University ranks among ‘Sustainable 16’ in environmental academics

March 26, 2012

Rouge RiveSustainability is more than a goal at University of Michigan-Dearborn.

It’s a lifestyle.

And that devotion recently earned UM-Dearborn the distinction of being named one of the nation’s top colleges and universities for sustainability.

Enviance, Inc. and Environmental Leader this month announced the nation’s top 16 schools, in regard to excellence in environmental academics.

UM-Dearborn made the list, along with Baylor University, Duke University and University of Florida. No other Michigan schools made the cut.

“It gives us some credibility,” said Orin Gelderloos, UM-Dearborn professor of biology and environmental studies. “It’s nice to be recognized.”

In order to be recognized among the “Sustainable 16,” schools had to complete surveys that explained their credentials. A panel of expert judges then evaluated those surveys.

“The ‘Sustainable 16’ has been selected from a highly-competitive field of colleges and universities who responded to our survey looking for the top environmental studies programs in the country,” said Lawrence Goldenhersh, CEO and president of Enviance. “These are the institutions that will prepare the next generation of environmental professionals to lead environmental compliance, sustainability and social responsibility programs for some of the world’s largest companies.”

Gelderloos nominated UM-Dearborn and was pleased Enviance recognized the University’s sustainability efforts. As was Jerold Hale, College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters’ dean.

“Being included on the list does speak to the excellent quality of the environmental studies and environmental science faculty,” Hale said. “It also speaks to the University’s commitment to environmental issues and sustainability. That commitment starts with the University’s Metropolitan Vision and extends to the Environmental Interpretive Center, and the environmental sciences and environmental studies curriculum.”

Students enrolled in UM-Dearborn’s environmental studies program focus on the interdisciplinary nature of environmental problem solving at the local, regional and international levels. Enrollment in the program is “on an upswing right now,” Gelderloos said.

And at the center of it all, the Environmental Interpretive Center (EIC) promotes environmental sustainability through community education and scientific research. The Center’s mission is to promote human and ecosystem health and sustainability through environmental education, research and service, said Gelderloos, former EIC director.

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