Stacy Hoult-Saros was raised on a small farm in Illinois. She says, “Though I have moved around a lot since then, I never lost my connection with animals and nature.”

A graduate of IHE’s graduate certificate program, Stacy studied languages in college and received a Ph.D. in Romance Languages from The University of Chicago. Currently Stacy teaches Spanish and chairs the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at Valparaiso University. She lives in Valparaiso with her husband, son, and two cats.

We asked Stacy to share about her work for a better world.

IHE: What led you to the path of humane education?

SHS: My interest in animal welfare got me on a lot of e-mail lists, and one message I received a few times convinced me to take Teaching for a Positive Future a few years ago. That experience led to my decision to work towards the graduate certificate in Humane Education, which I completed this past summer.

IHE: Share how you’re currently manifesting humane education/changemaking.

SHS: My forthcoming book, The Mythology of the Animal Farm in Children’s Literature: Over the Fence, investigates the stories we tell our children about the lives of farmed animals. I also incorporate humane education principles and activities into my courses in Spanish.

IHE: Share a success story.

 SHS: This semester I taught a seminar called Nature and Culture in the Hispanic World, in which I used themes and activities gleaned from my humane ed coursework. In our senior assessment exit interview, students expressed that they very much enjoyed the focus of the course.

IHE: What are some of the benefits and challenges particular to bringing humane education to a higher education setting?

SHS: There is a lack of understanding of what humane education is and what it can bring to teaching and learning across all levels and disciplines. We become so caught up in trying to cover large amounts of content and teaching important skills like writing and information fluency; it can be hard to step back and rethink a course in a way that encourages solutionary thinking.

IHE: What are your future plans for your humane education/changemaking work?

SHS: I will continue to take the lead on the Valpo Colloquium on Humane Education and to transform my teaching using what I learned in the graduate humane education classes. I will also seek to write, present, and publish more on humane education topics.

IHE: What would you say to others interested in IHE’s graduate programs?

SHS: As a classroom educator and as a writer/scholar, I have found all of the core courses to be not only interesting and inspiring, but also incredibly useful and practical for what I do every day. I highly recommend taking one of the six-week online courses to discover what humane education can offer, no matter how you hope to use what you’ve learned.