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GSELS Learning Network: Transforming Paradigm


6 hours of Professional Development 
3 hours Face to Face,3 hours post-workshop assignment

Facilitated by Earth Ethics Institute Staff        

This workshop offers an overview of Earth Ethics Institute’s Global Sustainability and Earth Literacy Studies (GSELS) Learning Network.  Participants learn about development and operations of GSELS. GSELS faculty learn how to broaden their GSELS-designated courses to include additional GSELS course criteria, as well as  best practices of faculty learning communities. Participants explore Sustainable Education, a concept created by Stephen Sterling and described as “a change of educational culture, one which develops and embodies the theory and practice of sustainability in a way which is critically aware. It is therefore a transformative paradigm which values, sustains and realizes human potential in relation to the need to attain and sustain social, economic and ecological well-being, recognizing that they must be part of the same dynamic.” Contrast will be made of mechanistic versus ecological worldviews, and a multidisciplinary collaborative approach to education will be endorsed.   Resources and key GSELS content, including Earth Literacy, sustainable development, the Earth Charter, principles of ecology, the Eight Guiding Principles of Global Citizenship, and UNESCO’s Four Pillars of Lifelong Learning will be reviewed. 



-Summarize the GSELS Learning Network history and participation processes

-Identify GSELS guiding philosophy and resources

-Define Sustainable Education

-Combine interdisciplinary content

-Describe GSELS course content

-Compare and contrast GSELS-related and GSELS-focused course curricula

-Give examples of how GSELS course criteria can be applied to a given course

-Broaden the scope of an existing GSELS-designated course by incorporating additional course criteria

-Describe how GSELS faculty have created Faculty Learning Communities that model best practices

-Develop a GSELS  curriculum component


Evaluation will include completion of workshop and participant must develop a discipline specific lesson plan or course module that incorporates a minimum of three GSELS course criteria for those who have never participated in GSELS and a minimum of six for those who have offered a GSELS-designated course. Lesson plan is due to the director of Earth Ethics Institute within three weeks of the end of the workshop, and will be posted on the Earth Ethics webpage.


Colleen Ahern-Hettich has served as director of the Earth Ethics Institute (EEI) since 2004. Ms. Ahern-Hettich has served on several boards and committees including: Environmental Education Providers of Miami-Dade County, Advisory Committee of South Florida Environmental Art Project, Inc.; Economic, Social and Health Issues Committee of the Miami-Dade County Climate Change Advisory Task Force, Be Healthy Board, and City of Miami Green Commission.

Mike Matthews has served as EEI Program Professional for InterAmerican Campus since 2012. Matthews holds an M.S. in environmental studies from Florida International University. He has taught on the faculty of Florida Gulf Coast University’s Marine and Ecological Sciences Department and as an adjunct professor at Florida International University.

Netiva Kolitz has served as EEI Program Professional at Kendall Campus since 2012. Ms. Kolitz holds a B.S. in Psychology, and has completed graduate course work in Environmental Studies and Education. She has more than 10 years of experience in program coordination, environmental education, and public outreach. Ms. Kolitz worked in the Education Department of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.

Alison Walker is EEI Program Professional at Wolfson Campus. She has worked in environmental education, community outreach, and professional development for more than 12 years as an adjunct professor, and at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and the US Department of Agriculture. Ms. Walker received her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Plant Sciences from University of Florida.



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Earth Ethics Institute • An Earth Literacy Resource Center Serving MDC Administrators, Faculty, Staff,  and Students, as well as the South Florida Community
Miami Dade College • 300 N.E. 2nd Avenue, Room 1201, Miami, FL 33132-2204 • t: 305-237-3796 • f: 305-237-7724