LSE Program Overview
The LSE specialty serves those who wish to teach, develop, or manage sustainability education programs in various settings including schools, nonprofit organizations, local governments, and businesses. LSE students develop a program of study in one of the following areas:
- Garden-based education in schools and communities
- Sustainability education in schools, colleges, and community organizations
LSE alumni currently work in the field of sustainability education in the following capacities: Sustainability education coordinators for nonprofit organizations and private companies, garden coordinators for schools, teachers using garden-based curriculum, sustainability instructors in higher education, sustainable business owners, and project coordinators for community-based sustainability organizations.
Learn more about our alumni here.
LSE prepares graduates for professional careers in sustainability education through the rigorous study of educational leadership and sustainability pedagogy that addresses the importance of ecological systems, bio-cultural diversity, social and economic justice, and multicultural perspectives.
Sustainability education focuses on developing the knowledge, perspectives, new ways of thinking, and skills needed to advocate for justice and equity, democratic participation, economic viability, and the regeneration of communities and ecosystems. The LSE program is unique for several reasons. First, the program is inherently interdisciplinary, recognizing that complex socio-cultural and ecological problems must be addressed from a whole systems perspective. Second, LSE not only focuses on understanding the interconnected relationships between ecological, socio-cultural, political, economic and ethical aspects of sustainability issues, but on knowing how to educate about complex sustainability issues using participatory, place-based, transformational and culturally relevant pedagogies. Third, LSE serves to prepare learners with the leadership skills and opportunities, through coursework and community-based learning, to take leadership roles in envisioning and designing change and educating for sustainable solutions in our communities.
LSE Key Learning Areas
- Self Understanding and Commitment:
Developing an understanding of self by: developing and articulating sustainability values and ethics; developing a personal educational and leadership philosophy; reflecting critically on your own learning and practices; establishing a commitment to leadership for sustainability education
- Systemic View of the World:
Developing an understanding of sustainability issues as interconnected and holistic by: developing systems thinking; developing a historic and current understanding of the sustainability movement and sustainability education; understanding and valuing the importance of multiple perspectives; critically examining dominant systems and paradigms; analyzing complex sustainability issues globally and locally; articulating a broad-based understanding of sustainability education including its interconnected relationships between ecological, socio-cultural, political, economic and ethical aspects
- Bio-cultural Relationships:
Developing relationships and strategies for working collaboratively with diverse groups to affect change by: understanding how power, privilege and injustice impact relationships; developing sustainability networks and partnerships with diverse others; creating learning communities; demonstrating a theoretical and practical understanding of sustainability leadership and the skills needed for effective leadership; developing ecoliteracy
- Tools for Sustainable Change:
Developing a toolkit for enacting sustainable change by: developing leadership skills; effectively communicating ideas in writing and presentations; synthesizing and applying research including ELP and LSE core courses and grassroots initiatives to improve sustainability education practices; envisioning and creating sustainable solutions using a whole systems perspective; educating others about complex sustainability issues using interdisciplinary, participatory, transformational, place-based and culturally relevant learning theories and pedagogies.
LSE guiding principles
The following values guide the LSE program:
- A commitment to social, ecological and economic justice
- A commitment to multiple perspectives including multicultural, interdisciplinary, intergenerational, indigenous, local, and global perspectives
- The development of reflective practitioners and critical thinkers with strong communication skills
- The empowerment of change agents with leadership skills and the capacity to collaborate with diverse individuals
- The integration of theory, research, assessment and practice
- A commitment to bio-cultural diversity, ecological restoration, and the greater good
- The integration of indigenous knowledge and whole systems design
- The fostering of participatory, inclusive, transformational, and lifelong learning
- The promotion of applied, experiential and community-based learning
- The fostering of hope and resiliency through networks and relationships within local and global contexts