Transformative Sustainability Pedagogies

Centring sustainability at the University of Toronto requires critiquing and re-imagining the ways that teaching and learning occurs in higher education. This JHI working group has brings together UT faculty, staff, and doctoral students from different programs, faculties and campuses to discuss and critically analyze the what and the how of teaching sustainability. Comparing and critiquing the development of pedagogy, we've explored transformative and intersectional approaches to sustainability teaching across the university. Through online webinars, in-person retreats, and lunch forums, the working group collaboratively engages with faculty, staff and doctoral student members in exploring transformative pedagogies to engage their students in cognitive, affective, and embodied forms of learning. Key to this is centering Indigenous worldviews and ‘Land as first teacher’ in sustainability teaching; when combined with transdisciplinary, equity-focused, and place-based education, transformative pedagogy provides learning that is relational, community-engaged, justice-forward, and action-oriented.


  • Michael Classens, A&S School of the Environment (Note: leadership is shared among all group members)
  • Hilary Inwood, (Lecturer) OISE Curriculum, Teaching & Learning
  • Liat Margolis, Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape & Design
  • Nicole Spiegelaar, School of the Environment and Trinity College Sustainability Initiative
  • Sarah Urquhart, Ph.D. student, OISE Curriculum, Teaching & Learning


Faculty, University of Toronto

  • Alexandra Rahr, The Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy
  • Mairi McKenna-Edwards, Staff, OISE Coordinator of Diversity, Equity, and Student Experience
  • Ayako Ariga, Staff, Committee on the Environment, Climate Change, and Sustainability

Graduate Students, University of Toronto

  • Tien Pham, PhD Student, OISE Leadership, Higher & Adult Education
  • Alysse Kennedy, PhD Candidate, OISE Curriculum, Teaching & Learning
  • Maria Vamvalis, PhD Candidate, OISE Curriculum, Teaching & Learning