Four James Marsh Professors-At-Large Bring Environmental Emphases to UVM
- By Shari Halik
The Rubenstein School is proud to sponsor four UVM James Marsh Professors-at-Large who come from a variety of disciplines and contribute to environmental issues in contrasting yet holistic ways. These outstanding visitors will enhance intellectual and cultural life at UVM during their six-year terms and most importantly will add diverse, new dialogue around environmental issues. Professors-at-Large are honorary members of the UVM faculty and internationally renowned individuals in the arts and humanities, sciences, social sciences, and applied fields.
Artistic Director, Choreographer and Performer Jennifer Monson came to the UVM campus beginning in the fall of 2011 through the sponsorship of Associate Professor of environmental thought and culture Adrian Ivakhiv. A Guggenheim Fellow and Professor of dance at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Jennifer is an internationally recognized movement artist whose work explores connections between scientific and aesthetic approaches to understanding our surroundings. As artistic director of iLand (Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Art, Nature and Dance), she creates large scale dance and performance projects inspired by natural and built environments. Her multi-year project BIRD BRAIN (2000-2006) included four migratory tours: Gray Whales (Spring 2001), Ospreys (Fall 2002), Ducks and Geese (Spring 2004), and Northern Wheatears (Fall 2009). At UVM, she has contributed workshops, lecture demonstrations, and a panel discussion called Migration, Navigation, Observation: Three Approaches to the Study of Bird Migration.
Professor-at-Large Claudio Sillero is Deputy Director of the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit at the University of Oxford and head of the Born Free Foundation, an international wildlife conservation and animal protection NGO. Sponsored by Jed Murdoch, Assistant Professor of wildlife biology, Claudio is a conservation biologist whose work spans four continents and is dedicated to the conservation of threatened species, mitigation of people-wildlife conflict, impacts of disease, transfrontier conservation, and the role of networks in conservation. He is best known for his work on the biology and conservation of wild canids, the family of wolves, foxes, dogs, jackals, and coyotes. Since his appointment, Claudio has contributed two plenary talks at UVM: Compassionate Conservation: Seeking a Greater Synergy between Animal Conservation and Welfare; and Living with Large Carnivores: A Conservation Challenge. He has also given presentations to several classes, worked with graduate students and been involved in the UVM Wildlife and Fisheries Society.
Associate Professor Jason Stockwell, Director of the Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory, secured Sture Hansson as a Professor-at-Large in July 2012. An aquatic ecologist, Sture has worked on large freshwater and marine systems including Lake Baikal, the Great Lakes, and the Baltic Sea. His “research crosses a range of disciplines including ecology, basic biology, physiology, invasive species, and climate change, and will be of great interest to UVM graduate and undergraduate students in the natural sciences,” acknowledges Jason. “His interface with policy makers in Sweden will provide new perspectives for students in the social sciences with regard to how science can inform policy as well as provide an inside perspective on the sociopolitical process in Scandinavia.”
Also in July, Stephen Polasky, the Fesler-Lampert Professor of Ecological/Environmental Economics at the University of Minnesota, became a Professor-at-Large through the efforts of Professor Taylor Ricketts, Director of UVM’s Gund Institute for Ecological Economics. Steve is currently leading development of methods to value ecosystem services for the Natural Capital Project and is co-leader of the BioSustainability project for DIVERSITAS, an international program of biodiversity science. His research interests also include endangered species policy, integrating ecological and economic analysis, renewable energy, environmental regulation, and common property resources. He serves on the Science Advisory Board of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and was elected into the National Academy of Sciences in 2010. He served as senior staff economist for environment and resources for the President’s Council of Economic Advisers 1998-1999.
“Steve will be a fantastic person to have regularly on campus,” notes Taylor. “He's an amazingly open-minded and broadly-interested economist, who holds a joint position in the economics and ecology departments at Minnesota. He's been instrumental in work on ecosystem services, biofuels, optimizing conservation investments, and in generally linking economics with ecology to address conservation problems.”
The Professor-at-Large program’s namesake is James Marsh, the University’s fifth president, who was influential in 19th century American life. He was the first college leader to promote the elective system of coursework for undergraduate students which has become the standard in the United States and throughout much of the world. The Professor-at-Large program honors President Marsh by invigorating the intellectual and cultural life of students and all members of the UVM community.
Professors-at-Large visit campus three or four times for residencies of one to two weeks. They offer public lectures; collaborate with UVM students and faculty on scientific research, scholarly projects, and creative activities; conduct seminars; consult with students on undergraduate research projects and honors theses and on graduate theses and dissertations, among other interactions.
Watch for announcements about visits and events by RSENR’s James Marsh Professors-at-Large. View more information at www.uvm.edu/president/marsh