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News & Events

August 12th, 2008

School of Sustainability?

Jim White and Alan Townsend are co-authors--along with Paul Komor and Carl Koval (Renewable and Sustainable Energy Initiative), Konrad Steffen (CIRES) and Sam Fitch (Environmental Studies)--on an article for InsideCU (The CU-Boulder faculty/staff e-newsletter) that argues for a more formal administrative structure for environmental education and research at CU-Boulder.

The traditional structure of the university--with individual departments focused on their own disciplines--makes it an uphill battle to do the kind of interdisciplinary research and education needed to help meet our energy and environmental challenges. These challenges are not just science, or technology, or economics, or business, or public policy challenges: they involve all these fields and more. Developing solutions, as well as offering up-to-date educational programs, must bring in our best minds from across campus. CU-Boulder has numerous programs with demonstrated teaching and research excellence in this area but needs to move ahead or we will lose our hard-earned reputation as a national leader in climate/energy/sustainability research and education. We should work together to develop a visible organizational structure and establish new teaching and research facilities that recognize who we are in a way that will attract new faculty and students, as well as public and private investment. This could be a new School of Sustainability, College of Energy and Environment, a New Vice-Chancellor of Sustainability, or a new institute.