The Great Work is a phrase that has been used for centuries to identify the dynamic, even mystical, contribution of a culture or individual towards the enlightenment of humanity for the greater good of the Earth community. Cultural historian, Thomas Berry in his 1999 book, The Great Work, proposed that the Great Work of our time is a response to the recognition that the ecological devastation we are witnessing is the result of human activity. He asserts that the task before us is to reinvent the human to become a gentle, and yet active presence on Earth.

Each of us begins this task by responding to what Cosmological philosopher, Brian Swimme, describes as “the allurements that beckon us, by following our passions and interests.” The Great Work involves aligning our personal sense of purpose with the larger creative dynamics of the Earth community.

Maria Montessori embeds the notion of cosmic task as the envelope for the future of education. This cosmic task is the intersection of one’s gifts with the needs of the Earth community. She declares, “As servants of the child, teachers can only help the great work that is being done. Doing so, they will be witness to the unfolding of the human soul and to the rising of a New Human who will not be the victim of events, but will have the clarity of vision to direct and shape the future of human society.”

The Institute for Educational Studies Master of Education program provides an opportunity for students to contextualize their own interests. It is an integrative-holistic approach that supports the transformative dimension of learning. In many ways it is essential to the Hero’s Journey as articulated by Joseph Campbell.

The TIES community approach to learning underscores Berry’s sense of commitment:

In reality there is a single integral community of the Earth that includes all its component members whether human or other than human. In this community every being has its own role to fulfill, its own dignity, its inner spontaneity. Every being has its own voice. Every being declares itself to the entire universe. Every being enters into communion with other beings. This capacity for relatedness, for presence to other beings, for spontaneity in action, is a capacity possessed by every mode of being throughout the entire universe.

~Thomas Berry

Monthly Dialogues with Phil Gang and Friends

Gang engages with kindred spirits to situate teaching and learning in the larger context necessary for shifting paradigms… one that embraces right-action and love. A group dialogue follows a 20-minute co-host inquiry.

Education 2000: A holistic Perspective

The seminal publication on the holistic education movement
free download

Book Release

Dr. Gang's book is set for April 2021 publication.

Title: Educating for Right-Action and Love: Context and Process of Integrative Learning

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education for the public


In addition to our two master’s degree programs in Integrative Learning and Montessori Integrative Learning, TIES organizes and hosts symposia which are open to the public and take place on our custom, online learning platform or in person.

Please sign up on this page to receive announcements of up-coming symposia.

Adolescence Symposium

Montessori: The Essence

Multiple Locations Available. Click to learn more.

past symposiums

To Educate Eco-sapiens: A Film

Click to watch.

Peace through Education A Symposium

Click for details.

Educating in the Ecozoic

Click for details.

Journey to Sacred Montessori

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the people of ties

Philip Snow Gang, PhD

"…education, in the true sense, is the understanding of oneself in relationship to life, for it is within each one of us that the whole of existence is manifest."

Founder, Academic Dean and Program Director at TIES.

Marsha Snow Morgan, MEd

"Living in a new way involves creating a world view that sees humanity as a participant in the natural cycles of Earth and subject to the laws of Cosmos."

Co-founder of TIES and Nova Montessori School.

Influencers & kindred spirits

Fritjof Capra

“Life is much less a competitive struggle for survival than a triumph of cooperation and creativity.”

David Bohm

"Individuality is only possible if it unfolds from wholeness."

Lynn Margulis

"The question "What is Life?" is... a linguistic trap. To answer according to the rules of grammar, we must supply a noun, a thing. But life on Earth is more like a verb. It repairs, maintains, re-creates, and outdoes itself."

Robin Wall Kimmerer

“The land is the real teacher. All we need as students is mindfulness.”

David Abram

“...along with the other animals, the stones, the trees, and the clouds, we ourselves are characters within a huge story that is visibly unfolding all around us, participants within the vast imagination, or Dreaming, of the world.”

Maria Montessori

“It is not enough for the teacher to love the child. She must first love and understand the universe.”

Brian Swimme

"Desire lives at the heart of life’s evolution”

Francisco Varela

"When a living system is suffering from ill health, the remedy is found by connecting with more of itself."

Marilyn Waring

"We are not disconnected with nature. We are nature. Thinking we are separated is a disorder, and economics is a key tool in this process."

David W. Orr

“The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind."

Thomas Berry

“The destiny of humans cannot be separated from the destiny of earth.”

Jiddu Krishnamurti

“The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence.”

Margaret Wheatley

“I’ve wanted to see beyond the Western, mechanical view of the world and see what else might appear when the lens was changed.”

Thich Nhat Hahn

“Understanding means throwing away your knowledge.”

Joseph Campbell

“Follow your bliss and doors will open where there were no doors before.”

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