Environmental Studies Program Announces New Director, Faculty Members and Staff for 2011-12

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October 24, 2011—Professor of Psychology Heidi Harley, a faculty member at New College of Florida since the fall of 1994 and a previous director of Environmental Studies (2002-2004), has been named director of the Environmental Studies Program again at Florida’s public college for the liberal arts and sciences. She has been on the Environmental Studies Steering Committee since 2002 and succeeds political science professor Frank Alcock as director.

The Environmental Studies Program (ESP) at New College offers students a challenging core curriculum in environmental studies as well as specialized advanced training in one of several tracks, including Environmental Science, Environmental Policy, Ecological Anthropology and Environmental Literature, Religion and Philosophy. The ESP supports a variety of student and community environmental projects, all of them stressing hands-on, interdisciplinary and regional work.

Professor Harley is a comparative cognitive psychologist who researches bottlenose dolphins in captivity, with a focus on the dolphin’s understanding of its world. She has investigated questions concerning echolocation, dolphin whistles, spatial memory, rhythm processing and imitation. A former whale and dolphin trainer at Miami Seaquarium, she believes that it is a moral imperative to preserve the dolphin’s habitat, including the Gulf of Mexico and Florida’s coastal and estuarine marine systems.

“I am looking forward to working more closely with the students and faculty involved in the Environmental Studies Program this year,” says Harley, who holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and master’s and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. “We have visiting and adjunct faculty with interesting research programs and interdisciplinary backgrounds that are sparking excitement in our students and faculty.”

Environmental studies faculty for the 2011-12 academic year include Diana Weber, in her second year as visiting assistant professor of environmental studies and biology; Iván Ramírez as visiting assistant professor of environmental studies/geography; and Jieun Lee, also a geographer, as adjunct instructor of environmental studies. New College alumna Diana Ward has been named to the position of office manager in Environmental Studies.

Diana Weber is teaching courses on Coastal Ecology, Scientific Communication Skills: Writing and Oral, and Conservation Genetics this semester. In the spring, she will be teaching two unique environmental courses: Biology, Conservation, and Management of Marine Mammals, and for a second time at New College, Environmental and Anthropogenic Stress on Organisms and Ecosystems. Weber’s research interests are on the effects of increasing physiological and environment stress on wild populations, and the effects of reduced variability and severe reductions in population sizes (‘bottlenecks’) in animals. In particular, she is interested in selection pressures on the immune system in species from extreme environments. She previously received a postdoctoral fellowship from the National Science Foundation’s Office of Polar Programs to study the genetic diversity of a portion of the immune system in Arctic marine and terrestrial mammals. In 2005, she was a guest scientist on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s humpback whale photo-identification and biopsy cruise in the Bering Sea.

Weber studied in the master’s program at California State University, Long Beach in biological sciences/marine biology before transferring to the University at Albany, SUNY where she earned her Ph.D. in biological sciences and taught Marine Biology and Biology of Marine Mammals. She has been awarded numerous research awards, including two from the National Science Foundation. In 2008, she won the University at Albany’s Paul C. Lemon Award for her thesis contribution to the “understanding of the ecological and environmental problems, inter-relationships and challenges in man’s natural world.” Weber believes it is important to properly train and mentor the next generation of scientists and conservationists and has made it her core philosophy since she finished her Ph.D.

Iván Ramírez’s teaching and research interests are multidisciplinary and focus on climate-ecosystem-society interactions, sustainability science and ethics, and capacity building. His goal is to understand how the interrelationships among climate, environmental and societal processes impact human vulnerability and health, and why some places and communities are more vulnerable to climate impacts than others.

Ramírez is a Consortium for Faculty Diversity (CFD) scholar at New College. The CFD is a group of approximately 40 liberal arts colleges, of which New College is a member, whose goal is to introduce a variety of young scholars from historically underrepresented populations to the experience of an academic career at a liberal arts college. As required, he is teaching two courses this academic year: Climate, Ecosystem and Society: A Climate Affairs Approach (fall 2011); and Sustainability Science: Case Studies from Latin America (spring 2012).

Ramírez holds a master’s degree from Columbia University and a bachelor’s from Hunter College of City University of New York. He just successfully defended his dissertation to receive a Ph.D. at Michigan State University. His research examined the spatial and temporal effects of El Niño-Southern Oscillation and social vulnerability on cholera incidence in northern Perú during the 1990s.

Jieun Lee is teaching Introduction to Environmental Studies this fall. She is a Ph.D. candidate in the Geography Department at Michigan State University. She has a BA in Geographical Education/ Social Studies and an MA in Geography from Ewha Women’s University in Seoul, Korea. Lee’s doctoral research focuses on sustainable urban environments, transportation equity, gender and public health in Detroit, Michigan. Lee was one of several authors of “Built Environments: Planning Cities to Encourage Physical Activity” in a book entitled Obesity in Childhood and Adolescence published in 2007. Previously she was a researcher at Seoul Development Institute in Seoul, Korea, where she contributed to several monographs on urban development, and was named Researcher of the Year in 2005.

Diana Ward came to New College in 2006 from Seattle, Wash., and in May 2010 graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology. During her time at New College, she worked as a teacher’s assistant in statistics, for field ecology and at Pritzker Marine Biology Research Center. After graduating, she pursued a job at the Maritime Aquarium in Connecticut as an educator. In that position, she was able to perform public environmental education outreach, traveling to various schools and teaching classes on marine life, the watershed, water cycle and on pollution. The job also allowed her to work on a research vessel and conduct shore studies to try and gather information about the biodiversity in Long Island Sound.


