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Rajul Pandya joins Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College to lead Global Futures Education Lab


Headshot of Rajul (Raj) Pandya

Rajul “Raj” Pandya has joined Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. Photo by Beth Bagley/American Geophysical Union

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February 26, 2024

Rajul “Raj” Pandya has joined Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College as the Fulton Presidential Professor of Practice and executive director of the Global Futures Education Lab.

Before coming to ASU, Pandya served as the vice president of community science and founding director of the Thriving Earth Exchange at the American Geophysical Union. 

Educated as a physicist and atmospheric scientist, Pandya brings a history of working effectively at the intersection of science, education and community partnerships to advance understanding of the scientific and social dimensions of sustainability. His work has focused on how the sciences can be more participatory and how community participation contributes to scientific innovation and societal relevance.

“Raj brings a heady combination of scientific expertise, educational knowledge and a real sophistication in developing enduring partnerships with educational and community organizations,” said Carole Basile, dean of Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. “As we think about what a college of education can and should be, one of the things we know we need to emphasize is how educators and educational institutions can cultivate sustainable futures. Raj’s work will be part of that.”  

Pandya said, “I’m thrilled to join a university that understands the urgency, ubiquity and opportunity of sustainability challenges. With the Global Futures Education Lab, we will work with educators and community organizations to build a future of shared sustainability in which people, communities and nature thrive together in natural and built environments and in physical and social ecosystems.”

He is meeting with people across ASU whose work addresses sustainability, and a primary goal of the lab is to work with the vast network of scientists and scholars at the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory to build robust educational systems, create resources, offer opportunities and nurture sustainability leaders.

“There’s an amazing richness of people and knowledge here driven by a desire to serve all communities,” he said. “Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College brings expertise in education; the Global Futures Laboratory brings expertise in sustainability and planetary wellness. We need the expertise from both to do sustainability education.”

Pandya's vision for the Global Futures Education Lab includes a number of activities: 

  • Working with community-based organizations and local governments and connecting them to educators and education systems committed to shared sustainability.
  • Connecting educators and education systems to the communities they serve through collaborative practices that advance shared sustainability.
  • Developing teaching and learning resources that advance shared sustainability.
  • Equipping educators, learners and learning systems with those resources.
  • Preparing educators to incorporate shared sustainability resources and community engagement into their work.

“The work of the Global Futures Education Lab will engage ASU students and faculty,” said Pandya. “It will also reach children and youth in schools and other youth-serving organizations. We’re not placing any boundaries on who we might work with or what challenges we might tackle.”

Pandya noted that ASU’s design aspirations encourage and enable such ambition. 

“In my experience, how we enter into this kind of work is crucial. So I think we will foreground the design aspiration of Principled Innovation. To me, that is a reminder about how we need to work,” he said.

“We take the time to listen, we build good teams, and we respect the knowledge, skills and perspectives that all individuals and organizations bring to the work. We leverage ASU’s convening power to bring people, organizations and communities together to define and achieve shared sustainability goals. We value imagination, research, experience, clear goals and concrete outcomes.”

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