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Over the last few months, I've been working with Citizens' Climate Lobby to bring their 9th annual regional conference to Xavier's campus. The effort includes a bunch of volunteers as well as Xavier's own Director of Sustainability, the indefatigable Helena Robinson.

Strictly speaking, this is not a CAT+FD event. It's not traditional faculty development. Yet the climate crisis is something that affects every one of us. It affects our students most of all, since they will see more pronounced effects in their lifetimes — as compared to those (like me) who were born way back in the 20th century.

There are many ways to get active in the movement for climate action. This conference is one way. I do hope you'll consider learning more on the registration site.

CAT+FD will present opportunities to address climate and sustainability in your teaching in the near future.

The World-Wide Teach-In is underway now, and we're doing our part here at Xavier University of Louisiana. A number of professors already have or soon will MakeClimateAClass.

Thanks to Helena Robinson, Director of Sustainability, for helping to spread the news with this graphic.

There's still time to participate in the teach-in this year. See Bard College for details.

Did we miss anyone? Did you #MakeClimateAClass? Let us know!

Yes yes yes we know this semester is crazy! But we just wanted to ask you to save the date now for something very interesting next semester.

Here's what's up:

As part of the Worldwide Teach-In on Climate and Justice, we invite you to "Make Climate a Class" on just one day in the spring semester.

This means you would devote a short portion of your regular class time to a discussion of how your field contributes to the understanding of climate change, climate solutions, or climate justice.

It doesn't matter if your class has nothing to do with the climate crisis. In fact, that's so much the better. The idea to reach as many students as possible, all around the world.

Tell students you are taking a short diversion into climate as part of the Worldwide Teach-in. Then for 15 minutes, introduce an example of how your discipline is thinking about climate change. Then have a 15-minute presentation from an alumnus or other professional who is actually working on climate change in your field. Thirty minutes, DONE.

We'll be posting more information in December. For now, we're just planting the seed. We urge you to save the date now. Mark it on your calendar on or around March 29th, 2023. If past experience is any indicator, next semester could be even crazier, so any dates not saved may well be lost in the shuffle.

PS: We'll be using this hashtag:

We're all concerned about the climate. That concern can be wearing, to say the least. Many young people now suffer from climate anxiety, and some climate organizers are “burning out.”

After the year we've had, this might sound all too familiar.

We need to encourage young people, activists, and teachers of all ages to nourish themselves. As a community, we need to offer support to each other, to give each other permission to slow down and engage in self-care.

Often we try to do too much in too short a time, rather than pacing ourselves for the lifetime mission to which we are called.

And so, on the second Thursday of May, we invite you to do nothing — for the climate!

What’s that mean? Well, the accentuation is actually on the nothing. In other words, this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do anything for the climate (i.e. give up for a day). Rather, for one day, we should intentionally do nothing for the climate. The climate needs us to do more nothing—as it is our pursuit of growth and more, more, more (whether profit, stuff, or children) that is at the heart of our sustainability crisis.

How you do nothing is up to you, but we suggest taking a day away from the fight, away from emails, from work, from school; from the news, from TV shows, movies, and definitely social media. We suggest keeping your devices off completely if you can, and — if you can take a personal day, a mental health day, a vacation day — take one.

Make it a day for relaxing, chilling, nourishing your soul, and reconnecting to the ineffable spirit of being.

To learn more and sign the “Do Nothing” pledge, see

A conversation between Dan Fiscus (Research Alliance for Regenerative Economics) and Bart Everson (CAT+FD) on teaching, learning, and regrounding science in values.

Dr. Dan Fiscus is an ecologist, food system researcher and sustainability scientist with the Research Alliance for Regenerative Economics. He has written and co-written scientific articles in soil ecology, ecosystem ecology, theoretical ecology, and regenerative economics. He has co-written two books in sustainability including Foundations for Sustainability: A Coherent Framework of Life–Environment Relations (2018). From 2007 to 2012, he was assistant professor in the Biology Department at Frostburg State University (FSU) where he taught and did research in forest ecology and sustainability. From 2012 to 2016, he served as Sustainability Liaison with FSU, led the creation of the President’s Advisory Council for Sustainability, and advised students who created the Student Sustainability Fee. A co-founder and elected member of the Western Maryland Food Council (WMFC), he served as Council Coordinator 2019 to 2020. With WMFC, Dan helped convene annual regional food system conferences and enlist interdisciplinary partners collaborating for food system change in Western Maryland. For fun Dan likes playing ultimate and soccer, hiking, folk music, poetry, composting and time with family.


Bart Everson is a media artist and creative generalist at Xavier University's Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development. His recent work draws on integrative learning, activism, critical perspectives on technology, and Earth-based spiritual paths.

Links for this episode:

...continue reading "Conversation #101: Dan Fiscus on Regrounding Science"

A conversation between Brannon Andersen (Furman University) and Bart Everson (CAT+FD) on teaching, learning, problems facing humanity, and the "rapidly emerging transdisciplinary endeavour" of Earth System Science.
photo of Brannon Anderson

Dr. Brannon Andersen came to Furman in 1994 after completing his Ph.D. at Syracuse University, where he also was a senior geochemist studying leachate mitigation as part of the closure of the Freshkills Landfill on Staten Island, NY. He is trained in geology but has morphed into an environmental scientist with a focus on biogeochemistry and sustainability science. Dr. Andersen believes in the transformative impact of undergraduate research experiences and has co-authored over 110 abstracts with undergraduate students that were presented at regional and national professional meetings. He has also published over 28 journal articles/book chapters and has been awarded over $2 million in external grants.  Dr. Andersen was profiled in Science Trends in 2017.


