RCE Greater Burlington - 2022

Education for Sustainability Graduate Certificate Programs: Two Pathways to Advancing Quality Education from the Shelburne Farms Institute for Sustainable Schools and University of Vermont
Basic Information
Title of project : 
Education for Sustainability Graduate Certificate Programs: Two Pathways to Advancing Quality Education from the Shelburne Farms Institute for Sustainable Schools and University of Vermont
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Greater Burlington
Contributing organization(s) : 
Shelburne Farms, The University of Vermont
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
Megan Camp, Jen Cirillo
Organizational Affiliation: 
Shelburne Farms, RCE Greater Burlington Founding Partner and Co-coordinator
Walter Poleman
Organizational Affiliation: 
University of Vermont, RCE Greater Burlington Founding Partner and Co-coordinator
Format of project: 
Language of project: 
Date of submission:
Friday, September 9, 2022
Geographical & Education Information
Vermont, USA
Address of focal point institution for project: 
Shelburne Farms, 1611 Harbor Road, Shelburne, Vermont 05482
Target Audience:
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
Burlington is home to the University of Vermont, and is the largest city in the state of Vermont with a population of approximately 42,000. It is situated on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain at the mouth of the Winooski River, and became the first city in the U.S. to run entirely on renewable energy. Shelburne Farms’ 1,400-acre campus for learning is located south of Burlington along the shores of Lake Champlain and includes agricultural, wetland, and forested landscapes.
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
Our goal is to prepare practicing educators to empower learners to make positive changes in their communities and improve the quality of life for current and future generations. Certificates promote the work of sustainability educators and encourage collaboration to strengthen existing and new education for sustainability initiatives. We are currently working at the intersection of SDG #3 (Good Health and Well-Being), SDG #4 (Quality Education), SDG #6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), SDG #11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), and SDG #13 (Climate Action).
January, 2022
Together, the University of Vermont and the Shelburne Farms Institute for Sustainable Schools are working to accelerate the response to today’s unprecedented and interconnected environmental, social, and economic challenges through education.

The planet is undergoing rapid and dramatic changes that threaten not only economies and coastlines but the ability of the planet to support life as we know it. Meanwhile, racism and systemic inequity continue to seep through all aspects of our society, leading to unjust and dangerous experiences for many. Educators seeking to prepare their students for these realities need a new kind of professional learning. The Certificate of Graduate Study in Education for Sustainability prepares learners to engage and thrive in a democratic and sustainable society through nurturing a sense of place, building an understanding of interdependence through systems thinking and systems sensing, and positioning students to discover their own agency through service-learning to lead learning and systems change across a variety of scales from classroom to community.
The goal is to provide high-quality professional learning in Education for Sustainability to practicing educators, including k-12, post-secondary, and informal educators, so that they can successfully design, implement, and lead EFS with their own learners. Educators who complete the certificate will design and implement curricula; co-create authentic learning experiences that center student voice and agency, community impact, and honor identity and positionality; establish and nurture reciprocal relationships with community partners; and will demonstrate an understanding of the concepts of socio-ecological systems nested within a local-to-global vision of sustainability in order to address social, environmental, and economic issues with students.
Activities and/or practices employed: 
Educators choose from a 12-credit Micro Certificate of Graduate Study or an 18-credit Certificate of Graduate Study. Unique Shelburne Farms experiences, coupled with graduate coursework, form the foundation of each pathway.

All students take four required courses: (1) Foundations of Education for Sustainability (EFS), (2) Methods in EFS, (3) Transformative Leadership in EFS, and (4) EFS Inquiry and Action. 18-credit students also select two electives to deepen their knowledge of sustainability in a field of personal interest, including food systems, agroecology, and community design.
Size of academic audience: 
Our goal is to recruit 12 diverse program participants each year. We estimate that each educator will touch the lives of thousands of students throughout their career.
Certificates opened for enrollment early this year (2022).
Shelburne Farms has engaged 5,000 educators over the past five years through EFS-focused professional learning programs.
Lessons learned: 
Shelburne Farms continues to experience an increased demand for EFS programming as evidenced by enrollment in programs.
Key messages: 
The Education for Sustainability Graduate Certificate accelerates positive change in schools and communities. Offered by the Shelburne Farms Institute for Sustainable Schools and the University of Vermont, educators practice change-making skills to transform systems and deepen their expertise in empowering and bringing EFS to life for learners.
Relationship to other RCE activities: 
These certificates honor our shared commitment to the Greater Burlington Regional Center of Expertise (RCE), a local network co-founded by UVM and Shelburne Farms that is among the Global RCE Network. Other shared RCE activities include the Burlington City and Lake Semester program (https://www.rcenetwork.org/portal/rce-greater-burlington-2020). Additionally, the Shelburne Farms Institute for Sustainable Schools, along with our partners UP for Learning, offers a year-long program for youth-adult teams focused on the SDGs, called Cultivating Pathways to Sustainability (https://shelburnefarms.org/our-work/for-educators-schools/school-programs/cultivating-pathways-to-sustainability).
A collaboration between the University of Vermont College of Education and Social Services, The Rubenstein School of the Environment and Shelburne Farms.


File Name Caption for picture Photo Credit
Image icon shelburne-farms-2022-0726-0117 (2).jpg (4.66 MB) Participants take a learning journey through a local elementary school’s campus. Andy Duback
Image icon shelburne-farms-2022-0726-0029 (1).jpg (2.94 MB) In each course, educators collaborate and build professional networks as they plan curricula. Andy Duback
Image icon 2022 June NEFTSI Summer Retreat SMW-34.jpg (3.39 MB) Our campus for learning, Shelburne Farms, in Vermont. Sarah Webb
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 1 - End poverty in all its forms everywhere 
SDG 2 - End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture 
SDG 3 - Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages 
SDG 4 - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all 
SDG 5 - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls 
SDG 6 - Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all 
SDG 7 - Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all 
SDG 8 - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all 
SDG 9 - Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, and foster innovation 
SDG 10 - Reduce inequality within and among countries 
SDG 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable 
SDG 12 - Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns 
SDG 13 - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts 
SDG 14 - Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development 
SDG 15 - Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss 
SDG 16 - Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels 
SDG 17 - Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development 
Disaster Risk Reduction 
Traditional Knowledge  
Curriculum Development 
Plants & Animals 
ESD for 2030-Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 1 - Advancing policy 
Priority Action Area 2 - Transforming learning and training environments 
Priority Action Area 3 - Developing capacities of educators and trainers 
Priority Action Area 4 - Mobilizing youth 
Priority Action Area 5 - Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level 
I acknowledge the above: