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Part 5: Sustainability Faculty & Staff at UMD

This section includes an alphabetical list of the names, contact information, and descriptions of activities and/or research areas of many faculty and staff at UMD.  Not all people engaged in sustainability activities at UMD are listed – so please submit suggestions and additions or revisions to

Alison Aune, Ph.D.

Department of Art and Design


Since 1999, I have chaired the Art Education BFA program at UMD. This is an artist- based teacher-training program leading to K-12 licensure to teach art through the State of Minnesota. As a way to develop their teaching skills, my students participate in a wide range of community outreach projects in collaboration with area schools and community partners that promote community building, inclusiveness, environmental sustainability, and global understanding through art. Some projects have included the Food Farm Harvest Festival, Magic Smelt Parades, The One River Project, MPIRG Arts for Activism and Sustainability Fairs, Mother Earth, Green Man, Water art and environment events, Nordic holiday craft celebrations, and Earth Day Open Studio workshops. In these projects, students develop a pedagogical and philosophical approach to art education that incorporates both traditional pedagogical strategies and methodologies with experimental alternatives in the field. In this way, the art education program expands and broadens content knowledge and practice in art to include environmental practices that inspire innovative inquiry, artistic creativity, and meaningful learning.

Rich Axler
Natural Resources Research Institute

Research interests are lake and water quality management and restoration, aquatic ecosystem responses to pollutants, nutrient cycling and food web dynamics, web-based environmental education and constructed treatment wetlands.

Timothy Bates
Recreational Sports Outdoor Program
(218) 726-8743

Tim Bates teaches several courses related to environmental education.  Tim is also on the UMD Sustainability Education and Outreach Subcommittee.

Geoffrey Bell
Department of Management Studies

Geoff Bell teaches the course “Sustainability and Sustainable Management” (MGTS 4463).  Geoff is also a member of the Organizations and Natural Environment Division of the Academy of Management, and he is a member of the Education Committee of non-profit organization Sustainable Twin Ports.

Ryan D. Bergstrom
Assistant Professor
Department of Geography, Urban, Environment and Sustainability Studies

Ryan teaches several courses related to sustainability including, “Sustainable Rural Livelihoods” (GEOG 3995), “Environmental Conservation” (GEOG 2306) and “GIS and Regional Sustainable Applications” (GIS 5573).  Ryan’s research focuses on the complexity of linked socio-ecological systems, and the sustainability of communities dominated by natural resource extraction, agriculture, and tourism and recreation activities.

Erik Brown
Large Lakes Observatory

Erik Brown conducts research at the Large Lakes Observatory, and he teaches in Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (including the course “Oceanography” (GEOL 1610), which is approved for the sustainability liberal education requirement).  Erik is also a 2014 University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment Resident Fellow.

Mary Christiansen, LEED AP
Assistant Professor, Structural Engineering 
(218) 726-7810

Mary Christiansen teaches Sustainable Design and Construction, co-developed the Lincoln Park Shinesand UMD Shines courses (which connect Mechanical and Civil Engineering students with local projects seeking energy and water-saving solutions), and she conducts research focused on more sustainable mixes to lower embedded carbon in concrete.

Emmanuel Enemuoh
Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering

Emmanuel Enemuoh teaches several courses in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering.  He is broadly interested in engineering sustainability, including life cycle analysis.  Emmanuel has also lead a study abroad course in Ghana titled “Global Sustainability Experience in Design and Manufacture.”  Emmanuel is the contact member of Inquiry on Sustainable Operations (ISO) Graduate Interdisciplinary Group.

Julie Ernst
Director of Master of Environmental Education Program, Center for. Environmental Education.

Julie Ernst is broadly interested in environmental education, with specific expertise in program evaluation, early childhood environmental education, and conservation education programs.  Julie teaches several courses, including Foundations of Environmental Education (ENED 4555) and Young Children, Nature, and Sustainability (ENED 4565).

Julie Etterson
Department of Biology
(218) 726-8110

Julie Etterson’s research uses the tools of ecological genetics to understand factors that influence the persistence of native plant populations in response to anthropogenic changes in the environment, especially climate change, but also with respect to competition with invasive species, altered disease dynamics, inbreeding due to small population size, introduction of nonnative genotypes during habitat restoration, and increased intensity of deer herbivory.

Dennis Falk
Department of Social Work
(218) 726-8862

Denny Falk teaches a class entitled “Global Issues” (SW 1210), which includes a variety of topics related to sustainability.  Denny also received a grant from the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment to develop a faculty and staff toolkit of sustainability teaching and learning resources.

Pat Farrell
Department of Geography, Urban, Environment & Sustainability Studies
(218) 726-7076

Pat Farrell teaches the sustainability liberal education approved courses “Physical Geography” (Geog 1414) and “Environmental Conservation” (Geog 2306).  Pat is also active with the Sustainable Agriculture Project at UMD.

Danny Frank
Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation

Danny Frank teaches several environmental and outdoor education courses, including Wilderness Philosophy (ENED 4601).

Emily Gaarder
Department of Sociology/Anthropology

Emily Gaarder teaches the sustainability liberal education approved course “Environmental Sociology” (SOC 4860).  She also teaches a “Critical Animal Studies” course that examines human relationships with animals. Her focus is on the intersection of sustainability and social justice issues, and “green criminology,” which explores the social, economic, and political conditions that lead to harm against animals and the environment.

Christina Gallup
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences|

Christina Gallup teaches several courses in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, including the sustainability liberal education approved courses “Introduction to Environmental Science” (GEOL 1130) and “Oceanography” (GEOL 1610).  Christina’s research interest includes paleoclimatology.

Kenneth Gilbertson
Department of Applied Human Sciences

Ken Gilbertson has a Ph.D. in Outdoor Education with an emphasis in Clinical Psychology from Ohio State University. His interests include teaching outdoor and environmental education in non-formal settings, wilderness education and interpretation, resource management and planning, sustainability of nature-based tourism in protected nature areas, and the relationship between a skill level and commitment in adventure activities. teaches several courses related to sustainability and environmental education, including “Sustainability Issues Investigation” (ENED 5325).  He also teaches a course entitled “Sustainability Education: Methods and Strategies (ENED 5800).”  Ken has extensively studied sustainability of protected nature areas in Finland and with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Trails.  Ken is also chair of the UMD Sustainability Education Committee.

Roxanne Gould, Ed.D

Endazi-Giginoo'amaadig-Department of Education

Dr. Roxanne Gould (Grand Traverse Band Odawa/ Ojibwe) currently serves as assistant professor in the Ruth A. Myers Center for Indigenous Education and College of Education at the UMN-Duluth and Environmental Education, where she teaches a course called Indigenous Peoples and the Environment. Roxanne’s work experience includes work and research throughout the world on educational initiatives, social justice and environmental issues.  Most recently Bolivia she facilitated a three year agreement with their Ministry of Decolonization and the Phillips Indian Educators to work collaboratively on issues and topics of interest such as; climate change, education, health and well being and culture. Her research includes restoration of sacred sites, Indigenous women’s water traditions and teachings and implications for sustainability and examination of Bolivia’s agreement with Mother Earth and Living Well model.  As a founder of the Bdote Learning Center, Roxanne developed the model for the place-based Dakota and Ojibwe language immersion school and presently serves on the boards of Makoce Ikikcupi, a Dakota land recovery project, as an elder for Dream of Wild Health, a Native gardening project, the American Indian Advisory Committee for the Science Museum of MN and the Indigenous Educational Institute.

Karen Gran
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Karen Gran teaches several courses in geology, including “Geomorphology” (GEOL 3210) and the sustainability liberal education approved course “Geology and Earth Systems” (GEOL 1110).  One of Karen’s interests is researching anthropogenic impacts on the natural landscape.

Mindy Granley
Office of Sustainability
(218) 726-8198

Mindy Granley is the Director of the UMD Office of Sustainability, and she works to communicate, coordinate, and assess campus progress in sustainability in teaching, research, and operations. She mentors sustainability interns and undergraduate researchers, leads tours/talks, and assists faculty in course projects. Her M.S. is in Water Resources Science, focused on watershed systems and protection. She is co-Chair of the Sustainability Operations Committee.

Brian Gute
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Brian Gute teaches the sustainability liberal education approved course “Principles of Green Chemistry” (CHEM 2901).

Randy Hanson
Department of Geography, Urban, Environment & Sustainability Studies

Randy Hanson teaches the course “Sustainable Food Systems” (ES 3100), which is approved for the sustainability liberal education requirement. Randy also coordinates the Sustainable Agriculture Project at UMD, and he was a 2012 University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment Resident Fellow.

