Interested in learning more about how to incorporate sustainability into your curriculum?-- Join the Earth Educators' Rendezvous this summer!

published May 9, 2015 12:00am

With eight billion people inhabiting a finite planet, living sustainability is a human imperative in the 21st century. Students understand this, and many come to their study of the Earth seeking authentic engagement with sustainability while also increasing the connection of their knowledge to societal needs.

Join us at the upcoming Earth Educators' Rendezvous this summer in Boulder, CO for important opportunities to learn about increasing sustainability and system thinking in your courses and programs.
  • Workshop: Strengthening Sustainability Learning in your Program
    with Professors David Gosselin, University of Nebraska, Lincoln and Walt Robinson, North Carolina State University, Raleigh
    Thursday and Friday, July 16-17 | 8:30am-11:30 am

    At this workshop you will explore and develop ideas for integrating learning about the Earth with the societal problems of sustainability and the environment. You will learn from successful examples and will identify, discuss, and share strategic opportunities for strengthening their own courses and programs, whether you are taking the first steps to incorporate sustainability on your campus, capitalizing on a campus wide area of focus, or seeking to strengthen a program with a strong existing sustainability component.

  • Workshop: Developing Systems Thinking
    with Professors Hannah Scherer and Rachel Seman-Varner, Virginia Tech
    Tuesday, July 14 | 1:30pm-4:15pm

    Many of the challenges we now face require complex solutions that cross disciplinary boundaries and take into account multiple perspectives. How do we as educators prepare students to think in this way? Participants will be introduced to the components of systems thinking (e.g. boundaries, reservoirs, feedback, resilience) through an interactive activity and learn about strategies for incorporating systems thinking in undergraduate courses through a guided exploration of existing resource collections. The remainder of the workshop will be determined by the needs of participants, but may include: work time, further exploration, small group discussion, or focused discussion of emergent questions and concerns from participants.

  • Workshop: Teaching Controversial Topics
    with Professor Patricia Kelley, University of North Carolina, Wilmington
    Wednesday, July 15 | 1:30pm-4:15pm

    Although teachers may be tempted to avoid controversial topics in the classroom, topics such as geologic time, evolution, and climate change are fundamental to our field. In addition, addressing a controversial issue may help students learn skills such as critical thinking. We will explore different approaches for handling controversial topics, as well as successes and challenges in implementing these approaches. Participants will develop plans for handling controversial topics in their classrooms.
  • Workshop: The Role of Societal Issues in your Course or Program
    with Professor Sarah Fortner, Wittenberg University Wednesday, July 15 | 1:30pm-4:15pm

    Building courses and programs around societal issues equips students to face earth resource challenges into the future. Linkages around societal issues can unify departments, stakeholders, and institutions, and support a shared vision and growth. Participants will identify and share ways to link courses and programs around societal issues and high impact practices (e.g. InTeGrate Modules) to support deep learning and growth through program development, articulation, and stakeholder opportunities.
  • Workshop: Connecting Students to the World They Live In
    with Professor Michael Phillips, Illinois Valley Community College
    Friday, July 17 | 1:30pm-4:15pm
    Courses in Earth sciences have an inherent connection to the world in which our students live. In this session, we will begin with a discussion of pedagogies that engage the students and use faculty experiences to provide examples. We will discuss course experiences that appeal to students' current interests and surroundings while delivering information that the students may continue to use long after completion of the course.
  • Plenary Session: Teaching about Controversial Issues: The Case of Hydraulic Fracture Stimulation (aka Fracking)
    Panelists: Professors Mike Hannigan, University of Colorado, Boulder and Steve Sonnenberg, Colorado School of Mines
    Moderator: Patricia Limerick, Center of the American West

    The goal of the panel is to inform the attendees about the scientific and societal issues related to fracking and to help the attendees think about how to use fracking and related issues as opportunities for teaching critical thinking.

  • Plenary Session: Systems Science
    with Professor Daniel Wildcat, Haskell Indian Nations University

    The scale and complexity of the Earth system's environmental crises now requires systems thinking. No Peoples on the planet have richer worldview traditions based on holistic or complex systems thinking than the First Peoples of North America. It is time to enact cultural climate changes in order to address the physical climate changes now under-way. It is time to explore the power of Indigenous ingenuity or INDIGENUITY based on the deep-spatial systems thinking of American Indians and Alaska Natives.
The 2015 first annual Earth Educators' Rendezvous will bring together researchers and practitioners working in all aspects of undergraduate Earth education. We welcome faculty from all disciplines who are interested in improving their teaching about the Earth, administrators from geoscience departments and interdisciplinary programs that want to become stronger, and education researchers of all types. Join the Rendezvous for 2 or 3 days or stay the whole week. To learn more and to register, visit:

The Earth Educators' Rendezvous is supported by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT). Join today and receive a discount on your registration. Your membership will help ensure that this event can continue to serve geoscience educators.
The National Science Foundation is providing support through the InTeGrate STEP Center for the design and development of the Rendezvous. empty