Linda Chase  |

Title:  Contemplative Ecoaesthetics through Musical Arts: Resonance, Reflection and Resilience

Abstract:  My dissertation explores how a contemplative eco-aesthetic approach to arts education can cultivate awareness and reignite human connections with the natural world. In order to educate emerging artists through a socially engaged approach, educators need to reveal underlying sources perpetuating destructive perspectives and behaviors. I researched contemplative practices; peace, justice and sustainability education; sound and silence, and deep listening, all informing the creation of a 75-minute multi-media oratorio and the production of an ecoaesthetic musical arts curriculum. My presentation will discuss this curriculum and include audio/visual examples from my oratorio to demonstrate sustainability education specifically relevant to emerging artists. 

Rosaleen Gilmore |

Title: The Best Mirror of Our Souls: Wild Mountains and What They Can Teach Us

Mountains are filled with both mystery and grandeur. There is danger in the mountains, but there can also be rewards in the form of physical health, mental well-being, and personal growth. This study examines the worldviews of mountaineers and the aspects of mountaineering that seem to enhance these worldviews. The worldviews of the mountaineers are explored in regards to both nature and human social norms. Focus is placed on the aspects of mountaineering that seem to encourage biocentric worldviews. The findings of this study are discussed in terms of the future of climbing, sustainability initiatives, and genuine learning experiences.

Scott Ramsey |

Title: Living Water: The Effects of a Multi-day Wilderness River Trip

This exploratory case study examines the effects of living water on participants during a 14-day wilderness river trip in Alaska. Using multiple methods, the research explores how prolonged immersion into the natural rhythms influenced participants during the trip and if the experience had lasting impressions on them after the trip. 

Crystal McKenna|

Title: Culture for Change: An Ethnographic Study of School Culture and Sustainable Change

Change is one of the few constants in education. How a school views and responds to change may be related to factors deeply imbedded in its school culture. Desert Vision Charter, a K-8 public charter school, despite major staff and administrative changes, seems to have created an environment that facilitates sustainable change across multiple levels of the organization. This ethnographic study explores the some of the characteristics of their school culture that may have contributed to their sustainable change. Through the analysis of participant observations, focus group discussions, existing school data, and artifact collection, valuable insights have emerged regarding institutional resiliency in education. 

Amber West Martin |

Title: Creating Community: Mitigating Risk During Faculty-led Programs Abroad

For the last several years, faculty-led programs abroad are the leading experiences for which students are participating in education abroad in the United States. When these groups travel, mitigating risk is an essential piece of the education abroad experience. This research uses case study methodology to explore how purposefully creating community during a travel preparation course may help to mitigate risk during a faculty-led education abroad experience.

Richard Pritzlaff

Title: A Meta-Analysis of Successful Community Based Payment for Ecosystem Services Programs

My hypothesis is that for payments for ecosystem services markets to be successful, they must be able to assure integrity, or consistent provisioning, of purchased services. The development of local knowledge and local decision making regarding the design and operation of this quality assurance function may contribute to changing social, political, and policymaking dynamics by allowing more local and sustainable resource use and management to emerge. This process can change the local political economy and local participant’s relationship with nature, with potentially transformative social, cultural, economic, and ecological results. I review cases and meta-analysis representing over 500 projects globally to see just how valid or invalid is my hypothesis.