UND School of Graduate Studies Blog

Happenings at The School of Graduate Studies at the University of North Dakota

Ecopedagogy will feature in Dean’s Lecture Series

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The Graduate School is excited to announce the topic for Dean’s Lecture Series Speaker, Dr. Richard Kahn. This lecture series highlights the outstanding work by young faculty at the University of North Dakota. Dr. Kahn is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Foundations & Research at UND and lists ecopedagogy and philosophy of education among his academic interests. He is one of two speakers invited to present at the 2010 Graduate School Scholarly Forum in March.

Education as the Avatar of Sustainability?

“Twaddle, rubbish, and gossip is what people want, not action….
The secret of life is to chatter freely about all one wishes to do
and how one is always being prevented and then do nothing.”

Soren Kierkegaard

Sustainability is fast becoming a defining buzzword of our current moment. As scholars, we increasingly bear witness to the greening of the academy. Campuses everywhere now trumpet their institutional commitment to realizing smaller carbon or ecological footprints, and fields such as environmental science are growing in disciplinary power. As citizens, corporations and politicians routinely bombard us with messages of sustainable development as a guiding policy norm; and our consumer lives have begun to steadily take on the appearance of being informed by a sustainability ethos whether it is through the purchase of hybrid vehicles, organic foodstuffs, energy-efficient light bulbs, non-toxic housecleaning solutions, or socially responsible investment portfolios. Still, we live in a time of unprecedented planetary ecocrisis, a period that poses the serious and burgeoning threat of mass extinction and widespread social disaster across the globe.

The writer H. G. Wells once remarked, “History is a race between education and catastrophe”. If the finish line is our sustainable future, could it be that we presently are on course to finish last? In consideration of this question, my talk will offer some general remarks about the need to conceive of sustainability as beyond technical solutions and as a moral challenge that demands the radical reconstruction of education and society.

Dr. Kahn will present his lecture at the 2010 Scholarly Forum – Tuesday 9 March at 12 noon, Lecture Bowl, Memorial Union. To learn more about Dr. Kahn’s academic interests, visit his web page or read his recent contribution to Teaching Thursday.


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Written by School of Graduate Studies

February 17, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Posted in Events, people

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  1. […] a comment » The second presentation in our 2010 Dean’s Lecture Series continues the theme of sustainability. Dr. Steven Ralph, in the Department of Biology at the University of North Dakota will discuss his […]


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