Since the founding of the Environmental Studies Program in 1972, nearly 200 students have graduated with environmental degrees, and many more have benefited from the environmental studies classes and projects. The interdisciplinary program is a favorite among New College students and reflects the College’s ongoing commitment to educating the next generation of environmentally-conscious citizens.

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Oct. ___, 2011 — Professor of Psychology Heidi Harley, a faculty member at New College of Florida since the fall of 1994 and a previous director of Environmental Studies (2002-2004), has been named director of the Environmental Studies Program again at Florida’s public college for the liberal arts and sciences. She has been on the Environmental Studies Steering Committee since 2002 and succeeds political science professor Frank Alcock as director.

 

The Environmental Studies Program (ESP) at New College offers students a challenging core curriculum in environmental studies as well as specialized advanced training in one of several tracks, including Environmental Science, Environmental Policy, Ecological Anthropology and Environmental Literature, Religion and Philosophy. The ESP supports a variety of student and community environmental projects, all of them stressing hands-on, interdisciplinary and regional work.

 

Professor Harley is a comparative cognitive psychologist who researches bottlenose dolphins in captivity, with a focus on the dolphin’s understanding of its world. She has investigated questions concerning echolocation, dolphin whistles, spatial memory, rhythm processing and imitation. A former whale and dolphin trainer at Miami Seaquarium, she believes that it is a moral imperative to preserve the dolphin’s habitat, including the Gulf of Mexico and Florida’s coastal and estuarine marine systems.

 

“I am looking forward to working more closely with the students and faculty involved in the Environmental Studies Program this year,” says Harley, who holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and master’s and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. “We have visiting and adjunct faculty with interesting research programs and interdisciplinary backgrounds that are sparking excitement in our students and faculty.”

 

Environmental studies faculty for the 2011-12 academic year include Diana Weber, in her second year as visiting assistant professor of environmental studies and biology; Iván Ramírez as visiting assistant professor of environmental studies/geography; and Jieun Lee, also a geographer, as adjunct instructor of environmental studies.

 

Iván Ramírez’s teaching and research interests are multidisciplinary and focus on climate-ecosystem-society interactions sustainability science and ethics and capacity building. His goal is to understand how the interrelationships among climate, environmental and societal processes impact human vulnerability and health, and why some places and communities are more vulnerable to climate impacts than others.

 

Ramírez is a Consortium for Faculty Diversity (CFD) scholar at New College. The CFD is a group of approximately 40 liberal arts colleges, of which New College is a member, whose goal is to introduce a variety of young scholars from historically underrepresented populations to the experience of an academic career at a liberal arts college. As required, he is teaching two courses this academic year: Climate, Ecosystem and Society: A Climate Affairs Approach (fall 2011); and Sustainability Science: Case Studies from Latin America (spring 2012).

 

Ramírez holds a master’s degree from Columbia University and a bachelor’s from Hunter College of City University of New York. He just successfully defended his dissertation to receive a Ph.D. at Michigan State University. His research examined the spatial and temporal effects of El Niño-Southern Oscillation and social vulnerability on cholera incidence in northern Perú during the 1990s.

 

Diana Weber is teaching courses on Coastal Ecology and Scientific Communication Skills: Writing & Oral this semester. Weber’s research interests are the effects on organisms from increasing physiological and environment stress, and the effects of reduced variability and potential bottlenecks on animal populations. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the National Science Foundation’s Office of Polar Programs, where she studies, writes and gives presentations on the consequences of a warming globe on polar mammals. In 2005, she was a guest scientist on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s humpback whale photo-identification and biopsy cruise in the Bering Sea.

 

Weber is the recipient of a master’s degree in biological sciences from California State University and a Ph.D. in biological sciences from the University at Albany, SUNY, where she was an instructor in the biology of marine mammals and marine biology. She has won numerous research awards, including two from the National Science Foundation. In 2008, she won the University at Albany’s Paul C. Lemon Award for her thesis contribution to the “understanding of the ecological and environmental problems, inter-relationships and challenges in man’s natural world.”

 

Jieun Lee is teaching Introduction to Environmental Studies this fall. She is a Ph.D. candidate in the Geography Department at Michigan State University. She has a BA in Geographical Education/ Social Studies and an MA in Geography from Ewha Women’s University in Seoul, Korea. Jieun’s doctoral research focuses on sustainable urban environments, transportation equity, gender and public health in Detroit, Michigan. Jieun was one of several authors of “Built Environments: Planning Cities to Encourage Physical Activity” in a book entitled Obesity in Childhood and Adolescence published in 2007. Previously she was a researcher at Seoul Development Institute in Seoul, Korea, where she contributed to several monographs on urban development, and was named “Researcher of the Year” in 2005.

 

In addition, New College alumna Diana Ward has been named to the position of office manager in Environmental Studies.

 

Ward came to New College in 2006 from Seattle, Wash., and in May 2010 graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology. During her time at New College, she worked as a teacher’s assistant in Statistics, for field ecology and at Pritzker Marine Biology Research Center. After graduating, she pursued a job at the Maritime Aquarium in Connecticut as an educator. In that position, she was able to perform public environmental education outreach, traveling to various schools and teaching classes on marine life, the watershed, water cycle and on pollution. The job also allowed her to work on a research vessel and conduct shore studies to try and gather information about the biodiversity in Long Island Sound.

 

Since the founding of the Environmental Studies Program in 1972, nearly 200 students have graduated with environmental degrees, and many more have benefited from the environmental studies classes and projects. The interdisciplinary program is a favorite among New College students and reflects the College’s ongoing commitment to educating the next generation of environmentally–conscious citizens.

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