It’s estimated that 70% of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050. Cultivating urban resilience and sustainability has never been more important. Social justice plays a big role in determining how people live and thrive in cities. The social and ecological well-being for all life on this planet depends upon it. Not all people experience the same quality of life. Not all people have the means, the power or the voice to ensure the environmental vitality of a place.
This dynamic intersection of environmental leadership and social justice drives the academic and the immersion in community practices of the MA in Education with Urban Environmental Education (UEE) program. We are looking for the new generation of educators and leaders who want to cultivate sustainable communities and are needed to help create livable, resilient and sustainable urban environment to ensure human and environmental well-being. Members of the UEE community, like yourself, will be responsible for pioneering change, leading progress, and instilling plans for a better future. Are you ready?
This degree is offered by AU Seattle.
Our Master of Arts in Education with a specialization in Urban Environmental Education program is designed for individuals committed to creating change as leaders and advocates who want to build capacity in communities to address environmental, social and cultural issues. The Urban Environmental Education program’s coursework, practice, and reflection build the capacity of our graduates to integrate environmental leadership with social justice so that everyone plays a part in improving city environments.
We are committed to advancing race, culture, equity, and inclusion in the environmental education field. 59% of our graduate students and alumni, as well as 55% of our faculty, identify as people of color. Our program graduation rate is 96% with 98% of program alumni employed in UEE related positions.
Our ground-breaking master’s program addresses the theory and practice of urban environmental education, urban ecology, and community action and stewardship. In this emerging field of UEE, you will rethink traditional methods of place-based and experiential environmental education, develop new ways to connect people to their environment and community, and actively explore solutions to improve the sustainability and health of cities.
The UEE program is a 48-credit program (you may transfer up to 12 graduate-level credits) featuring academic courses and an embedded practicum experience. The program is run as a high-touch cohort model.
Courses run for 5 quarters (13 months) beginning in the Summer with an orientation and a three-week learning intensive. Classes in the Fall, Winter, and Spring run two days a week (Mondays and Fridays). Three days of each week, students work in paid practicum. Friday classes include a reflective seminar that focuses on the application of theory to practice in community-based organizations.
Pathways from BA to MAEd
Still working on your undergraduate degree? Save time and complete your Bachelor’s degree while also getting a start on your Masters!
Antioch BA completion students Graduate Pathways: Graduate-level MAEd courses, up to 12 credits, successfully taken as an Antioch undergraduate student may be subsequently applied to the MAEd degree if the student is successfully admitted to the UEE program.
Pathway Partnerships: We are working with several Environmental Education organizations to build pathway partnerships, for example, with Youth Outside in Oakland, CA, where you will be able to take ‘Pathway” courses that can be transferred into the UEE program, the BA Completion program, or the Antioch University campus programs.
Inquire with the UEE about Pathway programs near you!
Core Knowledge Areas
All students complete four core courses:
- Diversity and Equity: Race, Culture, and Inclusion
- Curriculum Studies, Reflective Practice, and Community Engagement
- Environmental Leadership Strategies and Reform
- Participatory Action Research
We’re committed to building a more inclusive and diverse environmental education field. UEE intentionally integrates issues of environmental and social justice into the narrative of every academic course and practicum experience taken by students. Graduate students are challenged to:
- Increase their cultural fluency through a growing responsiveness to value diversity and inclusion
- Apply cultural knowledge and the timely response to cultural needs
- Recognize the dynamics of equity, privilege, and power in environmental issues
- Expand the dominant paradigm of environmental education to include multiple racial, cultural and ethnic perspectives and experiences
- Participatory Action Research
- Urbanizing Environmental Education
- Urban Ecology/ Complex Urban Systems: Inquiry and Investigation
- Diversity and Equity: Urban Systems, Equity, Race, Culture and the Environment
- Multicultural Environmental Education Strategies/Multicultural Environmental Leadership
- Leadership and Reform: Nonprofit Leadership, Administration and Management
- Community Engagement
Practicums are hands-on mentored experiences in schools, community organizations and civic government. They are designed to bring the theoretical elements of the academic coursework to life. We strive to make each practicum a paid experience.
Each student works with Practicum Coordinator to find the right fit for their professional goals. The Practicum supports both the growth and development of the graduate students as well as the community’s capacity to develop meaningful and sustainable solutions to environmental issues including concerns of shelter, water and air quality, safety and health.
The Practicum experience is paired with a four-quarter course in Participatory Action Research. Each student develops a Legacy Project in partnership with the practicum site that provides essential research to move projects and environmental solutions forward.
