University of Vermont

Matthew Kolan

Matt Kolan

Senior Lecturer

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

Areas of Interest

Ecological approaches to educational design, whole systems thinking, power and privilege, shared leadership, nature-connection, natural history, and wildlife tracking

Matt 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 at multiple scales. 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.


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., and W. Poleman. 2009. Revitalizing natural history education by design. Journal of Natural History Education 3:30-40. Available on-line: