UVM and Shelburne Farms launch Education for Sustainability graduate programs

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UVM and Shelburne Farms launch Education for Sustainability graduate programs

Sun, 11/21/2021 - 1:40pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine To accelerate transformative societal response to today’s unprecedented and interconnected environmental, social, and economic challenges, the University of Vermont and the Institute for Sustainable Schools at Shelburne Farms recently launched two new Education for Sustainability (EFS) graduate certificate programs. The new programs combine UVM’s research capacity, land-grant mission, and track record of high-quality teacher education with Shelburne Farms’ international reputation for EFS professional learning for teachers.

Both Shelburne Farms and UVM’s College of Education and Social Services (CESS) have long-standing commitments to supporting and empowering educators. 

As a global innovator and leader in EFS for more than three decades, Shelburne Farms is an education nonprofit on a mission to inspire and cultivate learning for a sustainable future.

Coursework will benefit preK-12 educators as well as those working in museum education, outdoor education, parks and recreation activities, and other fields where natural and built environments are part of the curriculum. The partnership's unique co-teaching arrangement along with scholarship opportunities will reduce costs for graduate students. 

Both UVM and Shelburne Farms define sustainability as the pursuit of ecological, social, and economic vitality that allows the needs of the present to be met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Educators are on the front lines of preparing today’s youth to meet that challenge. UNESCO and its UN partners identified “building the capacities of educators” in relation to education for sustainable development as one of three top priority action areas. 

“Education for Sustainability nurtures and cultivates a relationship between students and their natural and human communities, builds an understanding of interdependence through systems thinking, and positions students to discover their value and purpose through community service and action,” explains CESS Associate Professor Simon Jorgenson and core EFS faculty member at UVM.

Grounded in action research, transformative education, and youth leadership, EFS coursework prepares educators to empower learners in making positive changes in their communities while shifting societies to improve the quality of life for current and for future generations.

“The greater Burlington area is recognized by the United Nations as a regional center of expertise in education for sustainability,” says Walter Poleman, senior lecturer at the Rubenstein School for Environment and National Resources (RSENR). “As leaders in this field, UVM and Shelburne Farms are able to facilitate relationships within the regional network and between other centers around the world. Participants in the new certificate programs will have a unique opportunity to engage locally, regionally, and globally.”

Educators can choose to enroll in either the 18-credit Certificate of Graduate Study (CGS-EFS) or the 12-credit Micro Certificate of Graduate Study (mCGS-EFS). In each pathway, graduate students will complete four courses taking place at Shelburne Farms’ campus or online. Elective courses – available during the academic year and summer – allow educators in the 18-credit CGS-EFS to broaden their understanding of sustainable communities, participatory action research, and the role of education in transforming socio-ecological systems such as food, water, and energy. 

Electives include a variety of options in RSENR and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). 

Core EFS faculty at UVM include JorgensonPoleman, and CESS Associate Professor Regina Toolin. Shelburne Farms faculty include Director of Professional Learning Jen Cirillo, Professional Learning Facilitator Aimee Arandia Østensen, and Special Projects Coordinator Emily Hoyler, who also serves as a professional development coordinator at UVM’s Tarrant Institute for Innovative Education.

“With a shared history of leadership in education for sustainability, UVM and the Institute for Sustainable Schools at Shelburne Farms are perfect partners,” says Shelburne Farms Executive Vice President and Program Director Megan Camp. “It is more critical than ever to offer these transformative experiences for educators and their schools. Programs like these can help make positive change in communities around the world, and create a more just and sustainable future for all.”

For more information, visit UVM's Education for Sustainability web page.

About the University of Vermont

Since 1791, the University of Vermont has worked to move humankind forward. UVM’s strengths align with the most pressing needs of our time: the health of our societies and the health of our environment. Our size—large enough to offer a breadth of ideas, resources, and opportunities, yet intimate enough to enable close faculty-student mentorship across all levels of study—allows us to pursue these interconnected issues through cross-disciplinary research and collaboration. Providing an unparalleled educational experience for our students, and ensuring their success, are at the core of what we do. As one of the nation’s first land grant universities, UVM advances Vermont and the broader society through the discovery and application of new knowledge.

UVM is derived from the Latin Universitas Viridis Montis (in English, University of the Green Mountains).

Source: BURLINGTON, Vt. — UVM 11.19.2021