You will conclude your master’s degree by designing and implementing an original research project based your Practicum. The purpose of the Legacy Project (thesis) is to develop a representation of your work within the partnership Practicum organization. The Legacy Project, developed in partnership with the Practicum partner, provides essential research to improve the sustainability and health of urban cities as well as communities. It supports the mission of the partner organization and will represent learning from your Practicum, research, and analysis. It will also include the artifacts you develop to further enhance the work of the practicum organization. The Legacy Project will be scaffolded across four quarters (Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer). The final document will be submitted during the culminating quarter.
Capstone or Portfolio
In addition to the Legacy Project, you will have the option of completing either a Portfolio or Capstone. The Portfolio will serve as an exhibition of learning as well as means to highlight professional skills and knowledge. The portfolio will organize student writing, research, projects, investigations, lesson plans, etc. in a way that provides access to evidence addressing the UEE program outcomes. The Capstone is a comprehensive finished product that exhibits the educational knowledge, skill, and abilities gained during the program. The Capstone will highlight the outcomes of culturally responsive teaching or facilitation, the development of effective programming or learning strategies, thought leadership in the UEE field and mastery of content.
- Our students become educators and leaders who are reflective, thoughtful, well-informed, analytic, scholarly, justice-oriented, and effective in the important work that they are doing.
- Our program will instill the confidence and skills to help educators become change agents in their own communities.
Get to Know our UEE Students
“It is important to realize that it is primarily white, upper-income communities that benefit from environmental policies. As environmental issues continue to grow, we can’t expect to pioneer solutions without bringing to the table a multiplicity of perspectives from people who have vastly different experiences. To a large degree, healthy communities are attained through a respect for diversity and a sense of common culture.”
-Chalese Stephens, UEE Student (2019)
“In my practicum with Seattle Parks and Recreation in the Urban Food Systems Program also learned about the different decisions that go into new program implementation, like securing funding, researching land use, and working with diverse stakeholders. Each of these come with their own processes and challenges and must be balanced with community input. My experience showed me that asking and listening to unique cultural values and perspectives is one of the most powerful tools in implementing programming in local communities.”
-Rasheena Fountain, UEE Alum (2017)
“Environmental education is often education about and stewardship of nature, and as our Urban Environmental Education program strives to broaden that picture, it is broadening what it means to be an educator and what it means to practice stewardship. ‘Steward of people’ is an approach to education and community interaction that prioritizes people in an effort to be more complete in the way we approach the environment, whether that be in a classroom or the outdoors.”
-CJ Goulding, UEE Alum (2017)
- Boys and Girls Clubs of King County: Environmental Youth Leadership/Curriculum Development/Professional Development
- City of Seattle, Department of Neighborhoods (PACE) – Community Development/Civic Education/Program Design (Communities of Color)
- Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association – Community Environmental Education/Curriculum Development (K-8 STEM students and parents)
- E3 Washington – Green Ceiling Research/Stakeholder Development/Communications/Strategic Planning
- Friends of North Creek Forest – Environmental Education and Stewardship (School-aged youth and community)
- Friends of Waterfront Seattle – Strategic Planning/Stakeholder/Community Development; Urban Park Planning/Coordination/Program Design
- IslandWood, Urban School Programs– Environmental Education Program Delivery/Teach and support IW’s urban field study programs/Address challenges of urbanization/Teacher Professional Development (Elementary/middle school-aged youth and teachers)
- King County Waste Water Treatment: Designing and delivering Community Education programs about wastewater, stormwater overflow, and sustainable practices.
- Mount Baker to Snoqualmie – US Forest Service– Strategic Planning/Program Design; Program Evaluation of community engagement programming for its cultural relevancy and effectiveness to reach and engage underrepresented communities; Partnership Development
- National Parks – Community and Partnership Development/Curriculum Development/Support for Youth and Educators/Program Coordination/Research and Report Writing
- Puget Sound Sage: Developing Climate Education and Solutions for Communities of Color
- Sealaska – Community Development/Curriculum Development/Direct Instruction (High school- aged youth and community)
- Seattle Parks and Recreation: Leadership Development for Youth in building community education and equitable accessibility of healthy food. (High school-aged youth)
- Seattle Public Schools: Integrating urban ecology and culturally responsive Science Teaching into classrooms by working closely with teachers.
- Summit Sierra Charter School – Digital Storytelling/Media Instruction/Social Justice (High school-aged youth)
- TechBridge Girls – Program Management/Program Facilitation/STEM Education for Girls/ Business Development/ Stakeholder Development and Outreach/Mentoring (Middle school-aged girls and community)
- Tiny Trees – Program Coordination/Curriculum Development/Professional Development (Pre-school aged youth and teachers)
- The Wilderness Society – Youth Leadership Development/Curriculum Development (Youth and Young Adults)
- YMCA Earth Service Corps Seattle: Environmental Education/Program Coordination/ Conservation/Curriculum Development (High school-aged youth and community)