As an institute of higher learning, the most important aspect of Colorado College is academics. Environmental Science and other sustainability related topics are popular majors at the college, and many of the school’s academic programs involve sustainability- related study. The Office is working to establish a designation that would denote sustainability related courses on student transcripts. The courses that would fall under the definition of this minor are listed in the Curriculum page.
The Office is also in conversation with the academic departments to establish Sustainability Minor or a Sustainability Certificate that would allow students to combine academic coursework with a co-curricular experience to receive recognition on their official transcript.
Colorado College students, faculty and staff also perform research on sustainability topics. Information about State of the Rockies, a program that documents the status of the Rocky Mountains ecology, and individual scientific resource performed by faculty and students can be found under the research tab.
In order to implement recommendations from the Strategic Knowledge Development process conducted in 2013-14 and in support of The Colorado College Plan: Building on the Block, Colorado College is developing a sustainability designation so that students may refer to specific learning objectives completed during their education at the college. Recommendations from the report to implement this designation are as follows:
The goal of sustainability education at CC is to fully and creatively utilize the strengths of the Block Plan in order to empower students to investigate the relationships between social, economic, and environmental challenges, particularly as they apply to our communities. Through a liberal arts education, sustainability studies at CC should strengthen our relationship to the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains as well as the broader human economy and the larger ecosystem in which it is embedded.
Sustainability offerings will be divided into two categories [following The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) guidelines]:
Sustainability-focused courses (T1) explicitly concentrate on at least THREE or more of the following topics and the potential relationships between them.
Sustainability-related course (T2) focus on at least ONE or more of the following topics and perhaps contemplate connections to other topics.
- Investigation and evaluation of the complex global systems in which sustainability exist (e.g. laws, economics and policies)
- Philosophical or theoretical frameworks through which to view environmental and sustainability issues
- Historical phenomena and patterns that have produced modern sustainability issues
- Social justice, environmental justice, and other equity concerns, including investigation of the complex social networks and dynamics of power that can perpetuate and complicate sustainability issues
- Possibilities for innovative connections between sustainability and different academic disciplines (e.g. Film and New Media Studies, Music, English)
- Understanding of, and critical thinking about the scientific method and how science can be applied to understanding natural systems and environmental issues
- Practice in technical and scientific skills and how they can be used to generate solutions to small and large scale sustainability challenges
- Practice in social and communication skills and how they can be used to generate solutions to small and large scale sustainability challenges
- Analysis and composition in literature, creative writing, design, visual arts, music and other art forms that can be used to generate solutions to small and large scale sustainability challenges
- Analysis of and engagement with other cultural perspectives to build an understanding around how they relate to sustainability
- Development of a "Sense of Place," including a better understanding of the many possible connections to one's surroundings and community
- Research or course activities that encourage engagement with our communities to help them flourish
- Research or course activities that focus on self-reflection (e.g. resource usage, waste generation, travel footprint, etc.)
The 2014 State of Sustainability Report indicates that as of the 2013-2014 academic year, the information from faculty scholarship profiles provided by the Dean’s Office indicates that 21 of 155 full-time faculty in 14 of 34 academic departments are engaged in sustainability research.
Learn more below to learn about which Colorado College professors are engaged in sustainability research.
Krista Fish, Anthropology
Fish is a biological anthropologist who studies primate ecology and evolution. In Central America and Madagascar, she researched the influence of habitat disturbance on primate biology and behavior. She is currently working with US, South African and Malagasy researchers to explore the evolution of primate body size and activity pattern.
Mario Montano, Anthropology
Montaño researches role of farming and water issues in the Southwest. He also researches the anthropology of food along the Texas-Mexican border.
Mark Smith, Economics & Business
Smith developed the first price index for western water rights with Matt Payne. With this research, they published “Price Determination and Efficiency in the Market for South Platte Basin Ditch Company Shares” in the Journal of the American Water Resources Association. He also researches the effects of salience on motivating voter behavior on greenhouse gas emissions reduction.
Daniel Johnson, Economics & Business
Johnson’s recent published work includes information on agricultural productivity and the importance of physical location and social networks for innovators. He also is going to research how energy prices affect innovation in natural resource extraction sectors.
Tina Valtierra, Education
Valtierra is a qualitative researcher in educator dispositions, culturally responsive education, and literacy.
Howard Drossman, Education
Drossman’s current research focuses on biogeochemistry, environmental chemistry and environmental education. Currently, he is studying how conceptions of ecological stewardship develop through education and experience. He is the founder of the Catamount Center and the Colorado College TREE (Teaching and Research in Environmental Education) Semester.
Mike Taber, Education
Taber is involved in science and education and focuses on how students learn inquiry through visualization and analysis of scientific data.
