Home Morningside Events - Morningside Area Alliance Green Morningside Lectures Roslyn Silver ‘27 Science Lecture: Transforming Education for Sustainability


Apr 10 2024


6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Formats (virtual, in person, hybrid)


Roslyn Silver ‘27 Science Lecture: Transforming Education for Sustainability

Hilary S. Callahan (Barnard College), María S. Rivera Maulucci (Barnard College), and Stephanie Pfirman (Barnard College and Arizona State University), co-editors and contributors to Transforming Education for Sustainability: Discourses on Justice, Inclusion, and Authenticity (Springer, 2023), will deliver the 2024 Roslyn Silver ’27 Science lecture on their new book.

This book investigates how educators and researchers in the sciences, social sciences, and the arts, connect concepts of sustainability to work in their fields of study and in the classrooms where they teach the next generation. Sustainability, with a focus on justice, authenticity and inclusivity, can be integrated into many different courses or disciplines even if it is beyond their historical focus. The narratives describe sustainability education in the classroom, the laboratory, and the field (broadly defined) and how the authors navigate the complexities of particular sustainability issues, such as climate change, water quality, soil health, biodiversity, resource use, and education in authentic ways that convey their complexity, the sociopolitical context, and their hopes for the future. The chapters explore how faculty engage students in learning about sustainability and the ways in which working at the edge of what we know about sustainability can be a significant source of engagement, motivation, and challenge. The authors discuss how they create learning experiences that foster democratic practices in which students are not just following protocols, but have a stake in creative decision-making, collecting and analysing data, and posing authentic questions. They also describe what happens when students are not just passively receiving information, but actively analysing, debating, dialoguing, arguing from evidence, and constructing nuanced understandings of complex socioscientific sustainability issues. The narratives include undergraduate student perspectives on what it means to engage in sustainability research and learning, how students navigate the complexities and contradictions inherent in sustainability issues, what makes for authentic, empowering learning experiences, and how students are encouraged to persevere in the field.

Transforming Education for Sustainability is an open access book. Read it here.


About the Speakers

Hilary Callahan is Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Biological Sciences, Barnard College. Her integrative research examines many different features of plants — from roots to flowers to seeds. She seeks to understand how plants and their traits function in nature, and how external factors affect trait expression and how rapidly traits evolve. To link plant traits with plant genes, she frequently works with the genomic model Arabidopsis thaliana — the “fruit fly of botany.” Her interest in how multiple traits are integrated uses Arabidopsis as well as longer-lived shrubs and trees growing in Barnard’s greenhouse, at nearby botanical gardens, and at several experimental forests in the northeastern region. She has a strong interest in how the timing of plant life cycles will respond to anthropogenic global change. She receives funding from the National Science Foundation, and has participated for more than a decade in teaching students about plant genomics research through The UNPAK Project (undergraduates phenotyping Arabidopsis knockouts). She teaches lecture and lab courses in Ecology, Plant Evolution and Diversity and has also taught Applied Ecology and Evolution and seminars for seniors and first-years. In collaboration with horticulturalist Nicholas Gershberg, she oversees the living collections of the Arthur Ross Greenhouse on the roof of Milbank Hall. She serves as President to the Board of Directors of Black Rock Forest, an organization promoting research, education and conservation and is also an affiliated faculty member of Columbia’s Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology.

María S. Rivera Maulucci Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Education at Barnard College. She joined the faculty of Barnard in 2004. She is a proud member of the Class of 1988 at Barnard and serves as Co-Fund Chair. Prior to coming to Barnard, María served as Director of the Science Professional Development Center for Region One in the Bronx. Her expertise in science pedagogy and teacher education draws on 16 years of experience teaching at the elementary, secondary, and postsecondary levels. Her interdisciplinary scholarship focuses on how teachers learn to teach for social justice and the role of language, identity, and emotions in teacher development. Professor Rivera is the Principal Investigator for the Barnard College Robert Noyce Teacher Education Scholars Program (BNTSP) funded by the National Science Foundation.

Stephanie Pfirman is Professor Emerita of Environmental Science, Barnard College and Foundation Professor, School of Ocean Futures and Senior Sustainability Scientist in the Global Institute of Sustainability and Innovation, Arizona State University and Professor. Professor Pfirman’s research focuses on understanding and responding to the changing Arctic, developing innovative approaches to formal and informal education, and exploring the intersection between diversity and interdisciplinarity. Her 25+ years of teaching include facilitating capstone/thesis projects, leadership and polar exploration, navigating the new Arctic, climate systems and responding to climate change, museum exhibition design and implementation, innovation in science communication, environmental data analysis, energy resources, and oceanography.

ASL Interpretation will be provided. For additional accessibility needs please email skreitzb@barnard.edu.
This is an in-person event, free and open to all. Please review our COVID safety guidelines. Registration is preferred.

Image credit
Jakob Fischer, Urban Gardening, Malacca, Malaysia