School of Sustainability at ASU

Educational background of 30 tenured and tenure-track faculty



TUCSON (A-P) — Arizona State University School of Sustainability, "the first comprehensive degree-granting program of its kind in the United States," selected as representative (As of May 2016, 947 students have graduated with degrees in Sustainability (in nine years) at ASU. Of those, 758 graduated with a bachelor's degree, 190 with a master's degree, and 42 with a PhD, nearly 2,000 students currently enrolled). The question: "Who educated the educators?"

Anthropology 1
Biology 1
Ecology 2
Economics 4
Educational Technology 1
Engineering 2
Environmental Studies 2
Geography 4
History 1
Knowledge and Management 1
Mathematics 2
Marine Science 1
Medieval History/Prehistory 1
Political Science/Public Policy 3
Aerospace Industrial Engineering 1
Applied Mathematics 1
Civil Engineering 1
Ecology 2
Economics 7
Electrical and Computer Engineering 1
Geography 4
History 1
Marine Science 1
Media 1
Philosophy 3
Policy Development and Program Evaluation 1
Public Finance and Decision Theory 1
Science and Technology Studies 1
Agriculture 1
American Studies 1
Biology 1
Business 1
Economics 5
Engineering 4
Environmental Management 1
Environmental Studies 3
Geography 3
Government 2
History 2
Petroleum Engineering 1
Philosophy 1
Physical Sciences 1
Politics 1
Psychology 1
Zoology 1

Schools of Sustainability have proliferated in the past decade to supply governmental, corporate, and educational SYSTEM demands for green degrees. Sustainability is a "transdisciplinary" field newly minted. It is a house built on the shifting sands of political-economy, as a solid foundation would be built on understanding the implications of the exponential function and on systems ecology. All of the professors may be such autodidacts that they deign to include systems ecology among their interests. Four have probably studied H. T. Odum's science, meaning 26 may not have. Economists dominate (23%) the sustainability field, and that could be viewed as a red flag.

The field is an extension of the Brundtland Commission's "sustainable development" narrative that serves the international community of nation-states, united or not, and their economy (singular as national economies are subSYSTEMs). The "need" served by Schools of Sustainability is that of reconciling environmental/sustainability interests/concerns/passions with the over-arching need to grow the economy (stupid) to serve the "human environment" (equitably of course). Asserting that the SYSTEM can both protect the environment and grow (develop) the global economy is a need, a given, as any alternative narratives that emphasize the need for negative growth (of population and economy) are anathema, literally unthinkable to those (99%) who serve the SYSTEM (those who get a paycheck or hope to).

All who are of the technoindustrial society have "In Growth We Trust" invisibly tattooed on their forehead. Questioning growth would be like sending Richard Dawkins back in time to Oxford, to the early 17th century, to give a lecture on the God delusion. When the SYSTEM depended on the divine right of kings narrative (God's Mandate), a Dawkins would be disposed of (or ignored) and every professor without exception would be willing, many eagerly and loudly, to explain why he was delusional, such being the job of wordsmiths. How much time do sustainability students spend in class hearing why industrial society should be destroyed as soon as possible (for sustainability's sake)?

At 17th century Oxford, if each professor was spoken to in private (by Dawkins) and were utterly certain that anything they said would not be shared with anyone living in their time, it could be that some were atheistic with respect to serving God's Mandate. They would still believe in God as deists (knowing nothing of Darwin's dangerous idea), but might entertain doubts about the presumed divinity of kings or even emperors favored by the deity (per priests). The ability to think outside the zeitgeist box, however, is maladaptive, as doubts about one's piety may arise (the reason Aristotle had to leave Athens).

I submit that in the 21st century doubts about Growth's Mandate are maladaptive, and the continences of selection within the growth hegemon favor the adaptive, the true believers, especially the (merely) eloquent defenders, the men and women of words, who are mercifully lacking in any interest in thinking outside the SYSTEM they serve. Those endeavoring to reform the SYSTEM are utterly enfolded within it and in practice serve it by working heroically to help make it work (grow) "better."

The educational background of several professors suggested I might be willing to meet and treat them, 'where any bar is, or help to half a crown'. I looked deeper into their research interests and read some of their publications. If ecologists were entirely missing from the lineup, that would be a huge red flag, so their presence is obligatory. As it boils down, there is one professor I'd like to spend some quality time with, but as a know-nothing from the hood who just doesn't get it, I can't hope for much. Things could be worse.

