May 2nd, 2019

Editorial Overview: April 2019 General Issue

By Amanda Bielawski

This general issue of the Journal of Sustainability Education provides a wide range of articles related to student perspectives of sustainability as well as pedagogical frameworks for teaching it—with a focus on higher education.

Four full articles explore various aspects of college and university students’ more-personal sustainability awareness, empowerment, and identity.  In “Sulitest®: A Mixed-Method, Pilot Study of Assessment Impacts on Undergraduate Sustainability-Related Learning and Motivation,” Mason (2019) finds that the Sustainability Literacy Test (also known as the Sulitest®), created through a United Nations collaboration, can both assess undergraduate students’ sustainability literacy and heighten students’ interest in topics of sustainability.  In “Taking Sustainability Personally: The Impact of Teaching Sustainability Agency on Learning,” Papania (2019) explores how an experiential, action-research and transformational pedagogical approach that encourages students to contemplate sustainability on a personal basis, including having students track their own personal resource consumption and create Personal Impact Assessments, can have a transformative, empowering impact on graduate business students’ sustainability outlooks.  In “The Relationship Between University Students’ Environmental Identity, Decision-Making Process, and Behavior,” Freed and Wong (2019) investigate the role of students’ environmental identity as a factor in their outward expressions of sustainability.  And, in “Writing Makes it Easier to Relate to the Environment,” Rioux (2019) discusses the value of a 16-week Environmental Literature and Writing course in influencing undergraduate students’ understanding of their relationship with the environment.

Two additional articles advance new frameworks for addressing sustainability pedagogy and curricula in higher education.  In “Interacting Pedagogies: A Review and Framework for Sustainability Education,” Papenfuss, Merritt, Manuel-Navarrete, Cloutier, and Eckard (2019) propose an Interacting Pedagogy Framework, which illustrates the connections and interactions between transmissive, transformative, instrumental, and emancipatory pedagogies for sustainability education.  Further, the authors discuss one of the framework’s goals of “rebel[ing] against outdated curricula,” and describe the framework as a “rebel’s compass that points toward the development of pedagogies for sustainability education,” noting that a new approach is needed to “build momentum toward a fourth wave of sustainability education.”  And, in “Using Sustainability as a Framework for Marketing Curricula and Pedagogy,” Upadhyaya, Hughes, and Houston (2019) discuss the need to broaden and reframe sustainability teaching within higher education marketing courses, and provide a framework to “foster a new generation of marketing practitioners who embrace, internalize, and practice sustainability holistically.”

Outside of the brick-and-mortar classroom, additional articles explore the value of Place-Based Learning (PBL) in sustainability education efforts.  In “A Pedagogical Framework for the Design and Utilization of Place-Based Experiential Learning Curriculum on a Campus Farm,” Angstmann, Rollings, Fore, and Sorge (2019) propose a Place-Based Experiential Learning (PBEL) pedagogical framework for engaging undergraduate students in learning on often-underutilized campus farms.   And, in “The Development of Citizen Educators at a Remote Graduate Science Education Program,” Harbour (2019) provides a case study spanning three years of data collection, exploring the impacts of a year-long wilderness-based residential experience for graduate science-education students.

Moving from higher education into the K-12 realm, in “Finding the Math in the Mountains: Place-Based Learning in the Mountains of Southwest Virginia,” Askea (2019) explores the experiences of K-12 mathematics teachers, including a four-day field experience, diving into PBL to harness the power of real-world problem solving.

This issue also shares inspiring and tangibly useful content related to arts-based community events that encourage sustainability-based thinking; school gardening in vocational high schools;and how millennials make decisions about the purchase of sustainable apparel.

We hope you enjoy this issue of the Journal of Sustainability Education, and encourage you to reach out to the editorial team at to propose a future issue theme or article idea.


Amanda Bielawski

Editor, Journal of Sustainability Education

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