities are not adequately preparing their students for the grand challenges of the 21st century (Crow, 2008). However, Arizona State University aims to prepare future leaders to address complex challenges and contribute to a more sustainable way of life. Our answer to this call is the Sustainability Science Education Project, which is one of the first in the United States to clearly and systematically address sustainability topics, problems, solutions, and new ways of thinking in an educator program.
We believe that the field of education represents a critical mechanism to enact lasting and impactful change toward achieving the goals of sustainability, and a key element in achieving these goals is working with educators to expand their sustainability literacy skills, and discover new ways of thinking (UNESCO, 2010). Sustainability is at the forefront of the 2005-2014 United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (UNESCO, 2004). These efforts highlight a core mission of higher education institutions to educate the next generation and prepare them for a changing world (Nolet, 2009).
United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. (2004). United Nations decade of education for sustainable development: Draft international implementation scheme. Retrieved from http://portal.unesco.org/education/en/ev.php- URL_ID=36025&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html and http://www.unesco.org/education/tlsf/mods/theme_a/popups/mod01t05s01.html
Nolet, V. (2009). Preparing sustainability-literate teachers. Teachers College Record, 111(2), 409-422.
How can I view the content found in SSE courses?
Due to licensing limitations, most of our digital storytelling content is only available to students enrolled in our courses. However, many of the topic areas for Sustainability Science for Teachers can be previewed in trailer-style video introductions, along with a brief overview of what that week’s course content explores. That said, we are working on a new concept and platform that will make this important content available to users all over the world. Stay tuned for updates on this exciting new program.
How many students have taken your courses?
Sustainability Science for Teachers, our longest running course, has had over 1300 pre-service teachers from the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College enroll and complete the class. Our other courses are much newer, but the number of students is quickly growing! We are excited to expand our course catalog so that more individuals can experience the important topic of sustainability science education as it grows and expands to national and international audiences.
I’m interested in teaching SCN 400 at ASU. How can I apply?
The SCN 400 Teaching Fellowship offers an invaluable opportunity for graduate students and professionals who are interested in teaching sustainability science to future teachers and who would like to gain real-world teaching experience in higher education. Teaching Fellowship recipients, both professionals and graduate students, will be mentored throughout the semester. Graduate students and professionals with a background in science, technology, engineering, and/or teacher preparation are welcome to apply.
I’m interesting in collaborating with the SSE project. Who should I contact?
We would love to have a conversation with you about potential collaborations and funding opportunities, as they relate to sustainability education. Please feel free to contact us