Joshua Abbott, Senior Sustainability Scientist; PhD, Environmental and Resource Economics, Econometrics, University of California, Davis, 2007; MA, Economics, University of Washington, 2002, Graduate Certificate, Environmental Management, University of Washington, 2002; BBA (Summa cum Laude), Business, Baylor University, 2000

Rimjhim Aggarwal, Senior Sustainability Scientist; PhD, Economics, Cornell University, 1995; MA, Economics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, 1989; BA, Economics, Delhi University, 1987

Datu Buyung Agusdinata, Senior Sustainability Scientist; PhD, Systems Engineering and Policy Analysis, Delft University of Technology, 2008; MS, Aerospace Industrial Engineering, Delft University of Technology, 1999; BS, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Bandung Institute of Technology, 1996

Marty Anderies, Senior Sustainability Scientist; PhD, Applied Mathematics, University of British Columbia, 1998; MS, Applied Mathematics, University of British Columbia, 1996; BS, Petroleum Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, 1987

Hanna Breetz, Senior Sustainability Scientist; PhD, Political Science; MAssachusetts Institute of Technology, 2013; BA, Government, Dartmouth College, 2002

Arianne Cease, Senior Sustainability Scientist; PhD, Biology, Arizona State University, 2012; BS, Zoology, minor Chemistry, Oregon State University, 2004

Dan Childers, Senior Sustainability Scientist; PhD, Louisiana State University, 1989; MS, University of South Carolina, 1985; BA, University of Virginia, 1983. What in not listed, but "is a systems scientist." One article considered Odum's proposed forth law of energetics. Bachelor of Arts: Department of Environmental Sciences and Department of Biology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, 1985 Master of Science: Marine Science Program, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, 1989 Doctor of Philosophy: Department of Marine Sciences, Center for Wetland Resources, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA.

Scott Cloutier, Senior Sustainability Scientist; PhD, Biological and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, 2014; MS, Civil Engineering, University of New Hampshire, 2010; BS, Environmental Engineering, University of New Hampshire, 2008

Nicole Darnall, Senior Sustainability Scholar, PhD, Public Policy Analysis, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 2002; MS, Policy Development and Program Evaluation, Vanderbilt University, 1998; MA, Economics, University of Texas-Arlington, 1995; BA, Economics, Psychology, New Mexico State University, 1991

Tyler DesRoches, Senior Sustainability Scholar, PhD, Philosophy, University of British Columbia, 2015; MA (cum laude), Philosophy and Economics, Erasmus University-Rotterdam, 2009; MA, Economics, University of Victoria, 2004, BComm (honours), Economics, Saint Mary's University, 2002

Hallie Eakin, Senior Sustainability Scientist; PhD, University of Arizona, 2002; MA, University of Arizona, 1998; BA, Brown University, 1993. What in not listed, but 2002 Ph.D. Geography, University of Arizona. Minor in Anthropology
Dissertation: Rural Households’ Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climatic Variability and Institutional Change: Three Cases from Central Mexico. Director: Dr. Diana Liverman, 1998 M.A. Geography, University of Arizona. Thesis: Adapting to Climatic Variability in Tlaxcala, Mexico: Constraints and Opportunities for Small-scale Maize Producers. Director: Dr. Diana Liverman, 1993 B.A. Environmental Studies, Brown University; MAgna Cum Laude.

Michael Hanemann, Distinguished Sustainability Scientist; PhD, Economics, Harvard University, 1978; MA, Public Finance and Decision Theory, Harvard University, 1973; MS, Development Economics, London School of Economics, 1967; BA, Philosophy, Politics, and Econoimcs, Oxford University, England, 1965

Marco Janssen, Senior Sustainability Scientist; PhD, University of Maastricht, The Netherlands, 1996; MA, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 1992; BA, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 1988. What in not listed, but "Janssen obtained his MA in Econometrics and Operations Research at the Erasmus University Rotterdam in 1992, and the PhD in Mathematics at the Maastricht University in 1996 under supervision of J. Rotmans and O.J. Vrieze."

Sonja Klinsky, Senior Sustainability Scientist; PhD, Resource Management and Environmental Studies, University of British Columbia, 2010; MA, Geography, McGill University, 2004; BS (with Honors), International Development and Environmental Science, University of Toronto, 2001

Kelli Larson, Senior Sustainability Scientist; PhD, Resource Geography, Oregon State University - Corvallis, 2005; MA, Environmental Geography, Southern Illinois University - Carbondale, 1999; BA, Geography, Southern Illinois University - Carbondale, 1997

Bryan Leonard, Senior Sustainability Scientist; PhD, Economics, University of California-Santa Barbara, 2016; MS, Economics, University of California-Santa Barbara, 2013; MS, Applied Economics, Montana State University, 2012; BA, Economics, Hilsdale College, 2010

Joshua MacFadyen, Senior Sustainability Scholar, PhD, History, University of Guelph, 2010; MA, History, University of Waterloo, 2003; BA, History, University of Prince Edward Island, 2002

David Manuel-Navarrete, Senior Sustainability Scientist; PhD, Geography, University of Waterloo, 2004; MS, Ecological Economics, Autonomous University of Barcelona, 2000; BA, Environnmental Sciences, Autonomous University of Barcelona, 1998

