Oberlin’s Orr lectures today in Education by Design series

The Faculty of Environmental Studies Fall Seminar Series kicks off its 2007-2008 seminar series today, with a lecture by  US environmentalist and academic David W. Orr.

Orr, Chair of the Environmental Studies Program at Oberlin College in Ohio, will discuss "Educating by Design" – global climate destabilization and the implications for university planning and design. 

Left: David Orr

The lecture is part of York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies Fall Seminar Series "Education by Design: Learning from Learning Environments". It is free and open to all members of the York community. Today’s lecture will take place from 5 to 7:30pm, in room 140, HNES Building on York’s Keele campus.

Orr is perhaps best known for his pioneering work on environmental literacy in higher education and his recent work in ecological design. He raised funds for and spearheaded the effort to design and build a $7.2 million Environmental Studies Center at Oberlin College, a building described by the New York Times as "the most remarkable" of a new generation of college buildings and selected as one of 30 "milestone buildings" in the 20th century by the US Department of Energy.

The "Education by Design: Learning from Learning Environments" series is presented by York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies in partnership with the Faculty of Education, the Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies and the Institute for Research & Innovation in Sustainability (IRIS).

The "Education by Design: Learning from Learning Environments" series is based on the perspective that the conventional tripartite university paradigm of teaching, research and service reinforces an artificial separation of activity which is no longer appropriate, if it ever was. The increasingly complex world requires a different paradigm for the university – one in which the connectivity of the biosphere is reflected in the structures and functions of the institution. With the Decade for Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2015) underway, the rise of new journals such as the International Journal for Sustainability in Higher Education, and issues of existing journals being devoted to the topic, this series presents York University with a timely opportunity to question what we are learning in and from learning environments such as the conventional university campus, and reflect on broader notions of learning, design and place.

The first part of the series explores key issues in university planning, design and policy followed by more focused conversations on the pedagogical potential of York’s natural, organizational, social and built environments.

More about David Orr

Orr is the author of five books: Design on the Edge (MIT Press, 2006); The Last Refuge: The Corruption of Patriotism in the Age of Terror (Island Press,2004); The Nature of Design (Oxford, 2002); Earth in Mind (Island, 1994); Ecological Literacy (SUNY, 1992) and co-editor of The Global Predicament (North Carolina, 1979) and The Campus and Environmental Responsibility (Jossey-Bass, 1992). He has published 120 articles in scientific journals, social science publications, and popular magazines.

Orr is also the contributing editor of Conservation Biology, a trustee of the Educational Foundation of America and the Compton Foundation, and serves on the boards of the Rocky Mountain Institute (CO), Second Nature (MA), the Center for Ecoliteracy (CA), and the Center for Respect of Life & Environment. He is also an adviser and consultant to the Trust for Public Land, the National Parks Advisory Committee and other organizations. He is a frequent lecturer at Schumacher College (UK) and has lectured at hundreds of colleges and universities throughout Canada and the US.

For more information and to view a full series program,  click here.