Inspiring a Commitment to Sustainability

Image 2 Throughout the week at the Ross Institute Summer Academy, visiting experts and Ross mentors, faculty, and administrators have been examining complex issues related to Earth’s sustainability. The goal is to discuss and synthesize the available data, theories, and critical thinking and introduce new content and ideas into the Ross School curriculum to educate students and prepare them to take action to benefit the global community.


Faculty and staff started each day with a morning wellness class, such as yoga or tai chi; participation was both a way to experience an important aspect of the Ross Model and an opportunity to join together as a group before beginning the work of the day.


Presentations and lectures during the week focused on the origins and evolution of humans, Earth and the universe, systems, environments, and ultimately, the human impact on our planet. As a group, participants in the academy examined social and scientific behaviors, climate change, and the influence of natural and human impacts on our resources, environments, and global society.


At the end of each day, an expert panel engaged in a critical dialogue about the issues introduced and challenged the group to come up with an actionable plan that can lead to positive changes. Teachers also took a close look at the Sustainability thread found in the Ross School Spiral Curriculum as they exchanged ideas and best practices to improve the education and experience for students.


The week was also an opportunity for attendees to dig into the heart of the process by which students learn and to develop creative ways to introduce new ideas that will engage students at every level—from observation and critical thinking to forming hypotheses and taking action.

Watch the Experts at Ross Institute Summer Academy 2014

Presentations, teamwork sessions, and video content at Ross Institute Summer Academy included:

  • Man and the Universe, by Pierre Léna, PhD
  • Human Origins, by Yves Coppens, PhD
  • Systems and Sustainability, by Ralph Abraham, PhD
  • The Sustainability Thread in the Spiral Curriculum, by William Irwin Thompson, PhD
  • Human Evolution and Sustainability: From Homo sapiens to Homo sustinens, by Kieran McNulty, PhD
  • Ocean Acidification, by David Liittschwager
  • Mind, Brain, Education, by Hideaki Koizumi, PhD
  • Refugees and Environment, by Gonzalo Sánchez-Terán
  • Educating Students to Think About Sustainability, by David Wilgenbus, PhD
  • Visualizing the Sustainability thread on histomaps
  • Video interview: The Sixth Extinction with Elizabeth Kolbert
  • Video RSA Animate: Crisis of Capitalism
  • Documentaries: A River Changes Course and Chasing Ice
  • TED Talk by Sylvia Earle: My Wish—Protect our Oceans (2009)
  • Documentary: Mo’orea Field Academy
  • Ross Mo’orea Midwinter Term & Documentary: Mo’orea Polynesian Navigation
  • Human Impact on the Earth (daily critical dialogues)