General Education Information

Social ecology is a interdisciplinary field, drawing on philosophy, political and social theory, anthropology, history, economics, the natural sciences, and feminism. For an overview of the Institute’s educational projects over the years, see “About the ISE” and our History pages.

Social ecology advocates a reconstructive approach to social and environmental issues, and promotes a directly democratic, confederal politics. As a body of ideas, social ecology envisions a moral economy that moves beyond scarcity and hierarchy, toward a world that reharmonizes human communities with the natural world, while celebrating diversity, creativity and freedom.

The Institute offers a wide variety of educational programs inlcuding online courses, social ecology Intensives, and an annual gathering in Vermont, and a range of other events.  Most of our online courses can also be taken for credit through partnerships with Castleton University and Goddard College –  a list of our course offerings can be found here.


The mission of the Institute for Social Ecology (ISE) is the creation of educational experiences that enhance people’s understanding of their relationship to the natural world and each other. By necessity, this involves the ISE in activities that deepen students’ awareness of self and others, help them to think critically, and expand their perception of the creative potentialities for human action. The purpose of the ISE’s activities is the preparation of well-rounded individuals who can work effectively as participants in the process of ecological reconstruction.

An in-depth overview of the many facets of social ecology can be obtained by reviewing our article archives.