Dean's Message - Fall 2017

Welcome Class of 2021 and welcome back Rubenstein School Students and Faculty!  We have much to celebrate as we begin the fall semester!

The School’s success has grown in nearly every way. It will come as no surprise to our alumni, that we welcome our largest and best prepared undergraduate class in the School’s history. On August 25, 181 first year and 34 transfer students from 24 different states, joined our community, bringing our undergraduate enrollment up to 766. Our incoming students are exceptionally strong, academically, with the highest ACT scores among all colleges and schools at UVM.

We are delighted to learn that more than three quarters of the students who visited the School during Admitted Student Visit Days chose to enroll. This is truly remarkable! Congratulations to our talented new students and for your accomplishments that led you to the Rubenstein School. We are happy to have you join our community and eager to help you flourish.

Our graduate program continues to grow and thrive. We have 80 doctoral and research-based MS students in the School, and 42 students enrolled in our Leadership for Sustainability (MSLS) professional master’s degree program. The Rubenstein School continues to attract top graduate students who seek opportunities to work with our highly productive faculty. In 2016, Rubenstein School faculty brought in over $4.3 million in extramural funds, the second highest per capita funding rate of UVM colleges and schools behind the Larner College of Medicine. Faculty are engaged in transformative research such as pollinator (bee) behavior and carbon “banking” in old growth forests. 

Our MS in Leadership for Sustainability (MSLS) has gained international attention and was recently highlighted in one of the most well-regarded higher education publications, INSIGHT into Diversity. Under the successful leadership of Director Matt Kolan, the MSLS program, our hybrid on-line and residential, professional MS program, has attracted a particularly diverse group of graduate students who are advancing their careers while working. 

The Rubenstein School’s growing international reputation, as one of the top schools of the environment, was founded on our dedication and investment in experiential education. This past year, nearly a quarter of all community-based learning (service learning) courses at UVM were instructed in the Rubenstein School. And, over 40% of the School’s courses involved hands-on learning, whether in the field, lab, or community. Coupled with our expanding internship program, students gain both the “hard” and “soft” skills needed to land jobs in this competitive market. Our 2016 alumni survey revealed that within three months of graduation, 83% of Rubenstein School students obtain their first job and 6% choose to go on for graduate or professional degrees. This year, we will focus on helping to engage undergraduates in research and mentoring students for both public and private sectors career pathways. 

Our flagship Perennial Summer Internship Program just finished its 6th summer with great success. Our 32 student interns, with 30 community partners, reported rich experiences that will prepare them for their careers. We know that this strategy is paying off — five former interns landed longer term jobs with the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources this summer.

We also welcome two new faculty members, Mindy Morales-Williams and Clayton Williams, both accomplished limnologists, who join the growing team of freshwater scientists at the Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory. We are delighted to celebrate the launch of the Gund Institute for Environment at UVM, made possible by the generous support of the Gund Family and formally launched in July.

We are off to a great start this fall! The Rubenstein School wishes all of you an enjoyable and successful fall season. Please visit us during Homecoming and Alumni Weekend October 6-8!

Nancy E. Mathews

Nancy E. Mathews, Dean
Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources


Nancy Mathews