Situated within the nation’s top public research university, the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS) has been a pioneer in environmental education, research, and activism for more than a century.
From its inception in 1903, SEAS has recognized the need to continually evolve its curriculum to reflect and drive advances in science and societal values. Considered the birthplace of modern environmental education, SEAS is the seed and steward of global environmental consciousness and action. While inspiring public action through widespread outreach, we have pioneered many fields of study that are today considered standard. These include ecological design, environmental law and education, responsible natural resource management and conservation, sustainable systems life cycle analysis, remote sensing, and environmental justice. Our faculty, researchers, and alumni have made countless breakthroughs in advancing environmental sustainability to improve the health of our planet and its people long into the future.
SEAS offers the nation’s most integrated and comprehensive environmental education for graduate students. It’s the only school of its kind to combine natural sciences, social sciences, engineering, policy, planning, and design as one shared educational experience – a multidisciplinary integration critical to all successful efforts of sustainability. Our students go well beyond scientific inquiry, learning to translate research into action, places and landscapes, community outreach, and to promote sustainable systems and policy at all levels. A commitment to public good and the well being of our planet underlies everything we do.
Equity and justice are at the core of all that we teach, and all that we do, at SEAS. We recognize that mainstream environmentalism has its roots in racist ideologies and practices, which have caused irrevocable harm to Black, marginalized, Indigenous, and underrepresented peoples in Michigan, the United States, and around the world. As a school that is committed to advancing just environmental sustainability, we will continue to develop curricula and critical pedagogies, as well as conduct engaged research that seeks to dispel racist ideologies and to work on developing more attentive and reflective critical environmental thoughts and actions. Through our Decolonizing SEAS Initiative, for example, we are examining the SEAS curriculum to acknowledge the harmful impacts of colonialism and its contribution to systemic racism, both past and present, and rethinking it so that it is more inclusive of different cultures and perspectives.
Our Environmental Justice program was the first academic environmental justice program in the nation and remains at the forefront of the field’s teaching, research, scholarship, and advocacy. To build upon SEAS’ rich history of leadership in environmental justice, we recently established the Tishman Center for Social Justice and the Environment. The Tishman Center is part of a broader effort to enhance diversity, equity, justice, and inclusion at SEAS, and it builds upon the efforts of the SEAS Equity and Justice Initiative and complements the work being done by our first Faculty Director of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and expanded SEAS DEI team.
We are committed to the ongoing action it takes to foster a culture at SEAS, U-M, and within society that advances equal rights for all, and to being a leader in fighting injustice and racism, both on campus and off.
SEAS is a hub for interdisciplinary collaboration and research at the University of Michigan. Taking a holistic approach, we foster partnerships, initiatives, and projects that tap into the vanguard expertise of faculty across campus. Whether through alternative future scenario development, systems modeling, design ideation, engineering, ecological forecasting, geographic information systems, or economic analysis, SEAS brings an entrepreneurial, impact-driven mindset to sustainability challenges. As a result, our graduates know how to identify and analyze the underpinnings of environmental problems and are able to formulate holistic solutions that are simultaneously inspirational and technically, economically, and socially feasible. That's environmental sustainability for the long term.
In 1967, it was said that the students of Samuel Graham, professor emeritus and one of SEAS’s most influential early leaders, “are found in nearly every country in the world, leading a wide array of scientific, educational, and land management enterprises.” The same can be said today on an exponentially larger scale. SEAS is proud to have the largest, most expansive alumni network of any environmental school in the nation. More than 8,500 active SEAS alumni are serving as true stewards of the environment, using what they learned in Ann Arbor to help sustain every corner of the globe. There are SEAS alumni in every state and in more than 80 countries.