Developing Change Agents: Innovative Practices for Sustainability Leadership

Given the grand environmental and societal changes we face, leadership development for graduate students is an area of great opportunity to cultivate the next generation of sustainability leaders. This important work of leadership development is often seen as either a natural byproduct of higher education, or a non-essential add-on.

As colleges and universities develop the scientist-leaders of the future, this requires an awareness of how to navigate the complex social and environmental challenges that take transdisciplinary knowledge and creativity. In the scientific disciplines, there is an acknowledgement that leadership training is needed to ensure the success of research projects by knowing how to manage a team and by ensuring productivity which can lead to outcomes that enhance career advancement (Kvaskoff & McKay, 2014; Clayton, 2015). However, there are very few programs that offer such leadership training to scientists, and beyond these programs, even fewer are designed to help scientists-in-training to develop the capacity to address wicked problems.

In response, this book seeks to provide a context for the need for these programs and the practices that can address the gaps from knowledge to action, and action to impact within the context of graduate education. We welcome chapters that address research, theory and are especially interested in innovative practices and models that can be replicated by other organizations and institutions.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to our call for proposals. The deadline was May 1, 2018.

Contributing Authors


Lessons from Building a Successful Leadership Program
Aleta Weller, Senior Research and Engagement Officer, School of Global Environmental Sustainability, Colorado State University
Diana Wall, Director, School of Global Environmental Sustainability, Professor, Department of Biology, University Distinguished Professor, Colorado State University

Where Living and Learning Meet: Bringing the City into the Classroom
Ann Dale, Professor, School of Environment and Sustainability, Royal Roads University
Hilary Leighton, Assistant Professor, Royal Roads University

Science Outside the Lab (North): A Science and Public Policy Immersion Program in Canada
Kimberly John, Project Administrator, McGill University
Matt Harsh, Assistant Professor, Centre for Engineering in Society, Concordia University
Eric Kennedy, Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes, Arizona State University

Creating Global Change Agents through Leadership and Communication Skills Development
David Syncox, Skills Development Manager, McGill University
Kimberly John, Project Administrator, McGill University
Elena Bennett, Professor, School of the Environment, McGill University


The Masters of Development Practice (MDP): Reflections on an Adaptive and Collaborative Program Strategy to Develop Integrative Leaders in Sustainable Development
David Wilsey, Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) Director, University of Minnesota
Glenn Galloway, Master’s in Sustainable Development Practice (MDP) Director, University of Florida
Karen Brown, Affiliate Faculty Member and Director of the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change, University of Minnesota
David Nugent, Professor and Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) Director, Emory University
George Scharffenberger, Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) Director, University of California Berkeley
Glenn Denning, Professor of Professional Practice in International and Public Affairs; Director, Master of Public Administration in Development Practice, Columbia University
Andre Correa d’Almeida, Adjunct Associate Professor of International and Public Affairs; Assistant Director of Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) , Columbia University
Claire Reid, Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) in Indigenous Development Director, University of Winnipeg
Larry Swatuk, Associate Professor and Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) Director, University of Waterloo
Nina Miller, Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) Director, Regis University
Katherine Snyder, Associate Professor and Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) Director, University of Arizona

Supporting and Developing Competencies for Transdisciplinarity Postgraduate Research: A PhD Scholar Perspective
Petra Holden, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the African Climate and Development Initiative, University of Cape Town
Jessica Cockburn, Environmental Learning Research Centre, Rhodes University, South Africa
Eureta Rosenberg, Environmental Learning Research Centre, Rhodes University, South Africa
Sheona Shackleton, African Climate and Development Initiative, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Architecture as Catalyst: Developing a Problem-Based Workshop Pedagogy to Identify New Transdisciplinary Inquiries
Jacob Mans, Assistant Professor, College of Design, University of Minnesota

Climate Change and Health: An Interdisciplinary Exemplar
Shanda Demorest, Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota School of Nursing
Teddie Potter, Clinical Associate Professor, University of Minnesota School of Nursing

Students as Drivers of Change: Advancing Sustainability Science, Confronting Society’s Grand Challenges
Carla Carlson, Special Consultant – Grand Challenges Research Initiative, Office of the Executive VP & Provost, University of Minnesota

Developing Communities of Change Agents: Three Global Case Studies
Isabel Rimanoczy, Convenor & Founder, LEAP! The UN PRME Working Group for Sustainability Mindset
Maurizio Zollo, Research Director & Co-Founder, GOLDEN for Sustainability
Tony Cooke, CEO & Co-Founder, One Planet Education Networks


Rethinking Graduate Student Training for Sustainability: A Model Focused on Collaboration, Empowerment, and Competencies Development
Karen Bieluch, Assistant Research Professor, University of Maine; Practice-based Learning Specialist, Dartmouth College
David Hart, Director, Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions, Professor, School of Biology and Ecology, University of Maine
Bridie McGreavy, Assistant Professor, Department of Communication and Journalism, University of Maine
Linda Silka, Senior Fellow, Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions, University of Maine
Aaron Strong, Assistant Professor, School of Marine Sciences, University of Maine

Embracing New Leadership Constructs: Graduate Leadership Education for a Sustainable and Peaceful Future
Kate Sheridan, Associate Director of Career Development, Falk School of Sustainability and Environment, Chatham University
Rian Satterwhite, Director, Service Learning and Leadership University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Whitney McIntyre Miller, Assistant Professor of Leadership Studies, Attallah College of Educational Studies, Chapman University

What it Takes for Emerging Sustainability Leaders to Inform Policy
Stephen Posner, Assistant Director of Policy Engagement at COMPASS; Affiliate Fellow at the Gund Institute for Environment at the University of Vermont

A Call to Co-Create the Future: Strategies for Developing and Supporting the Next Generation of Visionary Leaders and Change Agents
Kristi L. Kremers, Director of Graduate Leadership Programs, Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota

The Future of Science Leaders Inside and Outside the Academy
Jessica Hellmann, Director of the Institute on the Environment and Professor of Ecology, University of Minnesota


Contact Us

If you have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the editors:

Kristi L. Kremers
University of Minnesota

Alexander S. Liepins
McGill University

Abigail M. York
Arizona State University