Tag Archive for COE

Gift from Bailey ’66 Endows Visiting Faculty Position in COE

At right, College of the Environment Director Barry Chernoff graciously accepted a $3 million gift from history major Essel Bailey ’66, pictured at left. Bailey's gift will ensure a continuing robust visiting scholar program at the COE.

At right, College of the Environment Director Barry Chernoff graciously accepted a $3 million gift from history major Essel Bailey ’66, pictured at left. Bailey’s gift will ensure a continuing robust visiting scholar program at the COE.

If anyone can appreciate humankind’s connection to the Earth, it’s a farmer. Essel Bailey ’66 grew up on farms in the South and Michigan, his early years shaped by the rhythms of planting and harvesting and his father’s careful stewardship of the land.

The lessons of his farming boyhood stay with Bailey, a lawyer and executive in Ann Arbor, Mich., in his work with the Nature Conservancy and other groups, and informed, in part, his gift to Wesleyan’s College of the Environment. The nearly $3 million commitment from Bailey and his wife, Menakka, will endow a visiting professorship and bring the COE close to full funding.

“What’s very appealing is the idea of knowledge-based policy on the environment,” Bailey said. “That’s what the COE can do, providing a scientific basis, academic basis to solutions on the environment. And (visiting faculty) are a valuable part of a Wesleyan education, bringing different ideas to campus.”

Their generous gift represents the Baileys’ strong commitment to Wesleyan and to the COE, which was founded in 2009 to “change the trajectory of humans on the planet for the better.”

“The most important challenge facing current and future generations of humans will be the quality of the environment

Chernoff Speaks about River Biodiversity during Canoe, Kayak Paddle

On June 22, Barry Chernoff, the Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies, professor of biology, spoke to more than 60 paddlers about river biodiversity during the annual Jonah Center Canoe and Kayak Paddle. Paddlers left from Harbor Park in Middletown and explored the Connecticut River and Wilcox Island, the lower Mattabesset and Coginchaug Rivers, as well as the "Floating Meadows" where those two rivers converge. Pictured here, Chernoff is speaking about fish who live in a 90-foot hole located in the Mattabesset River.

On June 22, Barry Chernoff, the Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies, professor of biology, spoke to more than 60 paddlers about river biodiversity during the annual Jonah Center Canoe and Kayak Paddle. Paddlers left from Harbor Park in Middletown and explored the Connecticut River and Wilcox Island, the lower Mattabesset and Coginchaug Rivers, as well as the “Floating Meadows” where those two rivers converge. Pictured here, Chernoff is speaking about fish who live in a 90-foot hole located in the Mattabesset River.

Chernoff, Royer Co-Author Paper on Diversity, CO2 in Neotropical Forests

Barry Chernoff and Dana Royer are the co-authors of “Diversity in neotropical wet forests during the Cenozoic linked more to atmospheric CO2 than temperature,” published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, B, in 2013. Proceedings B is the Royal Society’s flagship biological research journal, dedicated to the rapid publication and broad dissemination of high-quality research papers, reviews and comment and reply papers. The scope of the journal is diverse and is especially strong in organismal biology.

Chernoff is the director of the College of the Environment, the Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies, professor of biology, professor of earth and environmental sciences. Royer is associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, associate professor of environmental studies.

COE Graduates May be Admitted to Vermont Law School through New Partnership

Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth signed an agreement between Wesleyan and Vermont Law School that guarantees admission for College of the Environment graduates meeting GPA and LSAT thresholds into Vermont's Environmental Law Program. At left, Sonia Mañjon, vice president for institutional partnerships and chief diversity officer, and at right, Barry Chernoff, director of College of the Environment, accompanied President Roth at the signing on April 3.

Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth signed an agreement between Wesleyan and Vermont Law School that guarantees admission for College of the Environment graduates meeting GPA and LSAT thresholds into Vermont’s Environmental Law Program. At left, Sonia Mañjon, vice president for institutional partnerships and chief diversity officer, and at right, Barry Chernoff, director of College of the Environment, accompanied President Roth at the signing on April 3.

Thanks to a new partnership, graduates from Wesleyan’s College of the Environment who meet certain academic standards will be guaranteed admission to Vermont Law School’s prestigious JD (Juris Doctor/Doctor of Law), JD/master’s or master’s degree programs. Vermont’s Environmental Law Program, the largest in the country, is widely considered to be one of the best environmental law programs in the United States.

President Michael S. Roth signed the agreement between Wesleyan and Vermont Law School on Wednesday, April 3.

“We’re excited to provide this option for students in the College of the Environment to take their interdisciplinary exploration of environmental issues to the next level through advanced study of the law, policy and regulation,” said Roth. “The COE was conceived of as a place where scholars can think about translating their research into action in the public sphere. Vermont Law School offers superb programs in environmental law and policy. Earning a JD or master’s degree there certainly will empower our graduates to make an even greater difference in the world.”

