There is widespread agreement that radical and immediate social changes are necessary to avert catastrophic collapse of earth systems and allow for the possibility of sustaining healthy human civilizations. Among other challenges, achieving this level of transformation requires an unprecedented degree of social learning. Many argue that higher education could (and some say should) play a central role in facilitating this learning. Despite decades of earnest and well-intentioned efforts, however, higher education—even sustainability-oriented higher ed—has not yet risen to the challenge. A deeper transformation of education itself is needed if we are to create the kind of transformative education our circumstances demand. Drawing on insights from her new book, Beyond the Knowledge Crisis, Debbie Kasper looks at some of the deeper reasons for this apparent failing. In attending to the roots of the problem, she argues, we gain insights into some practical actions we can take now, in the classroom and in our curricula, to help create the conditions for effecting the more radical changes called for.
Debbie Kasper is a sociologist and Associate Professor of Environmental Studies at Hiram College in Northeast OH. Her teaching and scholarship reflect a commitment to integrating knowledge, establishing common ground, and demonstrating the practical value of big ideas. Among her eclectic course offerings are Intro to Socio-Environmental Studies, Human Settlements, Permaculture Basics, and Systems Thinking & Social Change. Her book Beyond the Knowledge Crisis: A Synthesis Framework for Socio-Environmental Studies and Guide to Social Change was published by Palgrave-Macmillan in 2021.
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