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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Collegiate ecological literacy requirements: A case study of Western State College of Colorado
by Borden, D. Scott, M.A., Prescott College, 2008, 171; 1456726
Abstract (Summary)

While the ecological health of our world dwindles, and as global interest in environmental solutions grows, environmental education may provide potential answers and options for individuals to act towards sustainable solutions. Institutions of higher learning are optimally positioned in society to aid in this needed change. An estimated 14.4% of private institutions and 7% of public institutions of higher learning have incorporated Ecological Literacy Requirements (ELR) into their curricula to ensure that their college graduates are empowered to make difficult decisions concerning our ecological future (Wolf, 2001). This number is likely to rise as over 400 institutions of higher learning have signed the Presidents Climate Commitment (PCC), pledging to provide their graduates with sustainability education (American, 2007). Western State College of Colorado (WSC) has a long history of environmental stewardship, including signing the PCC. The incorporation of an ELR at WSC is a necessary step towards the goals, outlined in its environmental charter and the PCC, to educate its students, faculty, staff, administration, and the outlying community on environmental issues. This study provides a definition of ecological literacy or sustainability education and an explanation of a pedagogical approach that best serves the purpose of teaching college students these skills and concepts. The terms are tailored to the unique situation of WSC while describing the relevancy and varying ELR types available to all colleges and universities. A survey of the desire and current need for an ELR was administered to WSC students in the spring of 2007. Interviews with student activists, faculty, staff, and administration were conducted to determine the best type of ELR for WSC and the avenues for incorporating curriculum changes at WSC. The data shows that students at WSC are in support and in need of such a requirement. A suggestion for an ELR at WSC is provided. Finally, this study explores and investigates the role of colleges and ELRs in the “sustainable campuses movement” to explore future areas for research and potential solutions to pressing contemporary environmental issues.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hausdoerffer, John, Langmaid, Kim
Commitee: Lung, Mark
School: Prescott College
Department: Environmental Studies
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 47/01M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Curriculum development, Higher education
Keywords: Ecological literacy
Publication Number: 1456726
ISBN: 978-0-549-71607-5
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