EDCS 640P students monitor salinity using refractometers

The College of Education Department of Curriculum Studies announced a new Graduate Certificate (GCERT) in Sustainability and Resilience Education (SRE) to begin this fall. The SRE GCERT is a timely 15-credit program that prepares school and community-based PK–20 educators to integrate real world, place-based knowledge, sustainability research, and multiple literacies into their curricula, including a COVID-19 component.

“This program adopts the UH System definition of sustainability as ‘serving the needs of the present without jeopardizing the needs of the future’ and Worldwatch Institute’s definition of resilience as ‘the ability of natural or human systems to survive in the face of great change,’” stated Professor Pauline Chinn, who is one of the lead designers of the program, along with Emeritus Professor Andrea Bartlett.

The SRE GCERT includes conventional and new literacies, such as ecological literacy, and culminates in a capstone project focused on an issue that needs community-based understanding and action to address. Issues include climate change, invasive species, food sustainability, and introduced diseases, such as COVID-19 that present economic, cultural, and ecological threats.

Chinn further explained, “A transdisciplinary approach to a place-based issue situates problem-finding in historical and cultural contexts and problem-solving in community partnerships. The stay-at-home response to COVID-19, for example, can be understood in the context of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s 1853 establishment of a Department of Health to address the threat of smallpox. Mitigating community spread of COVID-19 relies upon students acting upon their learning with family and community members.”

Applications for the Graduate Certificate in Sustainability and Resilience Education (SRE) are now being accepted through June 1, 2020 (until a cohort of 20 students is filled). The COVID-19 curriculum will be implemented this fall and is available on the Kahua A‘o project website under Biology Lessons. Please contact Dr. Pauline Chinn at chinn@hawaii.edu for more information.

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