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Committee Mandate

The Sustainability Committee seeks to promote conservation practices and the wise use of resources at UAS.  The committee makes recommendations to guide campus sustainability policies, advocates for these sustainability initiatives, and communicates the committee's activities to each member's respective departments.

What is Sustainability?

Sustainability is a challenging concept to define.  One of the more familiar definitions comes from the United Nations Bruntland commission: "sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."  Similarly, the Environmental Protection Agency states: "Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment.  To pursue sustainability is to create and maintain the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony to support present and future generations."  The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education adopts a broader definition, defining sustainability "in an inclusive way, encompassing human and ecological health, social justice, secure livelihoods, and a better world for all generations."

What does sustainability mean to committee members?

Reflecting the range of ideas and understandings of sustainability, when asked about the principles of sustainability, committee members suggested sustainability also includes:

  • fairness and equity
  • conservation of resources for the future
  • maintenance of life sustaining functions and resources
  • a holistic approach
  • leaving things better off for the next generation
  • contextual, integrative, and long-term planning
  • critical thinking which allows people to understand the consequences of their actions.
  • reduction in violence and warfare
  • thinking globally and acting locally

American Campus Act on Climate Pledge

In Fall 2015, UAS joined over 200 colleges and universities in signing the American Campus Act on Climate Change Pledge to demonstrate support for strong international climate action prior to the United Nations Climate Negotiations in Paris.  Chancellor Rick Caulfield's Statement on Environmental Sustainability and Stewardship can be found here.

2014 STARS ReportSTARS, a program of AASHE

In 2014, UAS completed a year-long sustainability audit with the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) program, earning a Bronze rating.  This places UAS on par with UAA in terms of sustainable practices.  

For more information about the AASHE STARS program, see the AASCHE web site:

Sustainability Research & Education

In the Spring of 2013, the Sustainability Committee adopted definitions of "sustainability research," "sustainability-focused courses," and "sustainability-related courses" at UAS.

Sustainability research explores sustainability-related social, economic, cultural, and environmental variables; or examines an issue or topic using sustainability as a lens.

Sustainability-focused courses concentrate on the concept of sustainability including it's social, economic, cultural, and environmental dimensions; or examine an issue or topic using sustainability as a lense. 

Sustainability-related courses incorporate sustainability as a distinct course component or module, or concentrate on a single sustainability principle or issue.

The goal of sustainability education is to provide students, regardless of their course of study, the knowledge and skills to help create a healthy economy, society, and environment.

In order to determine wheather or not a course has this goal in mind, it is useful to ask whether or not a given course will help students to achieve one or more of the following:

  • Understand and be able to effectively communicate the concept of sustainability.
  • Develop and use an ethical perspective in which they view themselves as embedded in the fabric of an interconnected world.
  • Become aware of and explore the connections between their chosen course of study and sustainability.
  • Develop technical skills or expertise necessary to implement sustainable solutions.
  • Understand the way in which sustainable thinking and decision-making contributes to the process of creating solutions for current and emerging social, environmental, and economic crises.
  • Contribute practical solutions to real-world sustainability challenges.
  • Synthesize understanding of social, economic, and environmental systems and reason holistically.
  • Contribute to the understanding of cultural sustainability through practice or investigation of Alaska's cultures.

A course does not have to accomplish all of these things to be designated as sustainability-related or sustainability-focused.

Committee Members

The UAS Sustainability Committee is a Faculty Senate Committee comprised of a rotating membership representing natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, education, and public administration.  Representatives from Facility Services, the Student Sustainability Club, and the university administration attend the meetings.  Meetings are scheduled by the Committee chair and held several times a term.

