Environment, Energy, and Sustainability Science: An Institute for 21st Century Teacher Leaders
This MSP-Start Partnership, led by Widener University, in partnership with Bryn Mawr College, Delaware County Community College, Philadelphia University, Lincoln University, and Haverford Township School District, is developing the Greater Philadelphia Environment, Energy, and Sustainability Science (ES)2 Teacher Leader Institute. Additional partners include the Center for Social and Economic Research at West Chester University, Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center, Energy Coordinating Agency, US EPA Region 3 Office of Innovation, National Center for Science and Civic Engagement and its SENCER program, Pennsylvania Campus Compact, Philadelphia Higher Education Network for Neighborhood Development, Project Kaleidoscope, Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia, and the 21st Century Partnership for STEM Education.
Building on a base of relationships developed over the past five years by many partners in the Math Science Partnership of Greater Philadelphia, the project brings together faculty and resources from multiple institutions (a "Mega-University" model) to develop a coherent, innovative, and content-rich, multi-year curriculum in environment, energy, and sustainability science for an Institute that leads to a newly developed Master's degree.
Teachers participating in the Institute (A) improve their STEM content knowledge in areas critical to human environmental sustainability, (B) improve their use of project based/service learning and scientific teaching pedagogies in their teaching, (C) engage in real-world sustainability problem solving in an externship with a local business, non-profit or government organization that is active in the newly emerging green economy, and (D) develop important leadership skills as change agents in their schools to improve student interest, learning, and engagement in STEM education.
The Institute aims to serve as a regional hub, connecting educational, business, non-profit and government organizations to strengthen the STEM education and workforce development pipelines in the region and simultaneously support positive social change toward environmental sustainability and citizenship.
The project's "Mega-University" and "Institute as a regional connector-hub" approaches are powerful models of collaboration that could have widespread and significant national applicability as organizations and systems adjust to the new challenges of our global economy and to the needed transition to sustainability.