Cultivating Sustainability Praxis on a Campus Farm

Grant A. Fore, Indiana University—Purdue University Indianapolis
Brandon H. Sorge, Indiana University—Purdue University Indianapolis
Francesca A. Williamson, University of Michigan Medical School
Julia L. Angstmann, Butler University


This mixed methods study investigates student learning outcomes from undergraduate STEM and non-STEM courses, employing farm-situated place-based experiential learning (PBEL) modules at a private liberal arts university in the Midwest. Given that these courses occurred during both COVID-19 and U.S. police brutality protests, this study critically interrogates the influence of this “dual pandemic” on student meaning-making. The study examines how student scores on environmental science literacy, civic-mindedness, sense of place, and scientific reasoning measures changed throughout the PBEL courses. With the exception of scientific reasoning, change in each measure was statistically significant (p<0.001). A stepwise linear regression determined whether any measures predicted civic-mindedness. Environmental science literacy and university place attachment were found to be predictive of civic-mindedness. Focus group data revealed how PBEL modules affected student learning outcomes and how the dual pandemic affected student civic-mindedness and place attachment.

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