David Manuel-Navarrete, Senior Sustainability Scientist; PhD, Geography, University of Waterloo, 2004; MS, Ecological Economics, Autonomous University of Barcelona, 2000; BA, Environnmental Sciences, Autonomous University of Barcelona, 1998

Rob Melnick, Senior Sustainability Scientist; PhD, Educational Technology, Arizona State University, 1980; MA, Media, Arizona State University, 1973; BA, Government, Dartmouth College, 1972

Theodore Pavlic, Senior Sustainability Scientist; PhD, Electrical and Computer Engineering, The Ohio State University, 2010; MS, Electrical and Computer Engineering, The Ohio State University, 2007; BS, Electrical and Computer Engineering, The Ohio State University, 2004

Charles Redman, Distinguished Sustainability Scientist; PhD, Anthropology, University of Chicago, 1971; MA, Anthropology, University of Chicago, 1969; BA, Physical Sciences, Harvard University, 1967

Osvaldo Sala, Distinguished Sustainability Scientist; PhD, Ecology, Colorado State University, 1982; MS, Ecology, Colorado State University, 1979; BS, Agriculture, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1973

Michael Schoon, Senior Sustainability Scientist; PhD, Environmental Policy, Public Policy, and International Relations, Indiana University, 2008; MBA, Indiana University, 1999; BS, Aerospace Engineering, University of Arizona, 1993; BS, Mechanical Engineering, University of Arizona, 1993

Cynthia Selin, Senior Sustainability Scientist; PhD, Knowledge and Management, Institute for Politics, Philosophy and Management, Copenhagen Business School, 2006; MA, Science and Technology Studies, Roskilde University/Maastricht University, 2000; BA, American Studies, University of California-Santa Cruz, 1996

Billie Turner II, Distinguished Sustainability Scientist; PhD, Geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1974; MA, Geography, University of Texas at Austin, 1969; BS, Geography, University of Texas at Austin, 1968

Sander van der Leeuw, Distinguished Sustainability Scientist; PhD, University of Amsterdam, 1976, ADM/MLitt, Medieval History/Prehistory, University of Amsterdam, 1972; BA, History, University of Amsterdam, 1968

Arnim Wiek, Senior Sustainability Scientist; PhD, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, 2005; MS, University of Jena (Germany), 2002; MA, Free University, Berlin, 1998. What in not listed, but "10/1991–09/1998 Master of Philosophy. University of Bonn and Free University Berlin (Germany). Thesis on philosophical and cross-cultural epistemology 10/1998–09/1999 Study of Geography at Free University Berlin 10/1999–03/2002 Master of Environmental Sciences. University of Jena (Germany) and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich). Thesis on the functions of scenarios in strategic spatial planning 04/2002–05/2005 PhD. ETH Zurich, Department of Environmental Sciences. Thesis on analytical, projective, and evaluative methods for decision-making in transition processes"

Jianguo Wu, Senior Sustainability Scientist; PhD, Ecology, Miami University, 1991; MS, Ecology, Miami University, 1987; BS, Biology, Inner Mongolia University, 1982



Astrology is part of the curriculum at Indian universities by societal and governmental decree. Students who major in astrology are celebrated by their community and can look forward to being well employed. Those with PhDs in astrology can teach, and be part of transdisciplinarian teams, along with astronomers claiming an alternative way of knowing. Suggesting that at best astronomers merely have an alternative claim to knowing, that all ways of knowing are equally unprivileged, is my attempt at postmodern-speak, perhaps ground zero for 20th century academic wordsmithery.

At current growth rate in the number of Schools of Sustainability (the number is growing at about 18%, doubling ever four years) in the USA, how long will it take for all universities and colleges in the US to have one? [2025] For all high schools? [2038] Assuming the Schools of Sustainability average 256 students, how long before every human on the planet (assume 10 billion) over 12 years of age will have to be enrolled as a lifelong student to sustain current growth? [2070, but do the math]. And then what? Oh, growth is not sustainable (Bartlett, Sustainability 101). At some point ASU may have the last School of Sustainability in the USA with three Senior Sustainability Scientist professors and 42 students upon whom the irony will be lost. Harvard and Oxford still have divinity schools.

The SYSTEM's neater trick: Those who are the problem spin a narrative that "We are the solution!" and attract then hire a legion of their best and brightest (as non-autodidact students, convinced by the better and brighter through years of schooling), to work for the SYSTEM rather than to destroy it. "A lie told often enough...." — (misattributed to) Lenin

If a lie is only printed often enough, it becomes a quasi-truth, and if such a truth is repeated often enough, it becomes an article of belief, a dogma, and men will die for it. — Isa Blagden 1869

I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.... — Mark Twain

Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.... — Isaac Asimov

The more he became truly wise, the more he distrusted everything he knew.... — Voltaire

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