“We are delighted to sign this agreement with Wesleyan University and look forward to welcoming qualified graduates from its College of the Environment to the Master’s and the JD degrees offered at Vermont Law School,” said Marc Mihaly, President and Dean of Vermont Law School. “Students from Wesleyan fit the profile of our most successful students – they are smart and committed to making a difference in their communities and, indeed, in the world.”

“In my mind, Vermont Law School is the premier school for environmental law in the country,” remarked Barry Chernoff, director of College of the Environment and Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies. “Pursuing further study in environmental policy, regulation and law will enable our students to influence critical environmental issues facing our country—and the world—over the next century.”

Under the agreement, graduates of Wesleyan’s College of the Environment will be guaranteed admission, with a waiver of all application fees, into Vermont Law School’s JD, Master in Environmental Law and Policy (MELP), or Master in Energy Regulation and Law (MERL) programs. Qualified applicants must complete all requirements to earn a Bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan; complete a minimum of 15 credits for a JD, or 16 credits for a master’s, at Wesleyan; have a cumulative grade point average of 3.2 or higher; earn an LSAT score of 150 or higher for the JD; and present a letter of recommendation from the director of the College of the Environment. The agreement applies to those who have graduated from Wesleyan within four years.

College of the Environment students are especially well-prepared to pursue this type of work after graduation, said Chernoff, because Wesleyan requires them to do their primary scholarship in a particular discipline, and then examine environmental issues from multiple lenses for the Environmental Studies linked major. Majors are also required to complete a capstone project on an environmental topic, principally from the perspective of their primary major, which offers good practice in real world environmental research. The emphasis on critical thinking from an interdisciplinary perspective, which takes into account the viewpoints of all stakeholders, gives “our students a great basis for doing environmental policy work in the future,” Chernoff said.

He added that a significant number of COE graduates currently go on to earn law degrees. Current students he consulted about a partnership with Vermont Law School gave universally positive feedback.

Chernoff said he has, and will continue, to promote the partnership among faculty, students, alumni and prospective students. “I really think it’s important for young people to have interesting opportunities available to them after graduation, and for Wesleyan to provide gateways for students into careers,” he said.

In addition, Chernoff is exploring the development of other partnerships to provide COE students with different avenues for post-graduate education in areas such as public health, environmental management, sustainability and sustainable design.

Students, COE Fellow Participate in Climate Change Convention in Qatar

Chloe Holden '15, Samantha Santaniello '13, Sophie Duncan '13 and Michael Dorsey, fellow of the College of the Environment, visiting professor of environmental studies, participated in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Doha, Qatar.

Chloe Holden ’15, Samantha Santaniello ’13, Sophie Duncan ’13 and Michael Dorsey, fellow of the College of the Environment, visiting professor of environmental studies, participated in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Doha, Qatar.

Three Wesleyan students joined hundreds of climate change activists from around the world to strategize with fellow youth, discuss climate change policy, engage with delegates and participate in a climate change march during the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP18) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Doha, Qatar.

The convention began Nov. 26. Sophie Duncan ’13, Samantha Santaniello ’13 and Chloe Holden ’15, accompanied by Michael Dorsey, fellow of the College of the Environment, visiting professor of environmental studies, obtained entry badges and jumped right into a panel discussion on equitable climate policies with representatives from the Third World Network.

“We were initially struck by the variety of people at the conference center, from young people much like us to VIP diplomats from different countries and generations, all of whom seem anxious to get started and work hard for the interests they represent,” Holden said.

Although youth participants were not able to participate directly in negotiations, the Wesleyan students quickly teamed up with about 150 youth delegates from around the world. Many youth represented civil society organizations including Climate Justice Now, Earth in Brackets, the Arab Youth Society, the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition, Climate Action Network, the Taiwan Youth Climate Coalition and the global youth constituency YOUNGO.

“After attending a YOUNGO meeting and conversations with a few students, I realized that this conference is an opportunity for we, the youth, to exchange ideas and strategies with activists, delegates,

Dorsey Panelist on Climate Change, the Role of Law

Michael Dorsey

Michael Dorsey

Michael Dorsey, fellow of the College of the Environment, visiting professor of environmental studies, was one of four panelists who discussed “Climate Change and the World Court: The Role of Law” during the Doha Sustainability Expo, held Dec. 3 in Qatar. The panelists questioned, “What is a state’s responsibility to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions under international law?”

Dorsey also reviewed a campaign founded by the Ambassadors for Responsibility on Climate Change that sought an emissions-related advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice.

The expo was part of the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP18) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

5 Questions With . . . Michael Dorsey on COE’s Think Tank

Michael Dorsey, visiting professor of environmental studies, says the College of Environment’s Think Tank is "a novel, innovative space for learning."

Michael Dorsey, visiting professor of environmental studies, says the College of Environment’s Think Tank is “a novel, innovative space for learning.”