Charlene Harkins
Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation

Charlene Harkins teaches the sustainability liberal education approved course “Health and Wellness Strategies for Life” (HLTH 1100).

Elizabeth Hill, Ph.D.

Department of Chemical Engineering


Elizabeth Hill teaches the 10 principles of Green Engineering as part of her course “Polymer Engineering” (CHE 5131). Within her Introduction to Chemical Engineering (CHE 1011), she encourages students to participate in K12 STEM outreach kits related to sustainability.  Elizabeth is an Institute on the Environment Educator Affiliate and her research focuses on material degradation processes with emphasis on polymers and water systems for lifetime extension or recycling. She is a member of the AIChE, ASEE, and SWE as well as on the board of the non-profit organization Sustainable Duluth Superior (SDS) Makers.


Alison Hoxie
Department of Mechanical Engineering

Alison Hoxie teaches courses in Sustainable Energy Systems and created the Lincoln Park Shines project.  She is the faculty lead on the UMD Small Wind Research Project and serves as co-Chair of the UMD Sustainability Operations Committee.


Ryan Hueffmeier
Natural Resources Research Institute

Ryan Hueffmeier is the Sustainability Coordinator and researcher at the Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI).  Ryan’s focus is research, outreach, and education towards sustainability and ecological literacy. He does this through promoting public participatory research focused on the social, economic, and ecological resources in our region.

Michelle Johnson-Jennings
Research for Indigenous Community Health (RICH)

RICH aims to provide an interdisciplinary center for research collaborations with Indigenous entities. RICH further aims to foster scholarly works that will identify health barriers and protective factors to increase healthcare equity for Indigenous patients.

Thomas Johnson
Large Lakes Observatory|

Tom Johnson is interested in paleoclimatology, and water sustainability and climate on the world’s great lakes, with emphasis on the Great Lakes region of East Africa.  He is becoming involved with solar energy development in northern Minnesota.  Tom is a Regents Professor and a Fellow of the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment.

Melissa A. Maurer-Jones, Ph.D.

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry



Melissa Maurer-Jones is an analytical chemist that studies how plastics degrade under a variety of environmental conditions, including photochemical and microbial forces, with the goal to work toward influencing the design of materials. Dr. Maurer-Jones teaches Quantitative Analysis, Instrumental Analysis, and Environmental Chemistry, which has an emphasis on a semester long project to evaluate the water quality of local Duluth streams.

Joan Kwako
Department of Education

Joan Kwako teaches the sustainability liberal education approved courses “Managing Planet Earth” (EDUC 1201) and “Science, Technology, and Society” (EDUC 4234).

Lara LaCaille
Department of Psychology

Lara LaCaille teaches several courses in the Department of Psychology, including Social Psychology (PSY 3201).  One of Lara’s interests is social psychology as it relates to environmental attitudes, concerns, motivations, and behaviors. She was the faculty lead on the Ianni Hall Energy Competition, which was created as part of an online course in Social Psychology.

Michael Mageau
Department of Geography, Urban, Environment & Sustainability Studies
(218) 726-6133

Mike Mageau is the Director of the Environment & Sustainability Program.  Mike also directs the Center for Sustainable Community Development, which is associated with the Victus Farm project.  In addition, Mike teaches the sustainability liberal education approved course “Issues in Global Ecology” (ES 2803), and he directs the Sustainable Development Research Opportunities Program (SDROP).

Kathryn Milun
Department of Sociology/Anthropology
(218) 726-7071

Kathryn Milun teaches the course “The New Commons” (CST 4500), which is approved for the sustainability liberal education requirement.  Kathryn’s current research investigates the concept of solar commons, and she is also a 2014 University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment Resident Fellow.

Guy Sander
Department of Chemical Engineering

Guy Sander teaches the sustainability liberal education approved course “Biorenewable Resources” (CHE 4603).  Guy is interested in sustainable engineering and the demonstration of hands-on engineering.

Abigail Clarke-Sather
Mechanical & Industrial Engineering


Abigail Clarke-Sather is a former Engineers without Borders faculty advisor and has connected students to work with local and international non-profits on community sustainable development projects within and outside of the classroom. Student design projects included storm water management in parks, pedestrian bridge repair, and the design of nature preschool classrooms using green materials. Her research involves utilizing used clothing as a resource for newly manufactured textile products.

