Emergent Studies Institute

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About Us

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“Whatever an education is, it should make you a unique individual, not a conformist; it should furnish you with an original spirit with which to tackle the big challenges; it should allow you to find values which will be your road map through life; it should make you spiritually rich, a person who loves whatever you are doing, wherever you are, whomever you are with; it should teach you what is important, how to live and how to die.”  
– John Taylor Gatto, Innovative Educator

We embrace the concept of Emergent Education, in the virtual classroom, to activate imaginations and engage in transformation.

This approach is a beautiful alternative to the patriarchal structure currently used in public education which emphasizes over-reliance on linear thinking and pre-determines learning outcomes identified by ‘experts’ outside the classroom. Standard learning outcomes in the mainstream paradigm are established before students walk in the door regardless of their skills, backgrounds, or interests. At ESI, we utilize Emergent Curriculum which relies on experts inside the classroom and educational organization to create courses that are relevant and powerful. We encourage and cultivate each teacher’s individual creativity, foster community co-creation, and emphasize attentiveness to individual learners. Emergent curriculum activates teacher creativity and student learning for the benefit of all.

We believe both academic and practical training is built upon participants’ connection with Spirit.  It is this universal spirituality that connects us with ourselves and everyone around us. We all walk upon the path of Spirit, and just as the nautilus shell represents the soul’s journey, so do our graduates emerge with the understanding and commitment to build bridges in an ever-changing world.

Educational programs may include explorations into sustainability (permaculture, ecological housing, human animal relationships), youth projects, community arts projects, women’s and men’s spirituality, creativity and innovation, and much more. Our programs are designed to be in touch with the needs of students’ local communities, as well as recognizing our connection to a greater global society.

John Taylor Gatto, NY State Teacher of the Year for three years in a row…

He asked faculty: “What would you like to teach?”

He asked students: “What would you like to learn?”  

The answers have helped to shape ESI beyond the initial vision of its founders and continue to provide information and guidance in designing our certification programs and enrichment courses.

Emergent Studies Institute prides itself on assisting students in planning a schedule based on individual life needs. There are many reasons why someone might take one of our courses. Here are just a few of the reasons that someone might take a course or obtain a certificate from ESI:

  • Spiritual Growth
  • Academic Development
  • Professional Development
  • Personal Enrichment
  • Team Building
  • Creativity and Innovation

No matter the reason, Emergent Studies Institute is here to talk with you about your future and gear your coursework to your needs. Even our classes can be fluid, changing slightly based on the students who are enrolled. Because we use Emergent Curriculum, our courses allow teachers, as well as students, to excel at what they are best at and learn at the pace that is most comfortable and appropriate.

Enrichment Courses:

Our enrichment courses at ESI are similar to elective courses taught at colleges and universities. Anyone can attend them, and they are designed to be both enlightening and not too academically rigorous. Even though our amazing faculty hold Masters and Doctoral degrees, they approach these courses with the beginner or like-minded individual in mind. If you do decide to apply to our certificate programs, you can use these courses to complete your certificate plan, but you do not need to apply for our certificate program to take these courses.

Certificate Program:

ESI will be offering Certificates for Emergent Spirituality and Emergent Studies, with additional plans to develop certificate tracks such as Creativity & Innovation, Eco-Sustainability, and Holistic Healing. Certificate students will be allowed to design their own program to meet their needs and use an Emergent Education model. The Emergent Studies certificate for instance may be the right one for you because you want a very rounded certificate program encompassing creativity, spirituality and meditative studies. This trans-disciplinary certificate allows you to hone in on what your life needs are and meet your personal goals while you are in the program. You could choose the Emergent Spirituality certificate, on the other hand, because you want to specialize studying diverse spiritual practices, experience a spiritual deepening, and serve your community as a spiritual attendant. Certificate Programs require up to four enrichment courses before you will complete your plan, so while these programs are being created, please enjoy one of our Enrichment Courses.


Our intensives are open to the general public as well as a requirement for Certificate Program students once a year. Intensives will be held in Austin, TX every Spring and alternate locations every Fall. Locations could be places such as Mt. Shasta, CA, Sedona, AZ, Asheville, NC, or Corpus Christi, TX. Stay tuned for more information in the coming months about intensive locations and themes!

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Visit one of our department links to find out more about the topics that we are currently covering and the potential Certificate Program that you might be interested in.



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