MS in Environmental Studies with a Specialization in Environmental Education, Antioch University New England
BA in Political Science and Environmental Studies, Williams College
Sue Gentile teaches Urban Sustainability and has taught Research Methods and Science for Urban Sustainability in AULA’s Urban Sustainability Master of Arts Program. Sue is also the Executive Director of Living Routes, a non-profit organization that offers study abroad programs in sustainable communities. Early in her career, Sue worked for over twenty years at Northfield Mount Hermon School as a teacher, coach, dorm head, director of environmental education, chair of the executive committee of the faculty, and dean. Along the way, Sue completed an M.S. in environmental studies with a specialization in environmental education at Antioch University New England. In 2002 Sue began teaching at AUNE, where she continues to teach in both the Department of Environmental Studies and the Department of Education. She teaches in the environmental education and science teacher certification concentrations in the Department of Environmental Studies, and in the Department of Education Sue teaches in a M.Ed. program for in-service K-12 teachers focused on educating for sustainability, which she co-developed. She is also a consultant for schools and school districts working towards educating for sustainability. As a member of the Board of the United States Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development and of its Steering Committee for the K-12 and Teacher Education Sector, Sue collaborates with professionals across the country to bring educating for sustainability to education in the U.S. (http://www.uspartnership.org). Sue also serves on the board of Ecology Education, Inc. (www.fbes.org) and the board of Four Rivers Charter Public School (www.fourriverscharter.org), and is a member of the board of Antioch New England’s journal Whole Terrain, serving as managing editor (www.wholeterrain.org).
“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them become what they are capable of being.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
This quotation was taped to Sue’s social studies teacher’s desk when she was in eighth grade. It has been in her mind and in her work ever since. Her goal is to help her students become educators who can enact this quotation, educators who will make a difference in people’s lives and thereby make a difference in the world.
Sue agrees with David Orr that “all education is environmental education.” To be effective, all education must begin with the learner, with what she already knows and brings to the learning experience. Using an interdisciplinary, student-centered, student-directed approach, systems thinking and problem-solving skills can be developed, habits of mind and practice that are needed for sustainable living. Sue’s own teaching style is more guide-on-the-side than sage-on-the-stage. Each educator must discover her own, most effective style and create her own unique “toolkit” and “bag of tricks” to facilitate learning.
A metaphor for Sue’s work is a web of synapses connecting her teaching with others’ teaching. As new synapses are constantly created and old ones are improved with use, the web grows and is strengthened through increasing connections.
A quotation from Daniel Quinn’s Ishmael also comes to mind: “‘What do I do if I earnestly desire to save the world’?…’What you do is teach a hundred what I’ve taught you, and inspire each of them to teach a hundred. That’s how it is always done.’”
Sue is fascinated by communication between people, especially human language. She enjoys exploring the evolution of language, spoken and written, and she is intrigued by the possible effects of electronic communication on the human brain, social interaction, cultural diversity, and humans’ role in the community of life.
Principles of Sustainable Development, two-volume reference set to be released by Gale Group Inc. in 2013, 2011-present
Whole Terrain Volume 17, The Significance of Scale, published December 2010
Whole Terrain Volume 16 ,((r)e)volution, published December 2009
for Mitchell Thomashow’s Bringing the Biosphere Home: Learning to Perceive Global Environmental Change, 2000
The Connecticut River Watershed: Introductory Activities for High School Watershed Education for the Connecticut River Watershed Council, published 1999
“The Connecticut River Education Initiative: Making Connections through Sense of Place,” published in Outdoors, COEEA newsletter, 1998
Co-author, “Inviting Them to Dance,” published in Whole Terrain, 1998
“Treatment for a National Neurosis” published in Pioneer Valley Forum, 1994;
1994, and Family Connections, 1993
The News, NMH alumni magazine, 1992-1994
reflection published in Earthwatch magazine, 1992