Sterling College has been awarded $225,000 from The Endeavor Foundation to further develop its Global Field Studies curriculum. The grant will allow the environmental stewardship college to develop new Global Field Studies, including two-week, four-week, and semester-long global study opportunities.
“Our mission of environmental stewardship education demands that students understand complex environmental and social issues in a global context,” said Sterling College President Matthew Derr. “The Global Field Studies program supports the broadening and deepening of students’ learning and research, so our graduates can be effective environmental stewards in a diverse and complex world.”
He continued, “This grant comes at a moment in history when our mission and vision for environmental stewardship education is paramount to addressing the challenges facing humanity and the natural world.”
The Global Field Studies program is a long-standing feature of Sterling College. The program consists of two- or four-week intensive cross-cultural field courses that are led by Sterling College faculty, are fully immersive, and explore the complex, ever-changing relationships among people and place.
Global Field Studies at Sterling College are included as part of students’ fees, rather than as an additional course cost, to ensure that all students have access to this transformative program that applies their skills across cultures and ecological biomes.
Currently, the College offers over seven different Global Field Studies. Recent Global Field Studies have included: studying agricultural adaptations to climate change in Chiapas, Mexico; researching tropical ecosystems in Belize or the Bahamas; exploring the natural history of Great Britain; examining the interrelationships between humans and the environment in the Hudson River valley; and studying the interplay of First Nations and other communities in coastal Labrador.
In Spring of 2016, Sterling revived the semester-long Global Field Study with the launch of the Southwest Field Semester, where students and faculty explored the Southwest region’s ecology, natural history, and cultures.
“We believe that Sterling College is a unique place that offers a compelling combination of experiential and liberal arts education framed under the idea of environmental stewardship,” The Endeavor Foundation said in a letter to the College. “By helping to support the development of an increased number of Global Field Studies courses, we are happy to be able to help strengthen the important and distinctive approach to education that Sterling creatively applies.”
This news comes during a remarkable time of innovation and growth at Sterling College. Under the leadership of President Matthew Derr, the College has launched the Rian Fried Center for Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems; inaugurated the School of the New American Farmstead; made substantial progress on renewable energy; transformed its agricultural facilities; and set records for enrollment and fundraising.