A scholar on the integration of environmental studies and sustainability programs in higher education opens Lawrence University’s 2010 Spoerl Lectures in Science and Society series. The theme for this year’s three-part series is “The Greening of Higher Education.”

Nan Jenks-Jay, dean of environmental affairs at Vermont’s Middlebury College, presents “Sustainability and the Liberal Arts,” Wednesday, May 12 at 7 p.m. in Thomas Steitz Science Hall Room 102. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Nan-Jenks-Jay_web
Nan Jenks-Jay

As dean of environmental affairs, Jenks-Jay had been instrumental in raising Middlebury’s nationally recognized environmental academic program to new heights and integration. She will examine Middlebury’s success in integrating sustainability as a visible aspect of the culture of the college, present examples on how sustainability is integrated into the academic program and discuss the importance of empowering students.

For nearly three decades, Jenks-Jay has been involved in environmentally related work as an administrator, educator, ecologist and consultant. She has been associated with the two oldest undergraduate environmental studies programs in the country, spending 15 years at Williams College and the past 14 at Middlebury. She also has developed new undergraduate and graduate environmental programs for the University of Redlands in California.

Her extensive experience has earned Jenks-Jay invitations to chair external review committees for more than a dozen college and university environmental programs. She has served on several international and national committees, state governmental boards and numerous commissions and lectures frequently on topics related to the environment, sustainability and transformational change within higher education.

Other presentations on this year’s series include:

• May 18, “The Role of the Arts in Sustainable Community Development,” Amara Geffen, professor of art and director of the Center for Economic and Environmental Development, Allegheny College.

• May 19, “Education in Action for a Sustainable Future,” Debra Rowe, president, U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development and professor, sustainable energies and behavioral sciences, Oakland Community College.

The environmental lecture series is sponsored by the Spoerl Lectureship in Science in Society. Established in 1999 by Milwaukee-Downer College graduate Barbara Gray Spoerl and her husband, Edward, the lectureship promotes interest and discussion on the role of science and technology in societies worldwide.