Teaching Socio-Environmental Synthesis

Full Title

Experiment in teaching the socio-environmental synthesis process


The Socio-Environmental Synthesis (SES) Teaching Study is a SESYNC Venture addressing a number of critical questions:

  • What do undergraduate students need to know and be able to do to be proficient at SES, and how can their SES proficiency be assessed?
  • How is SES proficiency developed, how is it learned, and how can it be taught?
  • What supports and constrains effective SES teaching and pedagogy among participating undergraduate faculty?

This Venture synthesis group is comprised of faculty teams from five universities representing a variety of institutional settings and student populations: Coppin State University (HBCU), Gallaudet University (deaf and hard of hearing students and faculty), Washington State University–Vancouver (older, returning students), Widener University (liberal arts), and University of Maryland (flagship land grant). The synthesis begins with:

  • identification of important SES student competencies,
  • development of a standardized template for SES modules built on a case study approach to exploring a socio-environmental issue, and
  • development of multiple SES modules.

The modules will be used in classes at each of the institutions in order to compare student outcomes across a diverse range of settings. Formative and summative assessments for the SES learning goals are being undertaken. Growth in faculty knowledge, skills, and practices are being collected in faculty logs and portfolios and will also be synthesized. 

Project Type
Team Synthesis Project
Principal Investigators
Alan Berkowitz, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
John Bishop, Washington State University–Vancouver
Caroline Solomon, Gallaudet University
Bretton Alvare, Widener University
Bruce Grant, Widener University
Khadijat Rashid, Gallaudet University
Gretchen Rollwagen-Bollens, Washington State University–Vancouver
Paul Thiers, WSU Vancouver