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CELSE Coordinators

CELSE Coordinator Responsibilities

The Center for the Environment (former incarnation of the newly named Center for Environmental Literacy and Sustainability Education) currently has a coordinator of educational activities for Outer Island. Each year, from May through October the coordinator schedules and instructs numerous K-12 site visits. In 2008-9, close to 500 school children were engaged in learning activities related to marine and environmental education. This position and the duties and responsibilities associated with in remain central to the new mission.

This proposed revision to the mission of the Center will maintain the reassigned time for coordinating Outer Island and is requesting from SCSU three-credits of reassigned time per semester to be shared among the coordinators, resulting in one-credit per semester. These additional credits will allow for time for collaboration, grant-writing and supporting faculty and campus initiatives to pursue environmental and sustainability education. The coordination will include shared responsibilities of three SCSU faculty, who are dedicated to helping SCSU achieve its goal of Sustainability. The new responsibilities would be shared between Drs. Cusato, Graves and Heidkamp. Each faculty coordinator is currently teaching coursework and involved in creative activities that include the concepts and principles of sustainability.

Dr. Susan Cusato, Associate Professor in the Department of Science Education and Environmental Studies has a twenty-year history of working with science educators in the K-12 schools. Since 1994, she has served as Coordinator of the Science Certification Program, the M.S. in Environmental Education and the M.S. in Science Education. Dr. Cusato has worked closely with a number of the regions environmental education centers to help align their activities with the current science standards in Connecticut. These experiences have helped to develop a community of science and environmental educators who keep close ties to the university. These alumni are employed in a variety of science and environmental education positions throughout Connecticut. When the environmental literacy standards are accepted by the State, SCSU will be well positioned to take an active role in professional development. Dr. Cusato also serves on the university Sustainability Committee and is involved with the working group developing the environmental literacy standards.

Dr. Scott Graves, Associate Professor in the Department of Science Education and Environmental Studies teaches in the M.S. in Environmental Education, M.S. in Science Education and in teacher preparation., and the Sixth-Year post-M.S. Institute for Science Inquiry and Study (ISIS). One of Dr. Graves key themes in his teaching and creative activity is "place-based" environmental inquiry. Dr. Graves has over ten years experience teaching in the Globe Program, an International partnership between scientists and teachers and students. GLOBE strategies involve teacher-student groups working locally to deepen their understanding of environmental science concepts, as they make observations and gather important data for use by the international science community. From 1999 to 2004 Dr. Graves coordinated a $7.5M teacher professional development grant that involved K-12 teachers and students in studying their local environments and documenting the nature of 200 years of change in natural and human influenced settings across the country. Dr. Graves also has extensive research and teaching experience in infusing technology into education.

Dr. C. Patrick Heidkamp, Associate Professor of Geography, teaches relevant courses focused on human–environment interactions, geographic techniques (spatial analysis, geographic field-techniques), and research methodology at the undergraduate level in the Department of Geography and the graduate level in the Program of Urban Studies. Dr. Heidkamp's research agenda is interdisciplinary, geographically sensitive, international in context and grounded in fieldwork and empirical data analysis. As an environmental economic geographer, his research focuses on an analysis of landscape as the setting in which economic activity enabled, shaped and mediated by social relations takes place. In his teaching and research, Dr. Heidkamp is particularly concerned with fostering critical inquiry of inter-generational as well as intra-generational sustainability. Dr. Heidkamp believes that this level of inquiry can be most strongly developed through student faculty research collaboration—one of the goals of the revised center.

Each of the faculty coordinators has a history of working and teaching from a cross-disciplinary approach. Once approved, one of the primary focuses of the Center seeking funding opportunities to enhance sustainability education at SCSU and in the K-12 schools. The Center will provide a central location for the coordination of environmental literacy and sustainability education at SCSU. The Center will help provide consistency, coordination and support for a variety of educational initiatives. By having three coordinators, the Center will have a breadth of experience and academic strengths that encompasses the sciences, social sciences and education. The Center will provide the information and data regarding, university efforts to integrated sustainability education in its' curriculum for reports and assessments. When the environmental literacy standards are accepted in Connecticut, the Center will allow SCSU to respond quickly to these new expectations in our teacher preparation and professional development programs.

Participating faculty are expected to mentor student research and projects, apply for external funding, publish-present educational initiatives and serve as a resource for university and K-12 faculty.