University of Vermont

RSENR Mission statement

Rubenstein School Mission Statement

The Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources (RSENR) is a learning community with the mission to understand, nurture, and enrich the interdependence of humanity with healthy ecological systems.

To fulfill this mission, we seek to create a community that encourages an engaged, culturally diverse, and challenging learning environment that applies foundational knowledge from diverse fields, critical thinking, and integrative analyses to design a more sustainable society.


Our specific operational goals are to:

  1. provide excellent undergraduate and graduate educational opportunities that emphasize an integrated natural resources perspective coupled with a focused disciplinary or interdisciplinary concentration;
  2. generate new and meaningful knowledge and applications through the development and implementation of relevant and identifiable programs of research and scholarship;
  3. promote ecological and environmental literacy throughout the campus and the greater Vermont community by offering quality courses appropriate for all constituents and special seminars of interest and value to students and practitioners;
  4. provide service and advice to diverse constituents -- including citizens, school teachers, decision makers, and government agency personnel -- that addresses environmental issues and resource management challenges and helps translate new knowledge into meaningful policy.

The Faculty Role

The faculty of The Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources continually seek educational excellence through high quality, innovative curricula and an on-going commitment to teaching, advising, scholarly accomplishment, and relevant service. We acknowledge and value the diverse nature of faculty appointments and the many ways that meaningful teaching and scholarship occur. However, the School faculty and administration recognize that with few exceptions, the dominant areas of faculty performance are teaching and scholarship; we value outreach and service as extensions of our teaching and scholarship activities. We view these activities collectively as mutually supportive and critical to the pursuit of our mission. In particular, excellent undergraduate instruction and advising must be provided for students in the School. The faculty recognize that integrity and objectivity are critical to our effectiveness as teachers, scholars, and role models in our sometimes controversial and politically charged fields of study.

Our focus is on students. The faculty of the School are committed to academic programs and curricula, instructional delivery, and advising of the highest quality at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. We offer programs with a solid educational foundation and explicit emphasis on integration of the ecological, social, and quantitative sciences within a natural resource and environmental context. We strive to provide a community atmosphere that celebrates diversity and respect, promotes learning, and encourages understanding and integrity. Faculty recognize and embrace their role as mentors as well as teachers. We fully recognize the critical importance of quality teaching -- whether in the classroom, outdoor laboratory, or an off-campus workshop setting -- as well as the need for continuous assessment and enhancement of teaching quality.

Scholarship encompasses those activities that are new, thought-provoking, and transferable among individuals and organizations. Scholarly activities include both creative discovery and the application, interpretation, and formal dissemination of new and existing knowledge by both faculty and students. An important element of scholarly activity is the publication and dissemination of scholarly products, such as research results, curriculum or course development materials, technology transfer, and/or new insights or modes of thought. As with teaching, scholarship must be documented and evaluated to be judged meritorious.

In the School, there is a strong interplay between teaching and scholarship and each is vital to the other. Outstanding teachers reach beyond the bounds of textbook material in a scholarly manner to expose students to new developments and the latest perspectives in their fields.

Service is an extension of teaching and scholarly accomplishments. Service usually takes the form of providing advice or sharing of information, meaningful professional involvement, and/or thoughtful contributions to School and University governance and policy development. Although teaching and scholarship are of utmost importance, the SNR faculty recognize and value their responsibility to transfer new and important information to individuals within the public and private sectors. We view service activities as closely allied to the new knowledge generated by our scholarly activities and/or contributions to our larger educational mission.

The Staff Role

The staff of The Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources supports and advances education, scholarly investigation, and community service. Staff activities -- providing administrative, research and teaching support; mentoring and informal advising -- enrich the student experience. The staff comprises individuals with diverse interests and expertise; indeed, no two staff positions are the same. Although individual staff members are necessarily committed to specific responsibilities, projects, and supervisors, they have collective and individual commitment to assist and advance the School as a whole.

The Student Role

As members of The Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources community, students share responsibility with the faculty and staff for pursuing the School's mission. Students expect excellence in themselves and others. They agree to treat each other with respect, to be honest and open to new ideas, and to contribute to the spirit of the community. As a continually changing component of the School, students provide a consistent infusion of energy and fresh perspectives. They are expected to share their ideas, to voice constructive criticism, and to contribute to resolving problems, both within the School and beyond. RSENR students believe that they are privileged to be in RSENR, UVM, and Vermont.

Approved by RSENR Faculty, January 1995; by RSENR Staff, March 1996; by RSENR Student Advisory Board, April 1996. Revised and approved by RSENR Faculty and Board of Advisors, January 2014.

Last modified February 17 2015 10:41 AM