Lora E Vess

Assistant Professor of Social Sciences

Phone: 796-6152Fax: 796-6406


Glenn D. Wright

Assistant Professor of Political Science, USUAS-JC Advisor

Phone: 796-6115Fax: 796-6406


Barb C. Dagata

Administrative Assistant

Phone: 796-6409Second Phone:


Claude (Chip) McMillan

Associate Professor of Education

Phone: 796-6035


School of Education

Hendrickson Annex, 110, Juneau Campus

Juneau Campus


Program:  Secondary Education and Alaska Studies

Heidi Pearson

Assistant Professor of Marine Biology

Phone: 796-6271Fax: 796-6447


Arts and Sciences - Natural Sciences - Biology

Anderson Bldg, Rm 205C, Juneau Campus

Juneau Campus


Ph.D., Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, 2008
B.S., Duke University, Durham, NC, 1998

Curriculum vitae (.pdf)


Go here to learn about my marine mammal research lab, BREACH, and read the latest updates from the field.

Courses Taught

Biology of Marine Mammals (lecture and lab)
Cetacean Behavior and Behavioral Ecology (lab)
Conservation and Biology of Marine Birds and Sea Turtles (lecture)
Ecosystem Ecology and the Global Environment (lecture)
Human Anatomy and Physiology (lecture and lab)
Introduction to Biology (lecture and lab)
Marine Birds and Mammals (lecture and lab)
Marine Mammals and Ecosystem Change (seminar)
Marine Mammal Field Research Methods (lecture and lab)
Prospects for Planet Earth (lecture)

James E. Powell

Assistant Professor of Public Administration

Phone: 907-209-5676


School of Management

Novatney Bldg, Rm 108, Juneau Campus

Juneau Campus


University of Alaska Fairbanks, PhD, Natural Resource Policy and Sustainability Science – 2012

University of Alaska Southeast, MPA – 1995

Rochester Institute of Technology, Eisenhower College, BA, 1978


Jim has spent most of his life in Alaska with over three decades working on environmental and natural resource policy and management, and local governance issues. His public service includes nine years on the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly with 3 years as Deputy Mayor. His dissertation research and current research interests are community and institutional adaptive capacity in response to climate change, sustainability, and local decision-making.  He currently teaches natural resource policy, local sustainability, public administration, and local governance courses. Jim balances his teaching with serving on several state and local nonprofit boards.  He also lectures and consults on sustainability planning.  He is a member of the International Association for Society and Natural Resources, and Ecological Society of America.

Kevin Maier

Associate Professor of English, Humanities Department Chair

Phone: 796-6021Fax: 796-6406


Arts and Sciences - Humanities

Juneau Campus


Ph.D. Department of English.  University of Oregon. 2006. Structured Emphasis in Literature and Environment.  Passed oral examination with distinction.

Dissertation: "The Environmental Rhetoric of American Hunting and Fishing Narratives: A Revisionist History" (Chair: Suzanne Clark).

 M.A. Department of English.  University of Oregon.  2002. 

 B.A. Department of English.  Western Washington University.  1997. 

Cum Laude.  Junior Semester abroad, University of Hull, England.



  •  Introduction and co-editor with Sarah Jaquette Ray. Critical Norths: Space, Nature, Theory. In progress. 
  • Introduction and editor.  Teaching Hemingway and the Natural World.  Under Contract with Kent State UP.  
  • "Hunting." Ernest Hemingway in Context. Ed. Suzanne del Gizzo and Debra Moddelmog. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2012. 267-276.  
  • "'A Trick Men Learn in Paris': Hemingway, Esquire, and Mass Tourism." The Hemingway Review 31.2 (2012): 65-83.
  • "Hemingway's Ecotourism:  Under Kilimanjaro and the Ethics of African Travel." ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment. 18.4 (2011): 717-736.
  • "Hemingway's Hunting:  An Ecological Reconsideration."  The Hemingway Review.  25.2 (2006): 119-122.
  • Contributing editor. The Shape of Reason: Argumentative Writing in College. John T. Gage.  Fourth edition. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2004.          


