Our urban communities are diverse, multicultural hubs that are rapidly changing. Learn to understand the ‘nature’ of our cities with urban-based approaches to stewardship, place-based learning, and environmental action. By observing our cities with an encompassing and progressive mindset, you’ll become a strategic educator prepared to work with urban youth and communities to build thriving, healthy and sustainable places to live. Members of the 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.
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.
Our ground-breaking master’s program with IslandWood addresses the theory and practice of urban environmental education, urban ecology, and community action and stewardship. In this emerging field of Urban Environmental Education (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.
Using Seattle’s urban neighborhoods and schoolyards as the context for learning, program elements of our M.A.Ed. program include:
- Five-quarters of integrated academics in three strands:
- Urban Environmental Educational Practices and Communication Strategies
- Urban Ecology and Sustainable Cities
- Culturally Responsive Education and Stewardship
- A highly-diverse, full-time cohort
- A nine-month, paid community-based practicum
- Weekly reflective seminars
- Leadership forum
- Introduction to Inquiry: Participatory Action Research
- Visualizing the Community
- Urbanizing Environmental Education
- Complex Urban Systems: Inquiry and Investigation
- Diversity and Equity: Urban Systems, Equity, Race, Culture and the Environment
- Introduction to Urban Field-based Instruction
- Multicultural Environmental Education Strategies
- Educational Strategies for Community Engagement
For detailed curriculum, degree requirements, and course descriptions, please visit the AUS catalog.
All of the first year grads (14) are now working in the field. Jobs include:
- Community Engagement Manager: Forterra (A NW Land Trust)
- Good Food and Food Justice Coordinator: Seattle Parks and Environment
- Youth Leadership Development: Seattle Parks and Environment
- Community Education Coordinator: Garfield High School
- Storm-water Education: King County Waste Water Treatment
- Educational Director: Seattle Boys and Girls Clubs
- Youth Leadership Programming: Natural Leaders/Children and Nature Network
- Student Conservation Association: Youth Leadership Programming
- Puget Sound Sage: Climate Justice Fellowship
- Summit High School: Digital Storytelling and Documentary Filmmaking
- IslandWood: Urban Schools Program Coordinator
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 their adviser 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.
Practicum Placement Examples:
- Islandwood Urban Programs: Students work with schools to develop field-based experiential learning opportunities that include the Urban Schoolyard and Neighborhoods as viable learning platforms for teaching environmental issues.
- Seattle Public Schools: Integrating urban ecology and culturally responsive Science Teaching into classrooms by working closely with teachers.
- King County Waste Water Treatment: Designing and delivering Community Education programs about wastewater, stormwater overflow, and sustainable practices.
- Seattle Parks and Recreation: Leadership Development for Youth in building community education and equitable accessibility of healthy food.
- Puget Sound Sage: Developing Climate Education and Solutions for Communities of Color
- Seattle Boys and Girls Clubs: Environmental Youth Leadership
- Interim: Urban gardening and food justice