Nova Southeastern University's National Graduate Teacher Education (NGTE) program offers an online MS in Education with specialization in Environmental education. This Web page is a supplementary site to provide more information and links about environmental education, and as a networking base for students who are presently enrolled in or have graduated from the program.
What is Environmental Education?
The roots of environmental education lie in the adoption of the Belgrade Charter by the United Nations in 1976. This widely accepted declaration holds that the goal of environmental education is to develop a world population that is aware of, and concerned about, the environment and its associated problems, and which has the knowledge, skills, motivations and commitment to work individually and collectively towards solution of current problems and prevention of new ones.
In 1978, the Tbilisi Declaration was adopted after the world's first intergovernmental conference on environmental education. Broadly speaking, the objectives of environmental education are:
To foster clear awareness of, and concern about, economic, social, political and ecological interdependence in urban and rural areas.
To provide every person with opportunities to acquire the knowledge, values, attitudes, commitment and skills needed to protect and improve the environment.
To create new patterns of behavior of individuals, groups and society as a whole towards the environment.
The North American Association for Environmental Education has spearheaded a National Project for Excellence in Environmental Education. As the NAAEE points out, "environmental education is, at its heart, an integrative undertaking. Instructors teach across disciplines, linking the methods and content of natural and social sciences, mathematics and humanities to help learners fully understand and address complex environmental issues. Environmental educators need the ability and the commitment to keep the whole picture in mind as they guide students towards environmental literacy".
The online MS in Education with specialization in Environmental Education (OCEE)
The NGTE MS in Education with specialization in Environmental Education (OCEE) was introduced in 2003, as a component of the National Graduate Teacher Education online program. NGTE is a fast-paced online masters program designed to be completed within one year. A new cluster (group) begins each winter, summer and fall. Students within an assigned cluster take the same courses in sequence. There are 2 sessions each term and 3 terms each year, to give 12 courses and 36 credits. Students remain with their "cluster" throughout the program, and so build a strong sense of being part of a virtual learning community.
The degree is conferred by Nova Southeastern University's Fischler School of Education and Human Services, but the specialization is a collaborative offering between Fischler and the Oceanographic Center. Each term, one course is taught with an emphasis on the "education" field; the other with an emphasis on "environmental" components of education. All of NSU's programs are fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Studying environmental education online may seem to be an anomaly, but online coursework integrates "hands-on" activities that take students outside and away from the computer screen. Environmental education is also about bridging social borders. Each learning cluster may include students based in different locations throughout the United States and internationally, allowing for cross-cultural sharing of perspectives on "local" and "global" environmental issues.
The Mission of the Oceanographic Center is to carry out innovative, basic and applied research and to provide high-quality graduate and undergraduate education in a broad range of marine science and related disciplines.