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Jay Roberts
American Council on Education Fellow; Professor of Education

Jay Roberts is serving as an American Council on Education Fellow for the 2019-20 academic year. When I teach, I contribute courses to the Environmental Studies program here at Earlham. I have also led several off-campus study programs including Southwest Field Studies (2003), New Zealand (2008; 2011), as well as several different May terms. I am a Teagle Pedagogy Fellow with the Great Lakes College Association and currently serve on the editorial board of the Journal of Experiential Education.

Of Earlham, Jay says, “From the focus on innovative and adventurous teaching and learning to the Quaker values of peace, social justice, integrity, and community, this is a school that takes its mission seriously and strives to live up to it everyday.”

Jay's scholarship is featured at his blog — http://jaywroberts.com.

Contact Info

Campus Mail
Drawer 87



233 Landrum Bolling Center

Office Hours
By appointment

Website Link


  • Education


  • Ph.D., Miami University, Oxford
  • M.Ed., University of Virginia
  • B.A., Lawrence University

Selected Courses:

EDUC 120 Foundations of Education  — Surveys sociological, philosophical, and historical perspectives on American public education with a particular focus on issues of race, class, culture, and power.

ENST/EDUC 320 Pedagogies of Place  — Explores various conceptualizations of place in the context of environmentalism and environmental education, broadly defined.

ENST 240 Environment and Society  — The introductory course to the Environmental Studies major, this course covers many of the dominate themes and perspectives in the field with an emphasis on economic, political, anthropological, and philosophical themes.

ENST 488 Senior Seminar  — Prepares seniors in Environmental Studies for the capstone requirement including the Comprehensive Exam and the Integrated Research Project.


My scholarly interests center on the theory and practice of experiential education, place-based education, and environmental education. I am also interested in issues of sustainability — particularly in the context of higher education.

My research interests include the theory and practice of experiential education, place-based education, and education for sustainability. My recent publications include Experiential Education in the College Context: What it is, how it works, and why it matters (2015), Routeledge Press, Learning By Doing: Theoretical Currents in Experiential Education (2011), Routeledge Press, and a chapter in the 2013 book Teaching Sustainability in the Humanities and Social Sciences published by Texas A&M Press.


Roberts, Jay. Experiential Education in the College Context: What It Is, How It Works, And Why It Matters. NY: Routledge Press. 2015

Roberts, Jay. Beyond Learning By Doing: Theoretical Currents in Experiential Education. NY: Routledge Press. 2011

Book Chapters

Roberts, Jay. “The Campus and Community as a Learning Laboratory: Possibilities and Limitations,” in Teaching Sustainability: Perspectives from the Humanities and Social Sciences, Texas A & M Press. 2013

Roberts, Jay. “Beyond Learning By Doing: Experiential Education and Brain-Based Learning,” in The Theory and Practice of Experiential Education, Association for Experiential Education. 2008

Roberts, Jay. “Future Trends in Experiential Education: The Brain Compatible Approach.” Educational Psychology: Annual Editions.  Re-print, 2003, 2004.    

Juried Journals Articles

Roberts, Jay. “From Experience to Neo-Experientialism: Variations on a Theme.” Journal of Experiential Education, Fall 2008   

Roberts, Jay and Kathleen Knight-Abowitz. “The Fallacies of Flatness: A Review of Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat.” Journal of the Philosophy of Education, Spring 2008.   

Roberts, Jay. “Education, Eco-Progressivism, and the Nature of School Reform. Journal of Educational Studies. Spring 2006.   

Roberts, Jay. “Disney, Dewey, and the Death of Experience in Education.” Journal of Education and Culture. Fall 2005.   

Roberts, Jay. “Beyond Learning By Doing: The Brain Compatible Approach.” Journal of Experiential Education. Vol. 25 (2). Pgs. 281-286.     

Juried Conference Papers (Recent from 2007)  

“The Forgotten Love Affair: Romanticism and Experiential Education.” Symposium for Experiential Education Research (SEER), Association for Experiential Education International Conference. Jacksonville, FL, November 2011.   

“Experiencing Sustainability: Thinking Deeper About Experiential Education in Higher Education.” Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) International Conference. Pittsburgh, PA, October, 2011.    

“Lifting the Roots: The Concept of Experience in Environmental Education.” American Educational Research Association (AERA) National Conference. Denver, CO, April 2010.

“A Pedagogy of Place: Sustainability and Sense of Place in Higher Education.” Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) International Conference. Denver, CO, October, 2010.   

“It’s About More Than Just The Physical Plant: Why Greening The Curriculum in Higher Education Matters.” American Association for Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE): Greening of The Campus Conference, Indianapolis, IN, September 2009.    

“Do the Mountains Speak for Themselves? Variations of experience in outdoor and experiential education.” Ohio Valley Philosophy of Education Society, Dayton, OH, October 2007.   

Invited Addresses

2013 “The Live Encounter: The Importance of Experiential Education in Higher Education.” Bonner Foundation National Summer Conference, Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana.    

2013 “The Role of Experiential Education in the Modern University.” University of Northern British Columbia, Canada.    

2012 “Pedagogies of Place: Campus-Community Collaborations.” Selkirk College, B.C., Canada.    

2012 “The University of Nowhere: The Education of Place and the Place of Education in Sustainability Studies.” Lawrence University, Appleton, Wisconsin.   

2009 “Sustainability and Education: Why the future of our planet depends on what happens in our classrooms.” Public address sponsored by the Youth Initiative Program, Jarna, Sweden.    

2007 “Working the Faith: Friends, Higher Education, and the Question of Environmental Sustainability.” Plenary address to the Friends Association of Higher Education annual conference.  Richmond, Indiana.    

2006 “A Fragile and Incomplete Project: Experiential Education and Democratic Schooling in a Changing World.” Keynote address to the Rocky Mountain Regional Conference of the Association for Experiential Education, Carbondale, Colorado.

Association for Experiential Education (AEE)
Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)
American Association of Colleges and Universities (AACU)

Earlham is a place that resonates with my values — both as a teacher and as a Quaker. While many small, liberal arts schools claim distinctiveness, Earlham is truly a special school. From the focus on innovative and adventurous teaching and learning to the Quaker values of peace, social justice, integrity, and community, this is a school that takes its mission seriously and strives to live up to it everyday.

I have led off-campus programs to the desert Southwest of the United States and Mexico, to remote wilderness areas of Northern Ontario, and to New Zealand. One memorable experience involved living through the 2011 Christchurch earthquake in New Zealand with 18 students in tow. The students were all at internship sites the afternoon of the earthquake and it was a long 2 hours before we were able to find out that everyone made it out of the city safely. 180 people died that day. We were stuck without water, electricity, or phones for almost three days and, with aftershocks happening almost every hour, it was a very scary time. But, it was also a humbling reminder of the power of this planet and the insignificance of much of human activity. I remember several of our students rushing out to help after the event — two students cleaned up a local shop, one student gave away her shoes to a complete stranger, and another stayed with the school kids she was interning with to make sure they got out of the city safely. I like to think that is an Earlham student in a nutshell — someone who cares enough to pay attention and notice the needs of a community and then strives boldly to fill the void.

I enjoy a wide range of outdoor-related activity including fishing, backpacking, skiing, and wilderness canoeing. I tend a home garden which keeps me busy throughout the growing months and I've just started raising chickens which is far more entertaining than I could have possibly imagined.

Beyond that, most of my time is spent with my wife and two wonderful daughters. We also attend First Friends Meeting —  a Quaker church here in town.

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