Ed.D. in Educational Sustainability: Curriculum

All courses are 3 credits.

Required Courses

EDSU 810: Philosophical/Theoretical Foundations of Sustainability Leadership in Education1
This interdisciplinary course provides a foundation for the development of a personal and professional leadership style grounded in leadership theory as it pertains to socio-cultural, political, as well as pedagogical and ecological issues. Leadership discourses and discussion will be reflective of the influence of the social locations and identities of the actors as well as the dynamics of power, resistance, powerlessness, and efforts to claim citizenship and justice from the grassroots and up. Through exposure to recognized leaders in society, ecology, education, and other fields, students will postulate what leadership principles resonate with their area of work and study. Students will engage in interdisciplinary analyses of leadership theories and philosophies and will examine the complex ethical and professional responsibilities within professional and community relationships.

EDSU 820: Social Justice in Education for Sustainability1
This course is an advanced and in-depth exploration of the issues of power and inequality
by addressing current issues from a variety of perspectives, possibilities, and geographies. Key course concepts for social justice in education include cultural frameworks, social construct, and politics of epistemology. Students will examine historic and contemporary examples of informal and formal educational institutions as mechanisms of social, political, ecological, and economic systems. Students will engage in critical research, analysis, writing, and development of programs in their field that strive to balance social justice education and learning as sustainability.
1 Admission into the Ed.D. program or special permission.

EDSU 900 Introduction to Doctoral Studies and Sustainability Literacy
This course will introduce sustainability and key concepts and pedagogies of education for sustainability. Educational sustainability is an interconnected way of relational learning that encompasses human and ecological health, social justice, secure livelihoods and educational opportunities for a better world for all generations. Students will become familiar with the overall Ed.D. program design and develop personal learning goals for their doctoral studies.

EDSU 903 Reorienting Curriculum and Programs Towards a Sustainable Future
This course examines education curriculum programs through the lens of global sustainability. A critical lens will be applied to the purpose and value of education both historically and contemporarily to develop the students’ core beliefs and values in education and learning.

EDSU 904 Transformative Sustainability Teaching and Learning
This course builds on the introduction course, Educational Sustainability (EDSU 900) as an interdisciplinary approach to developing social and ecological change. Relevant theories and case studies will be utilized to address the cognitive, social, emotional and spiritual perspectives of transformational and systemic learning, in contrast to the managerial and mechanistic approach to teaching and learning.

EDSU 905 Research I
The course will provide an overview of scholarly thinking and research from an interdisciplinary perspective. The focus of the course will be in developing research questions, conducting a literature review, developing a research design, and selecting appropriate research methods.

EDSU 906  Research Methods II
This course will examine qualitative and quantitative research methods using existing technological software. Students will build their capacity for describing social behavior, interpreting meaning and significance using data visualization techniques, and understanding descriptive analysis and empirical theory.

EDSU 908 Historical and Philosophical Foundations of Education for Sustainability         
This course focuses on the historical and philosophical origins of environmental education and education for sustainability. Students will develop deeper understandings of the challenges facing education and our environment in contemporary society.
EDSU 911 Global Environmental Change
In the age where we are facing unprecedented global and local environmental issues, students will be able to articulate these issues from multiple perspectives integrating ecological, economic and social aspects. This course will also examine and assess the social movements that are underway to address global environmental issues.
EDSU 713/913 Ecological Foundations for a Sustainable Society
Utilizing scientific and indigenous knowledge, students will explore and apply ecological principles for sustainability in social and economic systems. Human systems are also part of nature, and ecological principles provide the foundation for long-term economic, civic, and social sustainability.
EDSU 918 Scholar Mentor
Deep analysis of literature in a disciplinary focus related to educational sustainability. Develop scholarship in a one-on-one interaction with qualified mentor.
EDSU 919 Applied Residency Project
The key topics for this course include education for sustainability, learning organizations, case study methodology, and program evaluation. Key practices include applying interdisciplinary information, program development and evaluation, critical reflection, and critical and empathetic peer review. This course offers the students applied research and place-based field study.
EDSU 920 Dissertation Seminar and Writing
Draft and complete the dissertation with peer and committee critique.


Electives - Choose Any 15 Credits

(Master’s programs may take electives at the 700 level)

EDSU 701/901 Sustaining Socio-ecological Systems                                             
Human systems have rituals, celebrations, history and indigenous knowledge that sustain their worldview and cultural interactions. In this course, students will apply their knowledge of EfS to explore cultural perspectives, social equity, ecological justice, biological and cultural diversities in an effort to develop an understanding of the values and commitment for the good of the whole.
EDSU 702/902 Systems Thinking in Program Development
In this course, students will utilize EfS concepts and systems thinking to identify, critique, and develop innovative evaluation approaches and frameworks for diverse formal, non-formal, and informal educational settings. Course content will create opportunities for students to analyze and evaluate relevant educational organizations, programs, and curriculum.
EDSU 707/907 Analysis and Improvement of Programs in Education for Sustainability (EfS)    
This course is project-based course that is designed to give students the opportunity to research and design learning domains that support EfS principles, pedagogy, policies and practices. The project will include action strategies, research applications, and a blueprint for improvement of educational programs.
EDSU 709/909 Ethics of Care in a Sustainable Society        
Ethics of care is a theory to guide education toward developing moral, empathetic citizens. This course will explore this theory and its application within sustainability education. Ethics of care will be applied in the development of education programs for vulnerable populations.
EDSU 710/910 Place-based Education         
Students will critically explore place-based education as pedagogy to decolonize and re-inhabit places in support of sustainable communities. Participants will identify place-based education needs in relevant settings and determine local resources to support place-based education in their programs or organizations.
EDSU 712/912 Political Ecology and Sustainability
This course will explore the relationships between political, economic, social, and environmental aspects of contemporary sustainability issues. Students will learn multiple perspectives with regard to the preservation and management of the commons and research the political ecology of a locally relevant issue.
EDSU 714/914 Teaching and Learning in Alternative Educational Settings            
Education for sustainability can (and must) occur inside and outside of formal schools. Students are given the opportunity to design and implement strategies to develop sustainability- focused learning opportunities in business, community, recreation and other alternative youth and adult educational settings.
EDUC 996 Independent Study   
Planned study to supplement preparation in area of specialization; regular conferences with affiliate scholar and faculty of record. ecological principles provide the foundation for long-term economic, civic, and social sustainability.


1 Shared required courses offered through the cooperative campuses

Shared elective courses from other UW System campuses (Oshkosh, Green Bay and La Crosse)

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