Campus News

College of Environment and Design to host panel on environmental sciences in higher education

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia College of Environment and Design will host a panel of scholars who will discuss “Linking Science with Action: Problems and Opportunities in Higher Education” on March 19 at 5 p.m. in room 101 of the Miller Learning Center.

Comprised of academics who have a scholarly understanding of environmental issues and first-hand experience in “real-world” applications, the panel will address policymaking that uses empirical science and cultural understanding and how these can impact higher education in landscape architecture, preservation, land use planning and social sciences and the humanities.
Daniel Nadenicek, dean of the College of Environment and Design, will moderate the panel, which will include Joan Iverson Nassauer, professor of landscape architecture in the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan; Wayne Wilkerson, director of the Water Resources Research Institute at Mississippi State University; and from UGA, Jim Porter, the Josiah Meigs Professor of Ecology; Dorinda Dallmeyer, director of the Environmental Ethics Certificate Program; and Norman Thomson, an associate professor in the department of mathematics and science education in the College of Education. The panel discussion will include brief presentations from each scholar, followed by dialogue and debate.

“I am interested in having our students and the university community hear a well-informed discussion about environmental policy that is not afraid to address real science,” said Nadenicek. “In some ways, scientific knowledge is under assault at a time in human history when we need the most broad and deep understanding of complex issues, such as climate change, world economy and global justice. This is hardly the time for environmental designers not to understand or address the complexities and intricacies of the environment and radical societal change. My hope is that this discussion will invigorate the debate and be beneficial to our entire community.”

Nassauer was named a Fellow by the American Society of Landscape Architects in 1992, a Fellow of the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture in 2007, a Distinguished Practitioner of Landscape Ecology in the U.S. in 1998 and a Distinguished Scholar in 2007 by the International Association of Landscape Ecology. She focuses on the cultural sustainability of ecological design in human-dominated landscapes. Her teaching and research projects apply this approach to brownfields, vacant property, exurban sprawl and agricultural landscapes. Recently, Nassauer was awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation by way of the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center to address the challenges of ecological wealth and changing human populations.

As the new director of the Water Resources Research Institute at Mississippi State University, Wilkerson focuses the Institute’s research on economic and environmental issues affecting water resources. He also coordinates Mississippi State’s graduate programs, where he has taught since 1999. Wilkerson’s own research focuses on producing computer models that enable the development industry to design and build more resilient and sustainable communities.

Besides the Meigs Professorship, Porter is the recipient of UGA’s Creative Research Award and the Eugene P. Odum Award for environmental education from the Ecological Society of America. As an accomplished marine ecologist, he specializes in the biology, ecology and assessment of Floridian and Caribbean coral reefs.

With degrees in geology and law, Dallmeyer worked at the UGA Dean Rusk Center for International Law for 21 years, where her primary research areas were in international law and drew support from major American foundations. Dallmeyer edited books on civilian uses of space, globalization and environmental ethics, the North American Free Trade Agreement, the negotiation of maritime boundary disputes, marine environmental ethics, and most recently, books on the environmental history of the American Southeast. Dallmeyer is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and past vice president of the American Society of International Law.

Thomson has taught and worked in East Africa for many years. His current research interests include Hominin evolution, climate change and indigenous science knowledge. According to Thomson, his endeavor is to explore the question, “What do we teach and learn in science and why?”