I am currently enrolled in the MSc ‘Integrative Ecosocial Design’ program with Gaia University. Gaia U is based on the principles of Transformative Action Learning, which is a pedagogy that emphasizes the student take their own initiative to engage in hands-on learning followed by application of the learning. I have grown and thrived in this environment of independent education within a set framework. The university framework is brand new, and still in it’s infancy. Gaia U can be seen as a life boat, as the course that we have charted for ourselves has not been charted before. This is exciting and scary at times. When part of a ‘normal’ University, your course is clearly charted for you, so that you know exactly what courses you need to take to satisfy which prerequisite, sometimes even a year ahead of time! With Gaia U, we are engaging in the application of permaculture knowledge, which demands of us to be open to rapidly accepting and applying feedback. This ‘rapid prototyping’ may or may not allow you to stick to plans that you had made a year in the past. Gaia U can be seen as a world-wide network of ecovillages and permaculture research institutes, working together to create a new form of education based on experiential learning and natural systems.
Here is an excerpt from their site:
“Gaia University was founded to contribute significantly to growing a coherent global worknet of action-learning, open professionals working in full-spectrum guilds as integrative ecosocial designers, facilitators, and managers who are leaderfully engaged in asupported, synergistic web of all-scale, all-quadrant projects designed for human transformation towards ecological regeneration and social justice.
A primary goal for Gaia University is to co-create, with myriad partners, a thriving ecosocial economy in which millions can make their livings independent of the current ecosocially destructive dominant culture. Additionally, Gaia University is working to support generators and keepers of both non-conventional and conventional knowledge focused on ecosocial regeneration.”