AJCU Ecology Educators - Our Philosophy

Leading secular and religious voices have reached similar conclusions about the predicament of human societies in the early 21st century: that our social, political, economic and environmental challenges all come from the same source and require humans have a change of consciousness in order to survive. If higher education is to assist in creating a more sustainable world, we need to be more conscious and conscientious about enabling students to face the future with courage and hope. We believe that cultivating an intellectual curiosity about the world as well as a humble sense of wonder about its beauties and complexities is a crucial part of that task. But so is cultivating a disposition toward action and a resilience in the face of the inevitable frustrations of such action. Wonder, hope, action and resilience are all deeply formed by an individual's engagement with transcendent questions.

Yet, in sustainability courses in higher education, there is not often a lot of conversation between those from a religious perspective and those coming from a more practical or materialist perspective. For example, in a recent publication the United States' largest organization devoted to sustainability in higher education made no mention of the potential power and potency of integrating spirituality and religion, two key aspects of the human experience, into curricular and other efforts to achieving greater student access to education for sustainability.

Engagement with the natural world, manual labor, and spirituality are essential starting points for a change of consciousness. We need to make them part of the curriculum. We can only change consciousness by ensuring that sustainability education focuses not just on alternative energy, reducing consumption, promoting livable communities, and mitigating climate change but also promoting an appreciation for the natural world, our own bodies, and our spiritual lives.

Past Events
Fall 2019—Ignatian Pedagogy Workshop, Xavier University September 15 and 16

Fall 2020—Ignatian Pedagogy Digital Workshop, “Opportunities for Sustainability in a Pandemic,” September 27-28

Spring 2020—Ignatian Pedagogy Digital Workshop, “Stories of IPS in Action,” March 15

Upcoming Events
Fall 2021—Ignatian Pedagogy Workshop, “Becoming Integral Ecology,” September 25-26, 2021

Vision and Themes for Ignation Pedagogy for Sustainability
Jay Leighter and John O’Keefe, “Ascetical Practice and Ignatian Pedagogy for Sustainability: Tools for Teaching Sustainable Living” Jesuit Higher Education: A Journal 8/1 (2019).

Andrew Baruth, “Ignatian Pedagogy for Sustainability to Support Community-based Client-focused Sustainability Energy Solutions,” Jesuit Higher Education: A Journal 8/2 (2019).

Erin E. Robinson, “Ignatian Intent: Using Ignatian Pedagogy for Sustainability in the Sociology Classroom,” Jesuit Higher Education: A Journal 8/2 (2019).

Kathleen R. Smythe, “Bicycling Seminar and Ignatian Pedagogy for Sustainability,” Jesuit Higher Education: A Journal 8/1 (2019).

For the goals of the Ecology Educators and more information



Betsy Bancroft (Gonzaga, Biology and Environmental Studies)
Nancy Bertaux (Xavier, Economics and Sustainability)
John Braverman, SJ (Biology, Saint Joseph's University)
Cecilia Calvo (Advocacy Office Jesuit Conference of North Am, Environmental Justice)
Gerry Canavan (Marquette, English)
Andreas Carlgren (Newman Institute -Uppsala, Environment and Justice Program)
Victor Carmona (Detroit Mercy, Director of Sustainability, College of Engineering and Science)
Philip Chmielewski (Loyola Marymount, Engineering)
Dan DiLeo (Creighton, Justice and Peace Studies Program)
Rachel Egenhoefer (USF, Design)
Waleed El-Ansary (Xavier, Islamic Studies)
John Fairfield (Xavier, History, Philosophy, Politics and the Public)
Mairi-Jane Fox (Regis, Ecological Economics)
William French (Loyola-Chicago, Theology)
Leslie Gray (Santa Clara University, Environmental Studies and Sciences)
Nancy Landrum (Loyola-Chicago, Sustainable Business Management)
Jay Leighter (Creighton, Communication Arts and Sustainability)
Katherine Mackinnon (SLU, Anthropology)
Mark Mackey (Loyola-Chicago, Ecology)
Anas Malik (Xavier, Political Science)
Shaily Menon (St. Joseph's, Biology)
John O'Keefe (Creighton, Theology and Filmmaking)
Leo Peyronnin (Xavier student, Philosophy, Politics and the Public)
Usha Rao (St. Joseph's University, Chemistry, Director of Teaching and Learning)
Brent Ribble (Marquette, Sustainability)
Erin Robinson (Canisius, Sociology and Environmental Studies)
Nancy Rourke (Canisius, Religious Studies and Theology)
David Saah (USF, Environmental Sciences)
T. Sciacca (Xavier student, Philosophy, Politics and the Public)
John Sealey (Upper Midwest Province, Social and International Ministries)
David Silver (USF, Environmental Studies and Urban Agriculture)
Kathleen Smythe (Xavier, History and Sustainability
Stephanie Siehr (USF, Environmental Sciences)
James Stoner (Fordham, Global Sustainability)
Patrick Swanson (Creighton, Medical Sciences)
Phil Thompson (Seattle, Engineering and Sustainability)
Nancy Tuchman (Loyola University-Chicago, Biology and Sustainability)
Ben Urmson, SJ (Cincinnati Jesuit Community)
Edward VanBuren (Fordham, Environmental Sciences)
Mary Ann Vinton (Creighton, Biology)
Pedro Walpole, SJ, (Coordinator, Ecojesuit)
Stephen Zavestoski (USF, Environmental Studies)
Dana Zartner (University of San Francisco, International and Comparative Law)