Recently I was filmed by some of ASU’s School of Sustainability graduate students regarding my research. The interview became a part of their “Elevator Talks” series in the online video journal that they edit – the Sustainability Review (tSR), which is accessible at https://thesustainabilityreview.org/
tSR converted from a traditional journal format to a video format last year and publishes peer-reviewed science videos of sustainability research in an online format. The goal is to make the science more accessible than many traditional forms of science communication. This is particularly relevant as the challenges of sustainability science concern both the social and natural environment (the social-ecological systems that I so often mention). However addressing these challenges requires changes in the societal drivers exacerbating these challenges, particularly within the Anthropocene. Oftentimes, these changes require mobilization of the many. Traditionally, science has not been successfully communicated or done an adequate job at increasing awareness of these dilemmas. The science videos of tSR attempt to tackle these problems. I encourage you to see what the students are working on.
Getting past the vitriol in the current conservation dialogue has become increasingly difficult. Finally, Heather Tallis, Jane Lubchenco and hundreds others have written a commonsense essay that goes beyond the apparent need for confrontation. I was delighted to see several members of Arizona State’s Center for Biodiversity Outcomes as original signatories.
Please read the essay in Nature at: http://www.nature.com/news/working-together-a-call-for-inclusive-conservation-1.16260
You can also sign the petition at: http://blog.nature.org/science/diversity-conservation-petition
As a faculty member in a School of Sustainability (https://schoolofsustainability.asu.edu/), we spend a great deal of time preparing our students for life after college. It’s a bit different than many other majors. After all, everyone knows what an engineer or an accounting major can do. But what does a sustainability graduate do? What skills do they bring to the table? I’ve written a great deal about the structure of our curriculum, the training our students receive, and how we prepare them for future employment in the past:
In future posts, I’ll write a bit more on our learning objectives in the school and how we’ve structured curriculum along skill sets that we want our students to take away rather than the topical areas of many other lines of study (environmental or otherwise). I’ll expand a bit on the New American University at that point as well (for now, see http://newamericanuniversity.asu.edu).
Instead, what I’d like to focus on is something of grave concern to our current students, their parents, and prospective students – job prospects upon graduation. I’m very pleased to write that tracking all of our students from the first graduates until the past semester, we see the following:
- We have graduated 448 undergrad sustainability majors.
- Tracking most of those, 86% of them are employed with another 12% in graduate school.
- Of those employed, nearly 50% are in a sustainability position or a sustainability field.
- We have graduated 50 Master’s students and 13 PhDs.
- All of our grad students are employed.
- Of our Master’s students, 82% are employed in Sustainability.
So, if you are thinking about enrolling in Sustainability but are worried about finding a job, or if your friends and family are pushing you away from following your dreams toward a more “realistic” path, please take a look at the data first. Great opportunities await.
For more information, see our Dean Chris Boone’s blog post (http://cgboone.personal.asu.edu/wordpress/) as well as the data on the School of Sustainability’s website, noted above.
Great news from IJC! First, we are delighted with our current issue, which is coming out in the next week. In this, you will find 6 new research articles covering commons issues in a wide variety of localities using a range of methodological approaches from experimental economics to ethnography and several stops in between. There are also two special features. One is the initial forays of a new meta-analysis research program – the Social-Ecological Systems Meta-Analysis Database – that attempts to operationalize the SES Framework of Elinor Ostrom. This includes 5 case study analyses that utilize the database and framework, as well as a comparative piece across the variety of cases studied. The other special feature, led by Tim Moss, is on the Spatialities of the Commons, and consists of 4 studies that explicitly address spatial research in the study of the commons, an under-researched area of the field. We think that this issue is another strong example of the excellent work being done by scholars of the commons, which leads to my next point.
The journal has recently received its first impact factor (a measure reflecting the average number of citations to recent articles published in the journal) from ISI, calculated at 1.538. We are elated with this score for a young journal that has only recently been recognized by ISI. In the Environmental Studies category, we rank 38th out of 96. Again, we see this as validation of the great work being done. We hope that this recognition will help establish a virtuous cycle in which the journal continues to improve!!
With that in mind, a huge public thank you to all of our readers, authors, and reviewers!
Together with my brilliant co-authors, Manjana Milkoreit, Michele-Lee Moore, and Chanda Meek, we have a paper forthcoming with the journal Environmental Science and Policy entitled “Resilience Scientists as Change Makers – Growing the Middle Ground Between Science and Advocacy?”. It’s part of a Special Issue led by Andreas Thiel, Farhad Mukhtarov, and Dimitrios Zikos on “Crafting or designing? Science and politics for purposeful institutional change in Social- Ecological Systems”. The entire issue looks intriguing for anyone interested in institutional analysis and design and the governance of social-ecological systems.
In our paper, we analyze the role of scientists as they move from purveyors of knowledge and truth (!) into roles of advocacy and politics. In particular, we study how various members of the Resilience Alliance, a group of highly talented, experienced, successful senior scientists interact either directly or indirectly through their research with policy and decisionmakers. We highlight the challenges facing scientists at the science-policy frontier as well as a set of approaches in response to these challenges, including a hybrid approach between a “truth-seeker” and a “change-maker”. We see this as a particularly valuable identification exercise for resilience scientists and other likeminded scholars (conservation biologists, sustainability scientists, climate researchers, etc.) in that they draw on theoretical frameworks that are infused with clear value-sets. In the case of resilience science, these often include ecosystem and species protection, inclusiveness and participatory governance, and adaptation and change.
Some of these ideas are likely controversial. We are not attempting to pigeonhole any specific scientists into clearly delineated roles. However, we do hope that this sparks dialogue and introspection amongst ourselves and our peers to think about their role as scientists, change agents, and people inspired to action in ways that can change the world!