Senior Lecturer, Director of M.P.S. in Leadership for Sustainability

Matt is the director of the University of Vermont’s Leadership for Sustainability Master’s Program. He teaches courses on ecological leadership; power and privilege; catalyzing 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 deep equity and creating conditions for all life to thrive. He is a core faculty member with the Thousand Currents Academy and a trainer for Rockwood Leadership Institute.


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 program: Natural Resources
Research: Ecological and holistic approaches to leadership, learning, and change; diversity, power, privilege; whole systems thinking; field ecology


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


  • 802 324-8911
Office Location:

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