Sustainability Education Research Institute (SERI) Proposed

by Kelsey Topola

Professor Marcia McKenzie, who leads the Sustainability Education Policy Network (SEPN), is proposing a new research institute for the U of S to be housed in the College of Education. The Sustainability Education Research Institute (SERI), for which McKenzie will be the director and primary investigator, is waiting for final approval from University Council and the Board of Governors, which is expected to be completed around Christmas.

“Our teaching load is very heavy in the College of Education,” says McKenzie. “This is a way of prioritizing research within the college.” McKenzie, whose areas of focus include: place environment and sustainability, social justice, globalization and critical issues, is working on various initiatives for the new institute. These initiatives include an exchange program for faculty and students with the University of Brazil, a proposal to host a conference on campus in 2013 and working with the city and school divisions to bring more sustainability education into schools.

Located on the first floor of the Education Building near the Child Care Centre, the SERI occupies two small rooms. “We have applied for CFI (Canada Fund for Innovation) funding to renovate the space opening it up to make room for open meeting and work space,” says McKenzie. Once the space is completed it is her hope that the institute will become a real draw for both top-notch faculty and students.