A new special journal issue on water education

Bill Dennison ·
12 April 2013
Environmental Literacy | 

A new special issue on Water Education for Sustainability in Higher Education in the Journal for Contemporary Water Research & Education was published, an outcome of a workshop organized by the International WaterCentre. The special issue is dedicated to Dr. Peter Oliver, an educator who passed away last November. The special issue includes a tribute to Peter and two papers (1, 2) that he and I co-authored. The workshop was held in Brisbane, Australia but Peter attended virtually from his home in Maleny, Australia due to his cancer treatment regimes. I recently was talking with Mark Pascoe, the International WaterCentre CEO about how effective Peter was as a virtual workshop attendee--his large sized personality effectively compensated for the distance.

Special edition
Water Education for Sustainability in Higher Education special edition.

The two papers that Peter and I co-authored on immersive education and popular education were my first foray in publication about education, rather than my previous publications on various scientific topics. As such, I was exposed in the workshop and in the manuscript preparation to a new world of scholarship about education. In the past, I have enjoyed learning new topics as I was involved in publications about seagrasses, corals, mangroves, macroalgae, phytoplankton, microbes, etc., but this foray into education was a bigger jump than the transition between these science topics. The value of reading books and papers about education was that I could a) assign names to various concepts, b) appreciate the depth of thought that educators have given to the topic, and c) realize that there were other academics who shared my views on educational principles.

The editors for the special issue were Drs. Bruce Missingham (Monash University) and Brian MacIntosh (International WaterCentre). I wrote the following to them: "THANK YOU for making this special issue so very special. The workshop organization was superb, the editing (and cajoling) quite sublime, the tribute you wrote to Peter was eloquent, and the final product is simply exquisite. The highest form of praise is that Peter would deeply appreciate your efforts, and marvel, as do I, at the splendid final product. My enduring gratitude to the two of you. Yours, Bill".

I especially enjoyed the other papers in the special issue, which range from developing a 'T-shaped' water professional (referring to achieving both subject breadth and subject depth), to field courses in the Mekong River basin, to the U.S. based Integrative Graduate Education, Research and Training (IGERT) program, to using remote sensing in education. Various types of education were invoked in the special issue: immersive, participatory, popular, field-based, and business education were all described. One of the things that I appreciate about this special issue is that it is open access, and PDF versions of the papers can be directly downloaded without charge.

I really enjoy projects that are pleasant experiences, working with good people that result in timely final products. This foray into education was exactly that sort of project and I'm glad to have had this experience.

About the author

Bill Dennison

Dr. Bill Dennison is a Professor of Marine Science and Vice President for Science Application at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES). Dr. Dennison’s primary mission within UMCES is to coordinate the Integration and Application Network.

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