Appreciative Inquiry as an Approach to Transformational Service Learning to Promote Sustainable Development in the Missouri Ozarks through Adoption and Adaption of the InTeGrate Project's Module "Interactions between Water, Earth's Surface, and Human Acti

Friday 3:00pm-4:00pm Student Union: Ballroom B
Poster Session Part of Friday Session


Michelle Fisher, Three Rivers Community College
Sustainability is the capacity of meeting the needs of the present without diminishing opportunities for the future of humanity. Can higher education offer learning approaches to transform students to serve as agents of change for sustainable development? A changed educational paradigm that develops and embodies the theory and practice of sustainability is needed. Problem-based learning (PBL) involves the development of analytical and decision-making skills with real-life problems. Appreciative inquiry (AI) is an innovative approach to PBL that shifts away from traditional problem solving by valuing the strengths and affirmative influences instead of what is problematic. Appreciative inquiry will be used as an approach to create a transformative awareness of sustainability to lead biology students to contribute to civic engagement and the sustainable development and empowerment of a rural community in the Ozarks of Missouri which is prone to flooding. The author proposes research with aims to collect and analyze evidence on the performance of AI, on which basis educators can decide whether AI represents a suitable approach for preparing students to face today's challenges. As a participant in the InTeGrate 2017 Faculty Mentoring Network, the "Interactions between Water, Earth's Surface, and Human Activity" module will be adopted into a Biology for Majors class to integrate data-driven teaching materials developed by the InTeGrate Project as an interdisciplinary approach to addressing grand challenges. The module will be implemented over the course of 6 weeks that will allow students to construct their own understanding of the behavior of rivers through the use of stream tables and streamflow data and activities that are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The module will be adapted to include students interviewing to learn of stories of impacted stakeholders and to apply their knowledge to inform their local community about flooding hazards.