November 2014, Volume 18, Number 4

Powerful Partnerships


Fulbright’s Fuller Vision

Miami Dade College recently hosted elementary and secondary school teachers from Japan as part of a Fulbright exchange program designed to promote Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

A growing area of pedagogy, ESD develops the knowledge, values, skills and behaviors that promote prosperous, resilient communities. In a nutshell, ESD raises “the triple bottom line” by teaching ways to balance environmental, social and economic aspects of life for the betterment of all.

ESD theories came to life for the visiting educators from Japan at Kendall Campus’ innovative Academic Support Center, which has received gold certification from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for its many environmentally friendly features.

Ideas in Action

“LEED gold certification is very demanding, so we wanted to have the Fulbright program in a place that showed how we walk the talk at MDC,” said Dr. Anouchka Rachelson, who lived in Japan for five years before becoming a professor at MDC, where she now teaches English for Academic Purposes. Rachelson spoke to the group about integrating into the curriculum the concepts of global sustainability and “Earth literacy,” which fosters respect for the planet and life in all its diversity.

After presentations indoors, the group went outside for a tour of the College’s Earth Ethics Institute (EEI) Organic Garden, which is tended by Rachelson’s students. They then toured Kendall Campus’ Environmental Center, where naturalist Brian Peck showed off some of the unique species native to South Florida.

Methodological Cross-Pollination

The teachers responded enthusiastically to the Fulbright program as they explored differences in pedagogical methods used in Japan and the United States.

“They were novices at this, and they were excited to see how we integrated the outdoors with experiential learning,” Rachelson said.

The program concluded with a traditional Japanese exchange of gifts at the MDC Environmental Center’s Visitor Pavilion, which is certified as LEED Platinum, the highest level awarded.

The enriching exchange was a collaborative effort sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Institute for International Education and orchestrated by MDC’s EEI.

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Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
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