  • Review of Trout. (James Owen).  ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment 20.2 (2013): 440-441.
  • Review of Surfer Girls in the New World Order. (Krista Comer). ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment 19.1(2012): 200-201.   
  • Review of Catching the Ebb: Drift Fishing for a Living in Cook Inlet. (Bert Bender). ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment 18.1(2011): 221-222.
  • Double review of The Accidental Explorer: Wayfinding in Alaska. (Sherry Simpson) and Living with Wildness: An Alaskan Odyssey(Bill Sherwonit). ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment 16.4 (2009): 886-868.
  • Review of In Darkest Alaska: Travel and Empire Along the Inside Passage. Robert Campbell. Western American Literature 43.4 (2009): 422-423. 
  • Review of Speaking of Earth: Environmental Speeches that Moved the World. Edited by Alon Tal.  ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment 15.2 (2008): 284-285.


   National and International Conferences:

  • “ASLE Juneau: The Report from the 2012 Off-Year Symposium.” Association for the Study of Literature and Environment Biennial Conference, Bloomington, Indiana. June 2013.  
  • "Teaching Hemingway and the Natural World: How, Why, When, What." 15 th Biennial Hemingway Society Conference. Petoskey, Michigan. June 2012
  • "Poaching, Hunting, and Environmentalism in D'Arcy McNickle's 'Meat for God' and The Surrounded." 46 th Annual Western Literature Association Conference, Missoula, Montana. October 2011.
  • "Guns, Bikes, and Helicopters: An Ecological Apologia for Leisure." Association for the Study of Literature and Environment Biennial Conference, Bloomington, IN. June 2011. 
  • "Building your Professional Identity: Funding, Publishing, and Conferencing." Association for the Study of Literature and Environment Biennial Conference, Bloomington, IN. June 2011.
  • "'A Trick Men Learn in Paris': Hemingway, Esquire, and Mass Tourism." 14 th Biennial International Hemingway Society Conference. Lausanne, Switzerland.  June 2010.
  • "Environmental Humanities in the Undergraduate Curriculum: Lessons from a Small Public Liberal Arts Institution."  American Society for Environmental History. Portland, OR, March 2010.
  • "World-making Through Alternative Sport Films."  Co-presentation with Kevin Krein.  International Association for the Philosophy of Sport Conference, Seattle, WA. August 2009.
  • "Dissolving Disciplines, Resolving Questions:  The Challenges of Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Education at a Small Open-Admissions University." Association for the Study of Literature and Environment Biennial Conference, Victoria, BC.  June 2009.
  • "Traces of the Industrial Sublime: Salmon Hatcheries and Tourism in Southeast Alaska" Western Literature Association Conference, Boulder, CO. October 2008.
  • "Stuck in Raymond Carver's America." Western Literature Association Conference, Tacoma, WA. October 2007.
  • "Hemingway's Ecotourism:  Under Kilimanjaro and the Ethics of African Travel." American Literature Association Conference, Boston, MA. May 2007.
  • "Hemingway's Hunting:  An Ecological Reconsideration." International Ernest Hemingway Society Conference, Ronda, Spain. June 2006.
  • "The Conservation of Sporting Literature:  The Environmental Rhetoric of American Sporting Narratives."  Association for the Study of Literature and Environment Conference, Eugene, OR.  June 2005.
  • "Hatching Wildness: The Rhetoric of Wild Salmon." Association for the Study of Literature and Environment Conference, Boston, MA.  June 2003.


