Term of Award

Fall 2013

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)


Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Dr John Weaver

Committee Member 1

Dan Chapman

Committee Member 2

Bob Lake

Committee Member 3

Laura Meitzner Yoder

Committee Member 3 Email



Research suggests that issues of environmental justice are not being routinely included in the curriculum of the K-12 classroom and that teachers in those grades do not feel prepared to teach it. Likewise, little has been written about the addition of these topics to higher education coursework, leaving the question of inclusion at this level of education as well. This apparent lacuna may point to at least one reason why K-12 teachers are neither knowledgeable about environmental justice nor prepared to teach it. To discover the current state of inclusion in higher education, a mixed methods study was conducted to determine the knowledge, attitudes and practices of those teaching in one segment of higher education—namely all BA/BS granting undergraduate programs of environmental science and/or environmental studies within the United States. The results from this study suggest that while those teaching in these departments can provide a general description of what environmental justice is, there is much confusion and little agreement about exactly what it encompasses, who it affects, its causes and its solutions. However, responses do indicate that a sizable number of those teaching in these departments believe that environmental justice is an important topic which students should know about. Acting on that belief, most report that they do include environmental justice at some level in courses where the topic fits.