In this issue of The Wesleyan Connection, we ask “5 Questions” of Michael Dorsey, visiting professor of environmental studies. In September, he was reappointed to the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Advisory Committee.

Q: Professor Dorsey, you’re a visiting professor of environmental studies and a fellow in the College of the Environment’s Think Tank. What is the 2012-13 Think Tank theme, and what is your role in the year-long exploration?

A: The 2012-2013 College of the Environment’s Think Tank theme is: environmental justice and global health.

Despite growing awareness of the problems of environmental injustice and related impacts on health and sustainability, many communities here in the U.S. and around the globe remain vulnerable or are being put at risk in new ways. This year’s COE Think Tank will use our collective interdisciplinary strengths and practical experience to seek to tackle these complex issues. Using complementary, yet distinct, disciplinary approaches to examine the connection between environmental justice and global health, we will explore the health and livelihood implications of environmental injustice from local to global scales –from neighborhood struggles for food justice to regional responses to mountaintop removal in Appalachia and environmental activism in East Asia to the plight of island communities facing unfolding global climate disruption.

Q: Why did you want to be part of the Think Tank, and what do you hope will be accomplished?

A: The College of Environment’s Think Tank is a novel, innovative space for learning; it is a unique space for environmental autodidactical fellowship. Individual learning blossoms as a result of camaraderie and collegial labor—of both peer faculty and dynamic student fellows.

Eco-Tools Map Campus Pollution, Promote Green Purchasing

The Wesleyan Eco-Map prototype shows the monthly pollution index of most wood-framed homes on campus.

To help members of the Wesleyan community be more aware of their environmental impact, the College of the Environment is developing practical and accessible Eco-Tools.

The Eco-Tools prototype, launched in April, provides links and information to Wesleyan’s current projects, the Wesleyan Eco-Map and the Wesleyan Eco-Purchasing site.

“Wesleyan is the first university in the country to create these tools,” explains project coordinator Mary Alice Haddad, associate professor of government, East Asian studies and environmental studies. “The project is just starting to bloom, but once we get it up and operating, it can act as a model for other universities.”

Wesleyan is developing en Eco-Map that shows what buildings on campus are using the most energy.

The Wesleyan Eco-Map highlights changes in energy usage in different buildings on campus over time, based solely on changes in human behavior. The prototype currently tracks the monthly pollution index for all wood-framed housing on campus, and in time, may track heat and water usage for the entire university.

“The biggest drive for pollution is who’s living in it,” says Bill Nelligan, director of environmental health, safety and sustainability. “The Eco-Map will provide a real visual for students living in these homes to see their energy use month to month, year to year, and make them think, “How can I improve?'”

The map shows that residents residing at 1 Vine Street used almost twice as much energy (hence, creating twice as much pollution) during the months of December, January and February, as they did in March, April and May. So, students who reside in the home in 2012-13 can monitor their own energy usage on the site, and compare it to the energy use in 2011-12.

Of course, there are environmental factors to take into account. Some homes are heated with gas; others are electric. Some are 4,000 square feet, others are half that size. Some homes, such as 19 and 20 Fountain Avenue and 231 Pine Street were constructed in the past 10 years, while the majority of homes are from the 1900s. And the roof of 19 Fountain Avenue is topped with solar panels.

Wesleyan’s second Eco-Tool, Wesleyan Eco-Purchasing, offers members of the Wesleyan community detailed information about the environmental impacts of the information technology products in use on campus. The site promotes responsible purchasing decisions and encourages companies to act in more environmentally and socially responsible ways.

“I.T. companies and their suppliers are among the worst polluters,

COE’s Think Tank Discusses Human’s Relationship to Water

Members of the College of the Environment’s 2011-12 Think Tank gather every Wednesday to discuss ways in which the human relationship to water, as both resource and environment, has changed over the long term. The Think Tank is a group of Wesleyan faculty, scholars and students who produce scholarly works that will influence national/international thinking. Pictured, from left to right are faculty members Joop Varekamp; Clark Maines, William Pinch and Elise Springer.

Patton Appointed Dachs Professor of Science

Peter Patton has taught at Wesleyan since 1976.

Peter Patton, professor of earth and environmental sciences, has been appointed as the first Alan M. Dachs Professor of Science, currently housed in the College of the Environment.

The endowed chair was created with the generous support of Alan Dachs ’70, P’98, chair emeritus of the Board of Trustees.

“I am delighted that Peter Patton will be the first to hold the Alan M. Dachs Chair in the Natural Sciences,” says Dachs. “It is only fitting that a scientist and teacher of his caliber should be recognized in this way. Wesleyan, and science at Wesleyan, have always come first in Peter’s professional life. He epitomizes the very best Wesleyan has to offer.”

Patton has taught at Wesleyan since 1976, making substantial contributions as chair of Earth and Environmental Sciences, as interim director of Information Technology Services, through twice serving as Interim Dean of the College and by serving as vice president and secretary of the University for ten years through 2008. He has served on numerous university committees