  • "The Captivity Narrative: Mary Rowlandson and the advent of a genre" (English 223 Survey of British and American Literature). UAS April 2012.
  • "The centrality of Critical Thinking and the Liberal Arts Tradition."  National Teach-In in response to Corporate Greed, part of session entitled "The History of Unions and the Ascendancy of Capital." UAS. April 2011.
  • "Between Science and Anti-Science:  What does Science have to do with Literary Study?" (English 423 Ecocriticism). UAS December 2010.
  • "All Things Sustainable: The Report from UAS." Presentation at All Things Sustainable Roundtable. University of Alaska Fairbanks. April 2010.
  • "Salmon Hatcheries and Mass Tourism in Southeast Alaska."  UAS Spring Forum on Animals.  March 2010.
  • "Traces of the Industrial Sublime: Hardrock Mines, Salmon Hatcheries, and Mass Tourism in Southeast Alaska." Guest Lecture (Video-recorded).  English 365 (Alaska Literature: Native and Non-native Perspectives). February 2010.
  • "Salmon Hatcheries and Industrial Tourism in Juneau: An Ecological Approach to Interdisciplinary Research."  University of Alaska Southeast.  Interdisciplinary Brown Bag Work-in-Progress Series.  October 2008. 
  • "D'Arcy McNickle's The Surrounded and the Imperialist Ramifications of Sport." University of Alaska Southeast.  Guest Lecture, English 418: The West in Books and Film. July 2007.
  • "Steelhead Flyfishing: A Literary History." University of Alaska Southeast. Guest Lecture, Outdoor Studies 293: Fly Fishing.  April 2007. 
  • "Make it new?  Make it Local: On the Necessity of Teaching Local Issues in Composition." University of Oregon Fall Composition Conference.  September 2005.
  • "Preparing to teach Composition for the First Time."  Guest Lecture.  University of Oregon. English 611: Composition Instructor Training Seminar.  March 2004.
  • "Teaching A Forest of Voices."  University of Oregon.  English 611: Composition Instructor Training Seminar.  February 2003.
  • "Ecocomposition and the Politics of Teaching."  University of Oregon Fall Composition Conference.  September 2002.



  • Association for the Study of Literature and Environment
  • Western Literature Association
  • The Hemingway Society

Courses Taught


 Associate Professor of English.  University of Alaska Southeast. 2013-present.

 Assistant Professor of English.  University of Alaska Southeast. 2006-2013. 

 Visiting Assistant Professor of English. University of Alaska Southeast.  2004-2005.

 Courses taught (UAS):

  • English 493: Travel Writing (Independent Study) Fall 2006.
  • English 423: Ecocriticism.  Spring 2008.
  • English 420: The History of the American Novel. Fall 2009.
  • English 419: Major Authors, Ernest Hemingway.  Fall 2010.  Major Authors, Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner. Spring 2007.
  • English 418: Perspectives on the Animal. Team-Taught with philosopher Dr. Kevin Krein. Spring 2009.
  • English 418: Hemingway in Cuba. Spring 2012.
  • English 418: Environment, Culture, and Place in a Rapidly Changing North. Co-Taught with Dr. Sarah Ray. Spring 2012.
  • English 418: The Wilderness Act at 50: A Critical and
  • English 363: Nature Writing.  Fall 2004.  Fall 2006.  Fall 2008.  Fall 2010.  Fall 2012.
  • English 303: Literature and the Environment.  Fall 2007. Spring 2009.  Spring 2010.  Spring 2011. Spring 2012.
  • English 226: Survey of American Literature II, 1865-present. Spring 2005. Spring 2007. Fall 2008.  Spring 2010. Fall 2010 (Directed Study). Fall 2011.   
  • English 225: Survey of American Literature I, Beginnings to 1865. Fall 2004. Fall 2006. 
  • English 215: Introduction to Literary Criticism.  Fall 2008 (Directed Study).  Spring 2009.  Spring 2012 (Directed Study).
  • English 111: Methods of Written Communication. Fall 2004 (two sections). Spring 2005 (two sections). Fall 2007 (two sections). Spring 2008 (two sections). Fall 2008.  Fall 2009.  Spring 2011. Summer 2011. Fall 2011. Summer 2012.
  • English 110: Basic College Writing. Spring 2007.
  • Humanities 393: Cuban Language, Literature, and Culture. Team taught in country with Dr. Dan Monteith, Claudia Wakefield, and Forest Wagner. Spring 2012.
  • Humanities 393: Climate Change, Climate Solutions: Seminar on Climate Change Advocacy and Activism. Summer 2008.
  • Humanities 200: Introduction to the Liberal Arts.  Spring 2011. Fall 2013.
  • Humanities 120: Sense of Place, Alaska and Beyond.  Team taught. Fall 2009. Fall 2010 (lead instructor).  Fall 2011 (lead instructor). Fall 2012 (lead instructor).  Fall 2013 (lead instructor).
  • Humanities 193: Environment, Ethics, and the UAS Experience.  Team taught with Geologist Dr. Sonia Nagorski.  Summer 2007.
  • Philosophy 271: Perspectives on the Natural World. Fall 2006.
  • Outdoor Studies 293: Fly Fishing II: Service Learning and Steelheading. Spring 2011.  Spring 2012. Spring 2013.
  • Outdoor Studies 193: Introduction to Fly Fishing.  Fall 2010. Fall 2011. Fall 2012.  Fall 2013. 