Bart Everson is a media artist and creative generalist at Xavier University's Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development. His recent work draws on integrative learning, activism, critical perspectives on technology, and Earth-based spiritual paths.

Links for this episode:

...continue reading "Conversation #97: Brannon Andersen on Earth Education"

Download Conversation #55

Follow the ArrowA change from our ordinary conversational format, this episode features a montage of commentary recorded in the spring of 2015 under the auspices of Dr. Megan Osterbur. We asked two questions: What does sustainability means to you? What can Xavier do to be more sustainable? Answers come mainly from students and staff. The closing thought comes from Dr. Kimberly Chandler.

...continue reading "Conversation #55: Sustainability at Xavier"


Last fall, Xavier faculty member Dr. Mark Gstohl, of the Department of Theology, led an interesting service-learning project in partnership with A Studio in the Woods, a nonprofit artist retreat and learning center located in New Orleans. Working with artist Jacqueline Ehle Inglefield as part of a residency series called "Flint and Steel: Cross-disciplinary Combustion," the two built a shrine to the bottomland hardwood forrest, the purpose of which was to "reignite a reverence for nature." To link thematically with Dr. Gstohl's Comparative Religion class, the shrine referenced religious scriptures and past spiritual practices. The shire was meant to "encourage contemplation of the global impact of habitual consumption and waste and how our spiritual relationship with the natural world may influence our individual acts and determine our collective impact on our environment."

For their part, Dr. Gstohl's students created handouts and posters detailing how various religions approach environmental issues, and presented their research at A Studio in the Woods' "Forestival" last November. The shrine also was displayed at Xavier's Art Village. Thus, this project engaged students with the community on several levels, artistic and environmental, fostered awareness of environmental issues in the community, and contributed to the creation of public art, which nourishes the spirit of the community. The project provided an invaluable cultural experience for the students, introducing them to intersections of art, public space, and environmental justice, while immersing them in theological history, demonstrating the ability of service-learning to achieve unique academic and civic outcomes.


The "Flint and Steel" residencies, designed by Tulane, who manages A Studio in the Woods, seek to link artists with invested academic partners to "inspire each other in the development of new work, to excite the public, and to fuel social change. creative discourse." The residencies align with the larger purpose of A Studio in the Woods to pair "land preservation with intimate artist residencies centered on environmental challenges and connecting artists to the local community." Originally purchased in 1968, the site, in a remote wooded area in the very eastern corner of New Orleans' "west bank" of the Mississippi River, evolved organically from a site of wetlands preservation to a tranquil artist retreat, where "artists can reconnect with universal creative energy and work uninterrupted within this natural sanctuary."


Dr. Gstohl serves as Head of Xavier's Department of Theology, and has served previously as Faculty-in-Residence for service-learning, and as Fellow in Xavier's Freshman Seminar program, where his passion for social justice and commitment to Xavier's mission have greatly benefitted the Xavier and New Orleans communities, as exhibited through service-learning projects such as this one.

-Jeremy Tuman

*Quoted text is from materials published by A Studio in the Woods and by Dr. Gstohl.

We are pleased to announce that the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development has been honored with a grant from Bringing Theory to Practice. The grant will support a one-day seminar on "Well-Being & Sustainability at Xavier," which is planned for Saturday, 23 January 2016, 9:30AM-2:30PM in the Mellon Seminar Room (Library 532B). Please mark your calendars.

We didn't do it alone! This grant proposal was a team effort in collaboration with diverse campus constituencies, including the Mellon Faculty Community of Teaching­ Scholars Fellows, the Xavier Contemplative Inquiry Team, Academic Affairs, Student Services, the Department of Public Health Sciences, the Counseling & Wellness Center, and Campus Ministry.

For more information, please see our wiki.

Photo by Chase Clow

Here's a workshop/retreat for which combines two current CAT themes: contemplative pedagogy and the quest for sustainability.

Contemplative Environmental Studies: Pedagogy for Self and Planet
July 26 - August 1, 2015 Location: Lama Foundation, San Cristobal, New Mexico

How can higher education best address global environmental challenges? How can we most meaningfully teach and research about environmental issues? How can we cultivate our inner lives through active engagement with environmental challenges?

This workshop explores the contribution of contemplative practices to scholarly inquiry and teaching in environmental studies. Through discussions with distinguished scholars, focused conversations among colleagues, artistic exercises, and regular contemplative practice (meditation, yoga, journaling, and nature walks), participants will investigate ways to deepen their teaching, research, and lives at this historic moment of environmental intensification.

Part workshop and part retreat, this 6-day summer institute provides an opportunity to step back from the frenetic pace of our lives, and cultivate our inner resources and nurture the resiliency we need as teachers committed to education on a fragile and wild planet.

Learn more

(Photo by Chase Clow)