Senior Lecturer, Director of MPS in Leadership for Sustainability, Director of PhD in Transdisciplinary Leadership and Creativity for Sustainability

Matt is the director of the University of Vermont’s Master’s Program in Leadership for Sustainability (MLS) and the PhD Program in Transdisciplinary Leadership and Creativity for Sustainability (TLCS). He teaches courses on ecological leadership; power and privilege; systems change; and field ecology.  His research with the Crossroads Leadership Lab explores endangered and emergent leadership practices that align with the wisdom of nature; engage complexity, mystery, and multiple ways of knowing; challenge forces of domination and oppression; and center love, well-being, and learning.

Matt was the winner of the University-wide Kroepsch-Maurice Excellence in Teaching Award in 2016 and the Outstanding Ally Award for working across difference in 2013.  Matt also partners with and provides advising, coaching, and educational consulting to many organizations that are committed to equity and creating conditions for all life to thrive.


TwoTrees, K., & Kolan, M. (2016).  The Trees Are Breathing Us. In Rosile, G. (Ed) Tribal Wisdom for Business Ethics. Emerald Group Publishing.

Kolan, M. (2015).  Engaging in Complexity and Mapping the Terrain of Leadership for Sustainability.  In Byrne, L. (Ed) Learner-Centered Teaching Activities for Environmental and Sustainability Studies.  Springer International Publishing.

Kolan, M. & TwoTrees, K. (2014). Privilege as practice: A framework for engaging with sustainability, diversity, privilege, and power.  Journal of Sustainability Education, (7), 1-13.  Available online:

Kolan, M., & Poleman, W. (2009). Revitalizing natural history education by design. Journal of Natural History Education, (3), 30-40. Available online:

Matt Kolan

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Instructional programs: Leadership for Sustainability MPS, Transdisciplinary Leadership and Creativity for Sustainability PhD
Research: Ecological leadership and learning; power, privilege, and equity; social transformation and systems change; field ecology and animal tracking


  • Ph.D. Environment & Natural Resources, University of Vermont 2010
  • M.S. Botany (Field Naturalist Program), University of Vermont 2005
  • B.S. Neuroscience, College of William & Mary 1999


  • c: 802 324-8911
  • o: 802-656-4333
Office Location:

George D. Aiken Forestry Sciences Lab, 705 Spear Street, Room 133