Heather Burns, Ed.D. is an Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Leadership for Sustainability Education graduate program at Portland State University, as well as Coordinator of the Learning Gardens Laboratory, a garden-based education site.
Dr. Burns completed her doctorate in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Sustainability Education. Her master’s degree from Oregon State University combined Adult Education, Women Studies, and Communication Studies into an interdisciplinary degree focusing on social justice education abroad. Dr. Burns has over 20 years of experience as an administrator and instructor in higher education, and currently teaches courses on sustainability leadership, sustainability pedagogy, spiritual leadership, permaculture and whole systems design, and deep ecology. Dr. Burns also teaches an experiential travel course annually and has taught in Costa Rica, Cuba, Nicaragua, and the Pacific Northwest.
Dr. Burns’ research interests include sustainability pedagogy in higher education, sustainability leadership development, whole person development, and the roles of self-care and contemplative practices in higher education. Her scholarship focuses primarily on teaching sustainability in higher education, including the roles of spirituality, transformative learning, experiential learning, contemplative inquiry, and community-based learning in creating sustainable change.
Dr. Burns is also a former CSA farm owner, an avid urban gardener, a permaculture designer, and a devoted yogi. She has been rooted in the Pacific Northwest for over 25 years, after growing up as a third culture kid in Europe and West Africa.