Environmental Studies Faculty
Dan Spencer ProfessorOffice: JRH 107A
I am a child of the West, but have spent significant time overseas working on human rights and social change issues. I am particularly passionate about three primary areas of interest that inform my teaching and research: community participation in ecological restoration, environmental and social justice issues connected to economic globalization, and the intersection of religion, ecology, and environmental ethics. Giving students first hand experience with peoples in different contexts is particularly important to me, whether that be campesinos in Nicaragua growing fair trade coffee, shrimp farmers in Vietnam combatting the effects of climate change and sea level rise, or ranchers in Montana's Deer Lodge valley engaged in conservation ranching in the midst of a Superfund clean up of the Clark Fork River. I love thinking, writing about, and engaging ethical issues at the intersection of ecological sustainability and social justice. If these are of interest to you as well, please join me in our joint endeavors!
Fletcher Brown Associate ProfessorOffice: 106 College of Education and Human Sciences
Fletcher Brown holds a joint appointment in the Environmental Studies Department in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Teaching and Learning Department in the School of Education. Brown comes to the University of Montana from Miami University where he received a Ph.D. in Botany and Science Education and from Antioch New England Graduate School were he received a MS in Environmental Education. At the University of Montana he teaches graduate courses in Environmental Education and at the undergraduate level teaches courses in conservation education. His research interests focus on the effects of instruction approaches on students' understanding and attitudes about science and the environment, curriculum development and assessment, characterizing classroom learning environments, and accreditation efforts in Environmnetal Education at colleges and Universities.
Phil Condon Professor, EVSTOffice: JRH 104
My twin passions sometimes seem a single paradox: written language and beyond-human nature. Yet as Rilke said about living the questions, why not live the paradox? Explore a sentence, delighting in its tropes and tensions; watch a plant grow, speechless before the power of its buds and blooms; wander a forest, laughing among its shadows and sunshine. Yes, the world is hurt, and yet it helps us beyond all pain. Read, write, walk, revise: healing, changing, insisting on the fairer vision. Our voices stutter, even shatter, and yet we can still sing.
Neva Hassanein ProfessorOffice: JRH 101A, Rankin Hall
Each of us impacts the world every day. What will that impact be? How can we individually and collectively build a more sustainable, resilient, and just world? These questions drive me. I aim to learn answers from interdisciplinary theory and research, and from civic engagement, community practice, and meaningful reflection. In turn, I hope to inspire experiential, participatory, relevant, and self-directed learning. Much of my work revolves around food and agriculture, which are central to all of our lives and to the health of the planet. My students and I have contributed to a variety of regional food and agricultural initiatives through research, internships, and projects. I have written on sustainable agriculture, food democracy, policy, and community-based food systems. I am interested in land use planning, organizational development, environmental policy, and gender studies.
Rosalyn La Pier Associate ProfessorOffice: Jeannette Rankin Hall 017 (closed)
I am an award winning Indigenous writer, ethnobotanist and environmental activist with a BA in physics and a PhD in environmental history. I work to strengthen traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and revitalize Indigenous languages within Indigenous communities. Hear my story on SACNAS Interviews STEM Role Model.
Robin Saha Associate ProfessorOffice: JRH 018
In the Environmental Studies Program, we study and learn, but we also make positive social and environmental change happen while we’re studying and learning. As an EVST professor, I love involving students in real-world collaborative problem-solving using service learning, citizen science, action research and policy analysis. My students and I are actively involved in environmental justice causes, local climate action, and campus and community sustainability initiatives. We use community-engaged participatory research to address pressing environmental problems in an ethical way. And because environmental problems disproportionately affect certain places and segments of society, we seek to understand the causes and consequences of racial and socioeconomic disparities, prompt meaningful industry and government responses, and work to empower communities adversely impacted by problems such as toxic contamination and the effects of climate change, including tribal communities in Montana. If studying and working in these areas is something that you are passionate about too, I invite you to contact me or my colleagues and consider applying to our program where you will expand the boundaries of your knowledge and your impact.
Caroline Stephens PEAS Farm LecturerOffice: JRH 102
Farming is an act of critical engagement with the non-human world. As students engage with farming, it's easy to ask big questions--what does good work look like? how do we nourish ourselves and our communities? how do we build a reciprocal relationship with the natural world? how do we build soil that is resilient to climate change? That's what I love about farming, and about teaching farming to college students. My background is both as farmer, educator, and researcher. I earned my B.A. at Centre College in Kentucky. At about the same time I started farming by volunteering for vegetables at a nearby farm. Since then, I have taught farming to people of all ages, and have worked at and managed farms in both Kentucky and Montana. I hold an M.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana where I focused my graduate work on agriculture, food systems, and creative writing. My graduate thesis adressed the history and practice of drought adaptation among organic and conventional grain farmers in Central Montana. In addition to my work at the PEAS Farm, I also manage the Moon-Randolph Homestead, a public, historic homestead owned by the City of Missoula. I hope you will consider spending a semester (or three!) on our student crew at the PEAS Farm!
Kittredge Visiting Professor
Ronald Erickson Professor EmeritusBrief Bio:
I was fortunate to be among the faculty who founded EVST in 1970 and served as the program’s director from 1976 through 1984. I was happy to teach a wide variety of courses from Environmental Chemistry to Biological Conservation, to Environmental Ethics through Story, but my favorite was a 300 level course called Ethics, Beauty, and the Environment. What inspired me the most was the caring and competence of the diverse students who entered the program and went on to work in a multitude of ways to help to heal the planet. After teaching my last course in 1998, I entered electoral politics and served until 2013 in the Montana Legislature, first as a Representative, then as a Senator.
Tom Roy Professor EmeritusBrief Bio:
I came to the University of Montana in 1974 to teach community organizing and social policy in the Department of Social Work. In 1984 I left as chair of that department to become director of Environmental Studies, a position I held until 2006. I continued to teach pro bono a graduate EVST course on non- profits, my area of greatest interest, until 2013.
Vicki Watson Professor EmeritusOffice: Natural Science 101
Born on a Texas prairie farm, I grew up watching my parents struggle to protect our creek from upstream pollution--a battle we still fight today. My research, teaching and service focus on watershed CPR (conservation, preservation, restoration). While researching water quality issues for federal, state & local government, I helped develop Montana’s water quality standards and monitoring system and US nutrient criteria . Much of my work focuses on Montana's Clark Fork River Basin which contains wilderness, working lands, and the country’s largest Superfund complex. I monitor the basin for the state, organize Clark Fork Symposia and helped develop the Clark Fork part of the state water plan. While serving as PI on $3 million in grants over the past 30 years, I provide pro bono assistance through the Watershed Clinic. My classes emphasize research and community service. My former students work in government, nonprofits, and environmental consulting.