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June 17, 2014
Contact: Kevin Coburn
Phone: 802-287-8926

Green Mountain College Introduces New Online Graduate Program Aimed at Building Resilient, Sustainable Communities

POULTNEY— Green Mountain College announced today that it will offer the nation’s first online Master of Science degree in Resilient and Sustainable Communities (MRSC). This two-year program, accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), will begin in February 2015 with a residency featuring Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and climate-change activist.

“If we have one need on this planet, it's for resilient and sustainable communities,”said McKibben, “so it's good someone is thinking hard about how the heck to build them!”

This program adopts GMC’s groundbreaking bioregional approach to distance learning, in which students apply what they learn in each course to their local communities. MRSC students will learn about land-use planning, economic development, energy production, food systems, and resource management, while developing skills in leadership, group organization and conflict resolution.

“Communities around the world are already rethinking their approaches to energy, food, transportation and governance,” said Dr. Laird Christensen, MRSC program director. “Our graduates can help their own communities adapt to conditions brought about by climate change, depletion of fossil fuels, and a growing inequality in wealth and access to resources.”

As in the College’s other online graduate programs, students complete their coursework at times that best fit their personal and professional lives. Because class sizes are small, students experience meaningful interactions with their classmates and individual attention from instructors. MRSC faculty members are nationally known as leaders in their fields and have in-depth experience as teachers, researchers and practitioners. Collectively they provide a broad interdisciplinary education that combines economics, sustainable business, ecology and public policy. The program prepares students for a rapidly expanding range of careers in resiliency planning, community development, energy production, municipal agencies, businesses, and nonprofit organizations.

“The MRSC program is comprehensive and well thought out,” said Richard Heinberg, Senior Fellow at the Post Carbon Institute and the author of eleven books on energy and climate change. “Rather than being just another generic sustainability program, it provides a systemic context for understanding the modern world's environmental crises, and offers practical skills--such as an elective in Emergency Management and Communication--to prepare students for the challenges we will face in an energy-constrained, climate-disrupted world. Anyone wanting to build a sustainable and resilient community would do well to start here.”

A national leader in sustainability education, Green Mountain College began offering online degrees in 2006. Over 260 graduate students are currently earning degrees in the College's suite of programs including the Sustainable MBA, MS in Environmental Studies, and MS in Sustainable Food Systems. For information on the MRSC program, visit here.

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