Educator

 LVG and Zoe and unicorn tapestry revised


Leslie has been an educator for over thirty years. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Michigan with a degree in English Literature, has a Master’s degree in Literature (with emphasis in Native American Studies) from the College of New Jersey and a Ph.D. in Place Studies and Experiential Education from Union Institute and University, where she received the Sussman Award for  Outstanding Dissertation in 2002. 


Beginning her career teaching environmental education in outport communities in rural Newfoundland, Labrador, and the Quebec Lower North Shore, she later taught high school English for 8 years in New Jersey where she was a Governor’s Teaching Scholar. In 1998 she left classroom teaching to found Road Scholars, an experiential education program for college aged students founded on principles of Place-oriented cultures. Later she co-directed the Oxford Institute for Science and Spirit, where she taught online and travel experience courses focused on the relationship between engagement with the natural world and spirituality. 


In 2002 she joined the faculty of education at Walden University. From 2004-2012 she served in a variety of senior roles, from Faculty Chair for Faculty Mentoring to Program Director of Middle Level, Educational Leadership, and Adult Education. She has written curriculum, designed faculty development and mentoring programs, engaged in program assessment, and helped in strategic planning for scaling growth with quality for large online university, playing critical roles in accreditation processes. She has special expertise in faculty development, especially in the area of building community across diverse geographies, as well as strength in curriculum design and development. 


She has been a mentor and dissertation advisor to Ph.D. students in the Ph.D. Program of the Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership since 2004. 


Her research in education emphasizes faculty perception in assessment, spirituality in experiential education, and bridging the gaps between academia and community engagement in positive social change. 


She has been the recipient of a Walden Faculty Excellence Grant, a Faculty Research Initiative Grant, and a co-recipient of a Wenner-Gren Foundation Grant for a symposium on Children in Archaeology. 


Since 2005, she has co-hosted the Roundstone Conversation on Place and Story in Roundstone, Ireland, a gathering of writers, artists, linguists, architects, anthropologists, and archaeologists interested in the dynamic creative spaces to be found at the intersection of Place and Story. 


© Leslie Van Gelder 2017