Julie Slowiak, PhD, BCBA, Pn1

Department of Psychology


Julie Slowiak teaches several courses in the Department of Psychology for which sustainable practices to support behavior change are emphasized. These courses include Applied Behavior Analysis and Behavior Change (PSY 3613), Learning and Behavior (PSY 3611), Behavioral Approaches to Worker Wellbeing (PSY 5025), and Organizational Systems and Development (PSY 8705).  Julie is a behavioral psychologist whose research, teaching, and applied work focus on designing sustainable physical and social environments to support individual and organizational health, performance, and wellbeing. You can find out more about Julie's teaching and scholarly interests here: She is currently mentoring a UROP project to evaluate the association between room temperature and task performance.

Stacey Stark
Department of Geography, Urban, Environment & Sustainability Studies

Stacey Stark is the Director of the UMD GIS Lab.  Stacey serves on the Leadership and Modeling Sustainability Subcommittee, and she is active with the Sustainable Agriculture Project at UMD.

Steven Sternberg
Department of Chemical Engineering

Steve Sternberg teaches several courses in chemical engineering, including “Introduction to Environmental Engineering” (ChE 2001) and “Air Pollution Control” (ChE 4613).  Steve works to show his students how concepts of sustainability inform policy decisions and technological development.

David Syring
Department of Sociology/Anthropology

David Syring teaches the sustainability liberal education approved course “Anthropology and the Environment” (ANTH 4631).  David also works with the indigenous community of Saraguro, Ecuador, (particularly the women’s cooperative La Megacooperativa Artesanal de Los Saraguros) to explore the economic, social and cultural dimensions of sustainability in transnational contexts.  In addition, David is active with the Sustainable Agriculture Project at UMD, and he researches the NE MN regional food system.

Timothy Roufs
Department of Sociology/Anthropology

Timothy Roufs teaches the course “Anthropology of Food” (Anth 3888), which is approved for the sustainability liberal education requirement.

Elizabeth Ruark
Department of Education

Beth Ruark is a faculty member in early childhood education and teaches science, sustainability and environmental education methods for young children and family systems.  Beth teaches the sustainability liberal education approved course “Managing Planet Earth” (EDUC 1201).  Her background includes being a naturalist at different environmental learning centers, teacher training in Project Wild and Learning Tree and running a sustainable farm for many years.

Sean Walsh
Department of Philosophy

Sean Walsh teaches the sustainability liberal education approved course “Environmental Ethics” (PHIL 3325).  Sean is interested in examining the ethical considerations at the core of issues of sustainability.


Large Lakes Observatory
Full directory of researchers and staff 
(218) 726-7926

Located on the Duluth campus of the University of Minnesota, the Large Lakes Observatory (LLO) is the only institute in the country dedicated to the study of large lakes throughout the world. We focus on the global implications of our investigations in the areas of aquatic chemistry, circulation dynamics, geochemistry, acoustic remote sensing, plankton dynamics, sedimentology and paleoclimatology.

Natural Resources Research Institute
Full directory of researchers and staff 

The mission of NRRI is to foster the economic development of Minnesota’s Natural Resources in an environmentally sound manner to promote private sector employment. Their goals:

  • Involvement in near-term economic development efforts that directly contribute to private sector job creation and retention and to the vitality of communities.
  • Establishment and utilization of applied research capabilities in focused natural resource areas to develop the products, processes and services that serve northern Minnesota, the state and the region in an intermediate to long-term time frame.
  • Performance of research on natural resources to provide the tools, knowledge and experiential training required for sound short and long term environmental and economic decisions.

Geospatial Analysis Center
Full directory of researchers and staff

The Geospatial Analysis Center (GAC) at the University of Minnesota Duluth is a student workforce-driven geographic information systems (GIS) services organization with statewide visibility and relevance. GAC has a decade-long record of external contract work with state agencies, counties, and regional organizations. The Center’s staff also provide assistance in classrooms and research projects across campus. GAC supports the UMD GIS program by raising its visibility and demonstrating high-quality consulting services as well as supporting the development of a workforce that is well-prepared for graduate school and the GIS industry.

Services may include project design, identification of system and data needs, data acquisition, budget estimates, analysis or oversight of a project. Data storage and hardware checkout is also available. The Center is also a resource for technological advancement information in the fields of remote sensing, geographic data analysis, and global positioning systems.