Keystone logo
© Penn State Great Valley
Gaia University

Gaia University

Gaia University


Gaia University is a university without walls, a university across borders, an un-institution intent on fostering a zestful, purposeful, global community of thoughtful learners and unlearners focused on ecological regeneration and social justice. We start from the perspective that it is your life, your passions, your projects, your vision – and the rapidly changing contexts in which they are emerging – that best give rise to what you need to learn and how you need to learn it.

Gaia University offers a unique and flexible model for learning and unlearning based on self-directed, project-based pathways. With a minimum of required courses set by us, you devote the major part of your energy towards the design, implementation, and documentation of real-world projects. We provide a multidimensional support web of advisors and mentors who assist you in the practical development of your projects and encourage you to develop your capacity to think critically about your work and inner processes.

Our approach emphasizes a balanced flow of action and theory – learning by doing merged with learning by thinking (praxis). We require you to participate in several online courses in the first year of your program, but the majority of your work-study will unfold beyond the classroom.

You will grow as an agile, self and world-transforming action learner, becoming increasingly competent at taking appropriate action – an action that serves both your own ideas and the needs of your community. Simultaneously, you will be unlearning dysfunctional patterns of thinking that hold you back from doing your best work. You will also become an active member of our progressive mutual learning-and-teaching community, which encourages you to be connected and collaborative during and beyond the duration of your program.

As we invite you with open arms, we also advise you to approach Gaia University with true clarity of intention. Working with us involves risk-taking and a willingness to be out at the edge. The route to functioning effectively with liberated intelligence involves episodes of deep and demanding transition. For this, you will need to actively engage with the support web we provide and also invest your own time and energy in the greater worknet by learning how to be a true ally to others. You will need the courage to see how power and privilege shape your life and the world around you, and the stamina to deconstruct belief-structures, often invisible, that constrict your creativity and power.

We are not a school that grooms you for jobs in the corporate marketplace. You join us because you expect to make a living engaged with projects that you know are needed on the planet right now. As a Gaia University associate, you will learn how to identify leverage points for effective leadership and action and develop a wide range of skill-flexes in project design and management. These are much sought-after abilities in the job market today, and the evidence that you have developed these skills to a high degree will be visible in the in-depth documentation of your projects that constitutes your Gaia University ePortfolio. Like the graduates who have gone before you, you will emerge from your program with clear ideas about ways you can contribute to the diverse and inspiring global wordnet of innovative non-profits, micro-enterprises, and community development projects focused on positive ecological and social change.

We have cheerfully come to see that we ought not to misplace our hopes in current, mainstream educational institutions. These generally lack the agility to meet the ecological and social challenges facing our world today with anything like the speed and creativity required. For this reason, we have intentionally created Gaia University with rapid growth, a mycelial-like organizational design intended to increase strategic coherence on the transitionary edge. This fertile, juicy edge is where we are ready to meet you. Come and join us.


  • Minneapolis

    University Avenue Southeast,1219, 55414, Minneapolis