Research News

Earth Institute Educator to Head National Council of Environmental Deans and Directors

2008-01-23

posted: January 23, 2008

Earth Institute Educator to Head National Council of Environmental Deans and Directors

Dr. Stephanie Pfirman, Chair of the Earth Institute’s Education Subcommittee, has been elected President of the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors (CEDD).  Formed in 2001, CEDD is an association of 148 leaders from campuses across the country who come together to improve the quality, stature and effectiveness of academic environmental programs at U.S. colleges and universities.

Dr. Pfirman is Alena Wels Hirschorn '58 and Martin Hirschorn professor in Environmental and Applied Sciences, Chair of the Department of Environmental Science at Barnard College, and Adjunct Research Scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. She was inaugurated as CEDD’s president at its winter business meeting in Washington, D.C. on the weekend of January 18, 2008.

CEDD is facilitated by the National Council for Science and the Environment as a part of its University Affiliate Program. The three-part mission of CEDD is to promote and support research and educational efforts in the interdisciplinary environmental sciences; to facilitate the formulation of goals and advice for environmental education and research programs; and to promote information exchange between CEDD members, other environmental scientists, government agencies and the public.

“I am excited about leading the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors during the coming years,” says Pfirman. “The changing environment is posing critical challenges for the earth and our society.  Through our faculty, researchers and students we are building the capacity to understand the changes, as well as developing strategies to manage them.”

Throughout her career, Pfirman has been involved with researching the Arctic environment, undergraduate education, interdisciplinary curriculum development, environmental policy strategies and public outreach.  As Department Chair at Barnard, Pfirman has developed new courses including “Exploring the Poles,” “Climate,” “Energy Resources,” “Oceanography” and “Environmental Data Analysis.” She has revised the curriculum for majors, expanded the faculty, established links with related departments at Barnard and Columbia, acquired new instrumentation, and moved the department into renovated facilities.  Her current research interests include environmental aspects of sea ice in the Arctic, and the development of women scientists and interdisciplinary scholars.  Pfirman is also co-principal investigator of the NSF-sponsored Advancing Women in the Sciences initiative at the Earth Institute.

Past CEDD presidents include Bruce Coull, Dean Emeritus of the School of the Environment at the University of South Carolina; Brad Smith, Dean of the Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University and former Director of the Office of Environmental Education for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; and Tony Michaels, Director of the Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Southern California.