Miroslav Kummel, Environmental Program
Kummel is measuring the response of trees at alpine treeline to climate change on the western side of Pikes peak. He is also using mathematical theory to bridge empirical observation of spatial metapopulation dynamics of yucca aphids and coccinellid beetles.
Rebecca Barnes, Environmental Program
Barnes studies anthropogenic disturbance and ecosystem variability impact biogeochemistry of nitrogen and carbon, as well as how terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems process nutrients and carbon. Currently, her work is in the montane forests near Colorado Springs where she is investigating the effects of fire on forest carbon stock and resilience. Also, she is examining the role of tides in the processing of nitrogen and organic matter dynamics in the Mid-Atlantic.
Jean Lee, Environmental Program
Jean Lee’s research focuses on three specific research areas:
1) understanding the consequences of multinational agreements, especially at the local level;
2) the role of institutions in the governing of common property resources; and
3) the ways in which sustainable development can be equitable. She investigates these relationships by applying theories and tools from the fields of economics, sociology, and anthropology.
Christine Siddoway, Geology
Siddoway is a structural geologist who researches the Rocky Mountains and Western Antarctica. She recently investigated the development of Laramide mountains through faulting and deformation in Colorado and Wyoming. In the past, she has researched the growth of the continent through magmatism, tectonic accretion, and plutonism in Precambrian time. She also has done a lot of geological research in Antarctica on many different expeditions.
Tyler Cornelius, History, Environmental Program
Cornelius is a cultural and environmental historian who focuses on the North American West. Tyler’s current research focuses on the mid-century hydroelectric development of the Columbia River, and the social, cultural, and economic changes that came with it.
Emilie Gray, Organismal Biology and Ecology
Gray is an evolutionary physiologist investigating how insects and other arthropods adapt to ever-changing environments. Specifically, she studies how mosquitos respond to the stresses of climate change and the use of insecticide, and how that will determine the diseases they transmit. These diseases include Malaria, Dengue, Zika and West Nile. She also studies the responses of southwestern insects, such as scorpions and arthropods, responses to climate changes.
Marc Snyder, Organismal Biology and Ecology
Snyder researches how multi-species ecological interactions and their evolutionary consequences influence conservation and management. He also is researching the interactions between mammalian herbivores and forest trees, chemical ecology of bark beetle-conifer interactions in tropical and temperate forests, and impacts of forest management on wildlife population ecology.
Marion Hourdequin, Philosophy
Part of Hourdequin’s research is focused on environmental ethics. Recently, she has explored the social and ethical dimensions of ecological restoration, the ethics of global climate change and climate engineering, and the philosophical implications of the proposed new geological epoch known as the Anthropocene. She wrote “Environmental Ethics: From Theory to Practice” (Boombsbury, 2015) and co-edited “Restorying Layered Landscapes: History, Ecology and Culture” (Oxford, 2015) with David Havlick.
Corina McKendry, Political Science
McKendry’s researches the legitimacy, effectiveness, and equity in city environmental governance within the Global North. Specifically, she focuses on how leaders manage the “three pillars” of sustainability: environmental protection, economic growth, and social justice. She investigates how local politics, national legal context and the globalized economy intersects in cities and force leaders to negotiate trade-offs between the three pillars of sustainability. Through Routledge Press, McKendry wrote “Greening Post-Industrial Cities: Growth, Equity, and Environmental Governance.”
Andrew Price-Smith, Political Science
Price-Smith’s work focuses on the interdisciplinary fields of ecology, energy, and international politics, and analyzes the political and social determinants of biodiversity protection. He recently completed his fourth and fifth books, titled The Devil’s Tears: Oil, Ecology, and Human Security and Rising Threats, Enduring Challenges: Readings in US Foreign Policy.
Christiane Steckenbiller, Race, Ethnicity and Migration Studies
Steckenbiller’s manuscript “Putting Place Back into Displacement: Reevaluating Diaspora in the Contemporary Literature of Migration” shares how cultural geography and literary criticism influence the multiple ways migrants attach meanings and symbolism to their everyday lived space.
Wade Roberts, Sociology
Part of Roberts’ research is focused on using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to map the distribution of community hazards, resources, and events to inform our understanding of the spatial dimensions of inequality and poverty.
Eric Perramond, Southwest Studies
Perramond is an environmental geographer and recently published a book he co-authored titled “An Introduction to Human-Environmental Geography” (2013, WILEY-Blackwell). He has recently investigated water adjudications and management in the state of New Mexico, and written “Unruly Waters” on his research. He also researches protected areas in the Pyrenees, and human-environmental dynamics in relation to global climate change.
Marie Davis-Green, Theatre & Dance
Currently working with environmental and design students on local community renovation projects including the Pikes Peak Summit House, the Bon/Weber corridor and the Ivywild Greenhouse. These projects are in collaboration with local entrepreneurs, community and business partners. She is continuing personal work on eco-conscious performance installation.