Year 1- Research Methods for Sustainable Culture Development I, II, III
Self-Construction: Culture, Consciousness, and our Relationship with Nature
Our body-mind experiences as human components of nature directly affect the entire Earth organism. This course is an exploration of the relationships between Nature/the environment, social-cultural consciousness, and our personal-collective lived experience. Unresolved personal-collective experiences and historical/present day issues affect the quality of our interactions and relationships in the home, work, educational, public, and environmental settings that are foundational to our ability to co-create a sustainable culture.
Social-cultural, environmental, biological, and psychological factors
Student will explore methods of inquiry learning the applied research process. An expanded research pedagogy (somatic inquiry, pluralistic epistemologies/multiple ways of knowing, states of consciousness, and cultural-expressive arts) is used for in depth inquiry regarding the nature of our internal and external environment and environment-behavior relationships. Students explore the development of a sustainable community ecosystem beginning with a green, environmental-focused economic structure. The first year small group project involves the development of a startup community network (entrepreneurship and eco-commerce). During the second year, students co-create a sustainable intentional community and design/construct off-the-grid housing for the community (social-cultural and environmental structure). This multi-level approach offers the opportunity to design and implement an unified, community ecosystem model.
Nature of Self, the Internal Environment
Honing the Body-Mind as a Research Instrument
Self-knowledge is the foundation of human/social development and reciprocal relationship with one another and the Earth. Our socialization process, wounding, and trauma affects our ability to be adaptive and to observe rather than project. Cultivating sensory awareness is required to develop proficiency as active observer in first-person research/field studies and third-person participatory research. An expanded research pedagogy (somatic inquiry, pluralistic epistemologies/multiple ways of knowing, states of consciousness, and cultural-expressive arts) is used for in depth inquiry regarding the nature of our internal and external environment and environment-behavior relationships. Students learn to synchronize with nature’s rhythms and expand their perception using art, dance/movement, guided imagery, poetry, music, drama, dreamwork, image, symbol, and ceremony. Community service learning provides an opportunity for personal inquiry and to access resources for the year project.
Nature of Self-Community, the External Environment
Co-Creating Community: Sustainability and the Collective Unconscious
The Earth’s ecosystems work together for a shared reciprocal balance; the human ecosystems also must come into alignment for the preservation of the whole. This course explores strategies to realign culture and our personal-collective experience in relationship with Nature, the Earth, our environment. Students continue to work with their internal environment developing first-person inquiry skills to resolve personal experience and any resulting projections that may show up as biases in interacting and communication (relationship) with others. These skills are expanded to the external environment applying personal inquiry and developed skills as an active observer while completing their community service project.
Summer Field Studies
Participatory Observation: Aesthetic Creation of a Sustainable Society
During Term I, students conduct personal inquiry in a participatory field study setting (an intentional sustainable community, a conservation program, or an environmental/sustainable design/green organization). The summer field study will build relationship and assist in obtaining a site agreement for the second year research practicum. Students are assisted with obtaining and finalizing their practicum placement and agreement. Placement settings serve multiple roles: to gain skills and learning experience related to career goals, to access resources for the small group project, and to build community partnerships.
During Term II, we offer a summer study abroad in collaboration with intentional sustainable communities (U.S. and internationally). The participatory study includes dynamic class engagement and hands-on sustainable practice experience. Students will conduct first-person research regarding their immersion experience within the communities.
Year 2- Research Practicum/Supervised Fieldwork I, II, III, IV
Semester I, II, III
Prior to the beginning of the quarter, students are assisted with obtaining and finalizing their practicum placement and agreement. Placement settings serves multiple roles: to gain skills and learning experience related to career goals, to access resources for the small group project, and to build community partnerships. Supervision and mentoring are provided to guide students in designing and implementing a fieldwork plan for learning integration and research skill development. Theoretical material and practice are integrated into an interdisciplinary framework for applying a comprehensive knowledge-skill base with collaborative research and writing. Somatic, personal, and collaborative group research approaches are further developed with integration of cooperative participatory qualitative and quantitative methods for creative, innovative internal and external environment investigation.
Co-creating EcoCommunities: Community Partnership Practicum and Internship
During Year 2, students develop and implement a nature-based cultural framework (social-cultural and environmental structure). Students apply Year 1 competencies to co-create a sustainable intentional community and design/construct off-the-grid housing for the community. The practicum sites will provide opportunities to learn skills and access resources to develop the community’s social and physical structure. Readings, lessons, discussion, and ongoing instructor mentoring/guidance provide the support base for the cohort and small group projects (cooperative participatory research) and integration of the practicum site experience.
Advanced Summer Field Studies
Cooperative and Participatory Action: Aesthetic Creation of a Sustainable Society
During Term I, students apply a unified model of their intentional sustainable community projects to create an intentional community with the collective design and construction of a sustainable home (zero carbon footprint; “off-the-grid”). This collaborative project the culmination of the two-year certification.
During Term II, advanced practicum students more actively engage in the previous initiatory work combining personal and group cooperative participatory research methods of inquiry. Students have the opportunity to become research assistants for ongoing field studies the U.S. and internationally in collaboration with intentional sustainable communities.
Internship Field Study (interdisciplinary scholarship)
Interns gain experience as research assistants (participatory action studies) or as community-based program assistants for the Cultural Wellness program.
Cultural Wellness Program (Community Outreach; U.S. and International)
The Cultural Wellness Program offers collaborative partnership in revitalizing distressed communities (poverty, trauma/tragedy, natural disaster). The program provides sustainable living, health, and wellbeing education; cultural arts classes; eco-entrepreneur workshops, startup incubator, and cooperative (with micro grants/loans); organic urban farming/permaculture; and green, sustainable community-building/conservation resources. We also assist with building aesthetic, sustainable “off the grid” homes with natural and repurposed materials as well as land restoration and greenspace design.
Masters or Doctoral Research Seminar Project
Masters or doctoral seminar students engage in collaborative research and writing as graduate-level research assistants. The participatory action research studies for the Cultural Wellness Program involve community-led design and facilitation of the transition program tailored to the specific needs of the community.