Social Sciences

Environmental and Energy Policy Research

Environmental and energy policy is an emerging discipline within the social sciences. In response to our social responsibilities and impacts on the natural environment, environmental and energy policy seeks to better understand human decision-making that directly or indirectly affects our natural world. Environmental and Energy policy—MS and Environmental and Energy Policy—PhD research in the social sciences department investigates this issue from a number of interrelated perspectives, including energy production and consumption, environmental governance, and human relations with the natural environment, emphasizing sustainability. Water management and policy is one of our areas of specialization. 

Researchers

Mary Durfee
"Good things come in small packages—you can get a GREAT liberal arts education from us. Our graduates get jobs and enroll in fine graduate programs at universities like Yale, Michigan, and Johns Hopkins."
—Mary Durfee

Mary H. Durfee

  • Professor Emerita

Areas of Expertise

  • Great Lakes of North America
  • International Law
  • Malta
  • Scholarship of Pedagogy
  • Arctic Affairs

Hugh S. Gorman

  • Department Chair, Social Sciences
  • Professor of Environmental History and Policy, Social Sciences

Fields

  • Environmental Policy and History
  • History of Technology
  • History of Science
  • Economic History

Research Interests

  • The historical interaction between technological change, uses of the environment, and systems of governance
  • Adaptive governance
  • Sustainable energy and environmental policy

Kathleen E. Halvorsen

  • Interim Associate Vice President for Research Development
  • University Professor of Natural Resource Policy
  • Joint Appointment in Social Sciences and SFRES

Areas of Expertise

  • Climate change mitigation policy
  • Arctic climate change impacts
  • Energy conservation policy
  • Renewable energy policy
  • Indigeneity and climate policy

Nancy Langston

  • Professor of Environmental History, Social Sciences
  • Member of the Great Lakes Research Center
  • Affiliated Professor, SFRES

Areas of Interest

  • Toxics, forested watersheds, and northern lakes
  • Environmental history
  • Watershed change and water quality
  • Mining history

Audrey L. Mayer

  • Professor of Ecology and Environmental Policy, SFRES

Areas of Expertise

  • Landscape ecology
  • Conservation Biology
  • Environmental and Natural Resources Policy
  • Sustainability science

Mark D. Rouleau

  • Associate Professor, Social Sciences

Research Interests

  • Social simulation
  • Agent-based modeling
  • Land-use modeling
  • Norm evolution
  • Survey design
  • International relations
Barry Solomon
"Economics is too important to leave to economists."

Barry D. Solomon

  • Professor Emeritus of Geography and Environmental Policy

Area of Expertise

  • Energy Policy
  • Renewable Energy Development
  • Ecological Economics
  • Emissions Trading
  • Geography of Energy
Sam Sweitz
"All this information, this material, must be taken up and reconsidered in the light of man himself, and one must try if possible, to rediscover, beyond all the details, life itself... Everything must be recaptured and relocated in the general framework of history, so that...we may respect the unity of history which is also the unity of life."
—Fernand Braudel, On History, 1980.

Sam R. Sweitz

  • Associate Professor of Anthropology & Archaeology

Research Interests

  • Historical and Industrial Archaeology
  • Social, Economic, and Political Dimensions of Haciendas, Plantations, and Industrial Communities in the American West, Latin America, and the Caribbean
  • Issues Related to Colonialism, World-Systems Analysis, post-Colonialism, and Globalization
  • Relevance of Archaeology and Heritage to Identity Formation and Contemporary Social Systems
Adam Wellstead
"Academics are the only people I can think of for whom this sentence makes sense: 'I'm hoping to get some time off so that I can get some work done.'"
—Sidney Verba

Adam M. Wellstead

  • Associate Professor of Public Policy, Social Sciences

Areas of Expertise

  • Policy advisory systems
  • Governance and political mechanisms
  • Survey research
  • Policy process frameworks

Areas of Interest

  • Canadian Energy and Environmental Issues
  • Climate Change Adaptation
  • Oil Sands Development
  • Forest Policy
  • Canadian Studies
  • Policy Innovation Labs
  • Policy Design

Richelle L. Winkler

  • Associate Professor of Sociology and Demography, Social Sciences

Areas of Expertise

  • Rural Sociology
  • Population and Environment
  • Environmental Sociology
  • Community Engaged Scholarship
  • Internal Migration
  • GIS and spatial analysis

Shan Zhou

  • Assistant Professor, Environmental and Energy Policy

Fields

Environmental and Energy Policy

Research Interests

  • Environmental & Energy Policy
  • Smart Grids, Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency & Green Buildings
  • Sustainable Technology Adoption & Diffusion
  • Environmental and Energy Justice
  • Urban and Local Sustainability
  • Policy Processes
  • Policy Analysis