Attending to Transformation
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“Transformative learning is not a linear process, yet there is some progression to it, perhaps spiral-like” (Cranton, 2000). This concept poster represents my “spiral-like” educational sustainability learning journey over the past year—a journey that began with a fairly narrow and mechanistic perspective on the field. This limited view was quickly replaced by a much broader picture of education for sustainability, one populated by a vast array of interconnected economic, environmental, and social themes. A second bend in the journey introduced complexity theory and a systems view of life, replacing cause-and-effect analysis with an appreciation for context and connection. From there, the program shifted focus from learning about complexity and ways to foster change to engaging with the existential reality that change is emergent, irrespective of our actions. With the backdrop of a global pandemic and social upheaval driven by racial injustice in my city, Minneapolis-St. Paul, I enter year 2 with questions about how higher education can equip learners to navigate change in the world, whether benefits can transfer to the wider world if we succeed in building equity in higher education, and what the sustainable impact might be if we can truly see, name, and intentionally nurture the unique gifts of each of our students.