University of Vermont

Matthew Kolan

Matt Kolan

Senior Lecturer

Phone: 802-656-4333
Office: 209 Aiken Center

Areas of Interest

Ecological approaches to leadership, learning and change; diversity, power, and privilege; whole systems thinking; nature-connection, natural history, and wildlife tracking

Matt directs the Leadership for Sustainabiltiy M.S. Concentration and oversees the Ecological Leadership Track. He teaches courses on systems thinking and problem-solving, power and privilege, field ecology and wildlife tracking, and the ecology of leadership, learning and change. His research explores non-traditional practices and systems that catalyze transformation, facilitate high-leverage learning, and support well-being across multiple scales and dimensions. He is also interested in what nature and ecology might teach us about leadership and learning.

Matt also works as an educational and ecological consultant for a variety of organizations (including the National Park Service, Center for Whole Communities, Shelburne Farms, and others), helping build capacity for organizational learning and working with difference and tension in a generative way.

Instructional Program

Natural Resources


Ph.D. Environment & Natural Resources (with an emphasis on education and sustainability), University of Vermont, 2010
M.S. Botany (Field Naturalist Program), University of Vermont, 2005
B.S. Neuroscience, College of William & Mary, 1999

Selected Publications

Kolan, M. & TwoTrees, K. (2014). Privilege as practice: A framework for engaging with sustainability, diversity, privilege, and power.  Journal of Sustainability Education, (7), 1-13.  Available online:

Kolan, M., & Poleman, W. (2009). Revitalizing natural history education by design. Journal of Natural History Education, (3), 30-40. Available online: