Secondary teachers invited to apply for summer sustainability fellowship

May 29, 2020
Written By:
Laurel Thomas

ANN ARBOR—Empowering future generations to champion sustainability issues is at the heart of a fellowship program open to middle- and high-school teachers.

The Dow Innovation Teacher Fellowship is currently accepting applications from educators of all disciplines who are interested in teaching about sustainability. Applicants must teach in Michigan’s Arenac, Bay, Gratiot, Isabella, Midland and Saginaw counties to be eligible.

The fellowship is the first program of the Andrew N. Liveris Institute, a partnership among the University of Michigan School of Education’s Center for Education Design, Evaluation, and Research, the Dow Company Foundation and Delta College.

The professional development for this fellowship has shifted to an interactive virtual model this summer to ensure the safety and comfort of its participants. This will include a self-paced three-week learning module that will kick off the week of Aug. 3. Support for fellows will continue throughout the school year, with the hope of some in-person opportunities as public health guidelines allow.

As an interdisciplinary topic, sustainability has clear connections to STEM, civics, economics, communications, literature and other areas, program leaders say. The fellowship supports teachers across content areas in designing and engaging students in a place-based sustainability-focused unit.

“The students want to know what they can do to impact the future and if we don’t teach them what to do now, then they are going to give up,” said Katie Bryant, 2019 fellow from the inaugural group who is a middle school teacher from the Saginaw County Community School District. “So, we have to catch them now while they have this desire to help the environment, and this program is going to help us teach our students how to do that.”

The fellowship includes networking opportunities with community partners, personalized curriculum design support and access to curated sustainability education resources.

“Our goal with this fellowship is to empower change-makers for a better world, and we need that now more than ever,” said DITF program coordinator Emily Schaller. “The pandemic will impact this upcoming school year in ways that are still unknown. We seek to support teachers who want to engage their students in relevant, real-world issues as they adapt to a new normal.”

Individuals and interdisciplinary teams from within the same school are welcome to apply. All participants receive a $2,000 stipend and mini-grant opportunities to support sustainability unit implementation in the classroom.

“We’re going to give students an opportunity to really become passionate about the outdoors, about sustainability, about their environment and about their community,” said Nate Phipps, managing director of CEDER.

Applications are due June 21, 2020. To learn more about this opportunity and apply, visit