Developing Change Agents: Innovative Practices for Sustainability Leadership

Release Date: Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019

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.

Contributing Authors


Building a Successful Leadership Program
Aleta Weller, Senior Research and Engagement Officer, School of Global Environmental Sustainability, Colorado State University
Diana H. Wall, Director, School of Global Environmental Sustainability, Professor, Department of Biology, University Distinguished Professor, Colorado State University
Nancy Baron, Director of Science Outreach for COMPASS

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

Empowering Sustainability Leaders: Variations on a Learning-by-Doing Theme
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


The Master 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
George Scharffenberger, Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) Director, University of California Berkeley
Claire Reid, Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) in Indigenous Development Director, University of Winnipeg
Karen Brown, Affiliate Faculty Member and Director of the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change, University of Minnesota
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
Larry Swatuk, Associate Professor and Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) Director, University of Waterloo

Supporting and Developing Competencies for Transdisciplinary Sustainability Research: A Ph.D. 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

Climate Change and Health: An Interdisciplinary Exemplar
Shanda Demorest, Member Engagement Manager at Practice Greenhealth
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 Leaders in Place: 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

Policy Engagement for Sustainability Leaders
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

Challenges and Opportunities for Training Agents of Change in the Anthropocene
Jessica Hellmann, Director of the Institute on the Environment and Professor of Ecology, University of Minnesota
Leah Gerber, Professor; Director, Center for Biodiversity Outcomes; Senior Sustainability Scientist, Arizona State University


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