In the face of accelerated change and increasingly complex challenges facing life on this planet, it is not enough to simply do more of what we’ve been doing. We need to do things differently.
The Leadership for Sustainability Master's Degree Concentration at the University of Vermont is designed for emerging and experienced leaders who wish to deepen their capacity to catalyze change and transcend boundaries. This two-year program offers an innovative blend of residential intensives (taking place in Vermont, Washington D.C., and the Bay area in California), interactive online courses, professional coaching, and access to an incredible network of faculty and professional affiliates. The program curriculum explores leadership practices inspired by the wisdom of nature and grounded in a critical inquiry of the mindsets, assumptions, and patterns of power and privilege that underlie change-making efforts.
At the heart of this program is our dedication to cultivate a diverse and inclusive learning ecosystem. Learn more about our programmatic statement on power and privilege and the DeHayes Multicultural Scholarship here .
Who Should Apply?
Regardless of your professional field, the Leadership for Sustainability program can enhance your ability to innovate, collaborate, and catalyze change.
We seek to attract students for whom current models of leadership are not working, who are open to thinking about leadership differently and becoming the pioneers, innovators, and change-makers that lead organizations and communities to new and unanticipated heights. Successful candidates are people committed to practicing new ways to deepen their capacity to catalyze change and transcend boundaries.
Our core curriculum and innovative pedagogy have three central learning goals. Upon completion of this program, graduates will:
Have a deeper relationship with nature and better understand ecological patterns, processes, and organizing principles that can inspire our leadership, design, and change-making processes;
Have tools to critically examine the thought patterns, assumptions, worldviews, ways of knowing, and systems and structures of power and privilege that underlie change-making and leadership efforts (including our own);
Have developed advanced leadership skills and practices that enhance their unique abilities and capacities to facilitate and catalyze change, advance the work of their communities and professional organizations, and create conditions for life to thrive over the long haul.
In addition, students choose one of three applied areas of specialization that provide specific knowledge and skills in Ecological Leadership, Education for Sustainability, or Ecological Economics.
The University of Vermont has earned a national reputation for the strength of its faculty and interdisciplinary offerings in sustainability.
UVM’s Gund Institute for Ecological Economics is a hub for transdisciplinary scholarship, comprising diverse faculty, students, and collaborators worldwide. As a student of the Leadership for Sustainability program you will be connected to the Institute and world-class research and innovation at the interface of ecological, social, and economic systems.
This program offers a suite of learning experiences, tuned to the needs of a diverse group of students and organizations. Four attributes are especially distinctive:
- Instruction, Coaching and Facilitation from Distinguished Affiliates: Experienced practitioners and thought leaders from the professional world provide significant contributions to the content, skill development, mentorship, and pedagogical approach of the curriculum. These affiliates offer opportunities to ground theoretical approaches in practice and share insights from cutting edge organizations and initiatives.
- Professional Orientation: The culminating Masters Project is conducted in partnership with an organization or community group from each student’s home place. Program coursework provides meaningful and individualized application of learning throughout the program.
- Networked Distance Learning: In this low-residency approach, students are rooted in their home community/organization, while benefiting from a learning community built on a strong network of student-colleagues, faculty, and seasoned professionals. Residential short courses are complemented by online courses and learning opportunities that are directly applicable to each students’ home community/organization.
- Applied Areas of Specialization: In addition to learning leadership skills, frameworks, and practices needed to initiate and facilitate change and systemic transformation, students also choose from three specialized tracks: Ecological Leadership, Education for Sustainability, or Ecological Economics.