 Thesis Committees (UAS):

  • Advisor.  Ben Crozier, "Images of the Arctic: A Literary Review."  2008. 
  • Advisor.  Jess Eller, "Salmon Hatcheries and Alaska."  2010.
  • Committee. Seth Griffin, "Chinese Environmental Literature."  2011. 

 Graduate Teaching Fellow.  University of Oregon.  Fall 2000-Spring 2004, Fall 2005, Spring 2006.   

   Courses taught (UO):

  • English 410: Americans in Paris.  (Assistant to Dr. George Wickes).  Summer 2002.
  • English 222: Introduction to the Major III: American and British Literature, 1789-present.  (Discussion sections for Dr. Paul Peppis). Spring 2004.  Spring 2006. 
  • Writing 121: College Composition I.  Fall 2001. Winter 2003. Summer 2004.
  • Writing 122: College Composition II.  Winter 2002. Spring 2002. Fall 2002. Spring 2003. Fall 2005.  

 Writing Lab Fellow.  University of Oregon. Academic Learning Services.  2000-2001. 



  • UAS Faculty Excellence Award for Service, 2010-2011. 
  • Alaska EPSCoR, National Science Foundation Travel Grant. Spring 2009. 
  • Wilson Fund Travel Grant. Spring 2007. Fall 2007. Fall 2008. Fall 2009.  Spring 2010. Spring 2011. Fall 2011.  Fall 2012.
  • International Polar Year, National Science Foundation Outreach Grant, funding for Humanities 393 Course.  Summer 2008.
  • University of Alaska Special Projects for Retention, funding for Humanities 193 Course. Summer 2007.  
  • Outstanding Composition Teacher Award.  Department of Composition, University of Oregon.  2001-2002. 



  • Co-coordinator, Association for the Study of Literature and Environment Off-year Symposium, “Environment, Culture, and Place in a Rapidly Changing North.” University of Alaska, June 2012.


  • United Academics Faculty Union, AAUP/AFT Local 4996, Area Representative, 2009-2012. 
  • Alaska State Writer's Consortium, Board Member.  National Writing Project.  2007-2009.

    University of Alaska Southeast: (selected)

  • Geography and Environmental Studies BA Degree Program Coordinator.  Spring 2013-present.
  • English BA Degree Program Coordinator. Fall 2009-Fall 2014.
  • Co-Director of Writing. Fall 2010-present.
  • UAS Sustainability Committee, Chair, Fall 2009-present. Co-chair, 2008-2009.
  • Assistant Director of Composition.  2009-2010
  • Coordinator of Humanities 120, Freshman Seminar course.  Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012.
  • One Campus, One Book Selection Committee, 2011.
  • "I'm going to college" Program for 5th-graders. Yakutat School District. Yakutat, Alaska.  May 2010. May 2011. May 2012. May 2013.
  • "Why College, Why UAS?" Recruiting program, Yakutat School District.  May 2010.  May 2011. May 2012. May 2013.
  • Faculty Mentor, Guide Program for first-time Freshmen.  2009-2010.
  • Chair, English Search Committee. 2008-2009.
  • Communication Search Committee. 2008-2009.
  • Faculty Advisor, UAS Bike Club. 2007-2009.
  • Chancellor's Task Force on Retention, Learning Communities Sub-Committee. Spring 2007-2009.
  • Portfolio Review Committee, English 110: Basic College Writing.  Fall 2006-Spring 2009.
  • Editorial Board, Tidal Echoes (UAS literary journal). 2009. 2012.
  • Learning Center Writing Placement Test Scoring Committee, Spring 2008. 
  • English Curriculum Committee, 2006-2008. 
  • Co-Coordinator, UAS Spring Forum: Sustainability and Juneau Energy. 2007-2008.
  • Co-Coordinator, UAS Spring Forum on Sustaining Culture, Community, and Environment.  2006-2007.
  • Steering committee, Pacific Rim Forum: Interdisciplinary Conference on Economics and the Environment. 2004-2005.
  • Chair, Bachelor of Liberal Arts Final Portfolio Committee.  2006-2007.
  • English Search Committee. 2005-2006.
  • Bachelor of Liberal Arts Junior Portfolio Reader. 2004-5.

