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Using Model-Based Reasoning and Experiential Learning to Understand and Improve Sustainability in a Campus Food System

April 5, 2017 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm EDT


The webinar describes an introductory sustainability course at Warren Wilson College that explores the campus food system. Warren Wilson College has a sustainable dining policy and has adopted the Real Food Challenge in conjunction with its dining services provider. Warren Wilson also raises a portion of its own food through a Farm and a Garden run by student work crews. Student work crews also run the campus recycling and compost system. The class uses experiential learning and work-learning to help students understand their assumptions about the campus food system and track the development of their shared understanding through a series of individual and group reflections and systems mapping exercises (model-based reasoning). The goal is for students to grasp the complexity, yet feasibility, of improving the sustainability of the food system with a focus on environmental responsibility and social justice. The course builds on work developed through the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center that seeks to tackle the challenge of understanding, teaching, and employing learning processes that enable diverse disciplinary perspectives to be integrated into more comprehensive conceptual frameworks that enable more effective conduct of interdisciplinary and actionable socio-environmental science. The webinar covers: a) the theory of model-based reasoning, b) the planning and implementation partnerships with dining services and other food system units, and c) examples of the student learning and proposed systems changes that emerged.

For members: Access webinar recording and presentation materials


Geoffrey Habron

Geoffrey Habron, Director of Electronic Portfolio, Warren Wilson College

Geoffrey joined Warren Wilson College as Director of Electronic Portfolios in July 2014. He arrived at Warren Wilson after serving 15 years at Michigan State University where he served as Associate Professor in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and the Department of Sociology. He also served as the Director of the undergraduate Sustainability Specialization which utilized electronic portfolios to enable students to provide evidence of a range of sustainability competencies (Ecological Integrity, Social Justice, Economic Vitality, Civic Engagement, Personal Awareness, Critical Thinking, Systems Thinking and Aesthetic Understanding. He held an appointment as a campus specialist with Michigan State University Extension in the Greening Michigan Institute in the areas of Sustaining Community Prosperity and in Natural Resources, where he worked on developing online resources to foster Sustainable Decisionmaking in Michigan.



April 5, 2017
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm EDT
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