Professor and Interim Chair

Dr. Asim Zia is currently serving as Interim Chair and as a Professor of Public Policy and Computer Science in the Department of Community Development and Applied Economics at the University of Vermont. Dr. Zia is undertaking NSF funded work on developing computational integrated assessment models that project and quantify high-resolution impacts of global climate change and land-use land cover change on watershed scale hydrological systems and lake systems, and their feedbacks on social systems. Dr. Zia has published widely on international climate policy, management of social ecological systems, risk communication, risk management, international development, tropical forest conservation, and adaptation to climate change in the US, Latin American, African and Asian contexts. He is also working on grant funded projects pertaining to mainstreaming early warning systems in development and planning processes; spatial planning, optimization and control to ensure food, energy and water security in the face of climate change induced extreme events, and designing institutions and governance networks to assess and mitigate risks from environmental, social and political drivers of change.  Asim Zia has published more than fifty peer-reviewed articles/book chapters and three books. Most recently, Rutledge Press published his book “Post-Kyoto Climate Governance: Confronting the Politics of Scale, Ideology and Knowledge.” He has served as a Principal Investigator, Co-Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator on sixteen research grants worth more than $55 Million. Grant funds have been secured from National Science Foundation, McArthur Foundation, US-DOT, US-DoD and USDA.  He serves on scientific review board of national socio-environmental synthesis center (SESYNC), acts as an academic editor for PLOS One, associate editor of Complexity, Governance and Networks and editorial board member of Journal of Policy and Complex Systems. He has a Ph.D. in Public Policy from the Georgia Institute of Technology; and recipient of 2004-2005 best dissertation award from Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management. He has also served in the civil superior services of Pakistan as part of 21st common training program (1993-94) and worked for Economic Affairs Division in the Federal Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs (1995-2000), administering bilateral and multilateral developmental assistance projects from Germany, Asian Development Bank, US-AID and Aus-Aid. 


  • Sarah Coleman, Stephanie Hurley, Christopher Koliba, Asim Zia (2017) Crowdsourced delphis: Designing solutions to complex environmental problems with broad stakeholder participation. Global Environmental Change 45: 111-123.
  • Zia, Asim, Arne Bomblies, Andrew W. Schroth, Christopher Koliba, Peter D.F. Isles, Yushiou Tsai, Ibrahim N. Mohammed, Gabriela Bucini, Patrick Clemins, Scott Turnbull, Morgan Rodgers, Ahmed Hamed, Brian Beckage, Jonathan Winter, Carol Adair, Gillian L. Galford, Donna Rizzo and Judith Van Houten (2016) Coupled impacts of climate and land use change across a river-lake continuum: insights from an integrated assessment model of Lake Champlain’s Missisquoi Basin, 2000-2040. Environmental Research Letters 11, Number 11. Available online at
  • Schulz, Anna, Asim Zia, Christopher Koliba (2015) Adapting Bridge Infrastructure to Climate Change: Institutionalizing Resilience in Intergovernmental Transportation Planning Processes in the Northeastern United States. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change. Online First DOI 10.1007/s11027-015-9672-x
  • Tsai, Yushiou, Asim Zia, Christopher Koliba, Justin Guilbert, Gabriela Bucini, Brian Beckage (2015). An Interactive Land Use Transition Agent-Based Model (ILUTABM): Endogenizing Human-Environment Interactions at Watershed Scales. Land Use Policy 49: 161-176.
  • Zia, A., Koliba, C. (2015) The Emergence of Attractors Under Multi-level Institutional Designs: Agent-Based Modeling of Intergovernmental Decision Making for Funding Transportation Projects. AI & Society: Knowledge, Culture and Communication: 30: 315-331. DOI 10.1007/s00146-013-0527-2
  • Zia, Asim, Courtney Hammond Wagner (2015) Mainstreaming Early Warning Systems in Development and Planning Processes: Multi-level implementation of Sendai Framework in Indus and Sahel. International Journal of Disaster Risk Science 6(2): 189-199. DOI 10.1007/s13753-015-0048-3
  • Koliba, C., Berman, M., Brune, N., Zia, A. (2014) The Salience and Complexity of Building, Regulating, and Governing the Smart Grid: Lessons from a Statewide Public-Private Partnership. Energy Policy 74: 243-252 doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2014.09.013
  • Zia, A., Kauffman, S., Koliba, C., Beckage, B., Vattay, G., Bomblies, A. (2014) From the Habit of Control to Institutional Enablement: Re-envisioning the Governance of Social-Ecological Systems from the Perspective of Complexity Sciences. Complexity, Governance and Networks. 1(1): 79-88. DOI: 10.7564/14-CGN4
  • Zia, Asim, Bryan Norton, Sara Metcalf, Paul Hirsch, Bruce Hannon (2014) Spatial Discounting, Place Attachment and Environmental Concern: Toward an Ambit-Based Theory of Sense of Place. Journal of Environmental Psychology. 40: 283-295. DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2014.08.001
  • Zia, A., and Glantz, M. (2012) Risk Zones: Comparative Lesson Drawing and Policy Learning from Flood Insurance Programs. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice 14(2): 143-159.
  • Zia, A., Paul Hirsch, Alexander N. Songorwa, David R. Mutekanga, Sheila O’Connor, Thomas McShane, Pete Brosius, Bryan Norton (2011) Cross-Scale Value Trade-Offs in Managing Social-Ecological Systems: The Politics of Scale in Ruaha National Park, Tanzania. Ecology and Society 16(4):7.
  • Zia, A., Todd, A. M. (2010) Evaluating the Effects of Ideology on Public Understanding of Climate Change Science: How to Improve Communication Across Ideological Divides? Public Understanding of Science 19(6): 743-761.

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

computational policy analysis, governance networks, social ecological systems, coupled natural and human systems, sustainable development, food, energy and water systems


  • Post-Doctoral Fellow 2004-2006 National Center for Atmospheric Research
  • PhD 2004 Georgia Institute of Technology
  • MA 1996 University of the Punjab (Lahore, Pakistan)
  • BA 1991 University of the Punjab (Lahore, Pakistan)


  • 802.656.4695
Office Location:

208E Morrill Hall

  1. Asim Zia's Website

Courses Taught