   University of Oregon:

  • Association for the Study of Literature and Environment, Host Institution Steering

Committee for 2005 Biennial Conference.

  • Writing 122 College Composition II Curriculum Committee/Pilot Project.  2004. 
  • Composition Program Grammar Handbook Selection Committee.  2004
  • Assistant Director of Composition.  2003-2004.
  • Coordinator, University of Oregon Fall Composition Conference.  September 2003.
  • Composition Committee.  2002-2003.
  • Shop Steward.  Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation Union. 2001-2004.


  • 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act Celebration, Organizing Committee Summer 2013-present
  • Glory Hole Garden Evaluation Team, 2012-2013.
  • Discovery Southeast, Board Member.  2010-2013.
  • Poetry in the Parks, Juneau City and Bureau Program, Organizing Committee. 2009.
  • Bike to Work Week, Co-coordinator. 2006-2009.
  • Salmon Watch Volunteer.  Oregon Trout, Western Oregon Region.  2002-2004. 
  • Books to Prisoners, Seattle WA. Volunteer.  1998-2000. 
  • Copper Canyon Press, Port Townsend, WA.  Intern. Summer 1997.


  • Seminar on Writing Across the Disciplines with Dr. John Gage. University of Oregon. Invited participant. Winter 2003.
  • Teaching Effectiveness Program, Classroom Observation.  University of Oregon.  Winter 2002.  
  • Composition Instructor Training Series. University of Oregon.  Winter-Fall 2001.

Michael Ciri

Vice Chancellor for Administration

Phone: 796-6570Fax: 796-6276


I.T. Services

Hendrickson Bldg, 111, Juneau Campus

Juneau Campus


Michael Ciri was raised in the wilderness by wolves and dropped in front of the Mourant Building in 1982 to fend for himself. And he fended well. He went from student to student employee to a regular employee in computing in 1986. He became director of Information Technology and Media Services in 2000.

He is UAS educated, receiving an AA in 1988, a B.A. in Liberal Arts in 1994 and received his master's in Public Administration in 2007. He also holds the record for most consecutive years of living in student housing and is in the UAS mascot hall of fame as the original "Spike" the whale.

Sonia Nagorski

Assistant Professor of Geology

Phone: 796-6580Fax: 796-6406


Arts and Sciences - Natural Sciences

Soboleff Bldg, 208, Juneau Campus

Juneau Campus


Ph.D. Geology, 2001, University of Montana, Missoula, MT

M.S. Geology, 1997, University of Montana, Missoula, MT

B.A. Geology and History, 1994, Amherst College, Amherst, MA

Curriculum vitae (PDF)


Environmental geochemistry, including:

  • Trace metal occurrence and dynamics in hydrological systems, including water, sediment, and biota
  • Atmospheric mercury deposition and cycling
  • Water quality assessment and monitoring

Courses Taught

  • Environmental Science/Geography 102: Earth and Environment
  • Geology 105: . Geological History of Life
  • Geology 104: Physical Geology
  • Environmental Science/Geography 213: Natural Hazards
  • Mathematics 055: Introduction to Algebra
  • Chemistry 103L Introduction to General Chemistry (lab)
  • Humanities 120 Alaska: A Sense of Place
  • Humanities 193 Environment, Ethics, and the UAS Experience
  • Geology 301: Geomorphology
  • Geology 320: Geological Resources and the Environment

Susan L. Kendig

Term Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Phone: 796-6275Fax: 796-6447



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