Behavior, Education, and Communication Faculty
Max McGraw Professor of Sustainable Enterprise; Director, Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise
Dr. Joe Árvai is the Max McGraw Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the School for Environment and Sustainability, and the Stephen M. Ross School of Business. He is also the Director of the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise. Joe is an internationally respected expert in the risk and decisions sciences, and he is a frequent advisor to governments, government agencies, NGOs, and the private sector.
The research carried out by Joe and his group has two main areas of emphasis: First, Joe and his research group conduct experiments and surveys aimed at advancing our understanding of how people—working individually and in groups—process information and make choices with a specific focus on how people make (or, often, attempt to avoid) necessary tradeoffs. Second, Joe and his team conduct research focused on developing and testing decision-aiding tools and approaches that can be used by people to improve decision quality across a wide range of environmental, social, and economic contexts.
Research in Joe’s group is applied, and accounts for decision-making by a broad spectrum of public and stakeholder groups, as well as by technical experts, business leaders, and policy makers. To support their applied focus, Joe and his group conduct research across a wide range topical and pressing decision contexts; these contexts range from environmental risk management and business strategy, to consumer choice and policy-making.
A hallmark of the work in Joe’s group is making results and recommendations from their research available and—importantly—useful to wide range of audiences, including other scholars, policy-makers, business leaders, and the public.
Assistant Research Scientist
Victoria Campbell-Arvai, PhD, serves as an Assistant Research Scientist at SEAS. Her research uses field and laboratory experiments as well as interviews and focus groups to understand the roles of knowledge, values, attitudes and beliefs as drivers of direct and indirect pro-environmental behaviors. She also works to improve individual and community engagement on environmental and social issues, and to use insights from judgement and decision-making research to support these participatory processes. Because positive environmental attitudes do not always lead to pro-environmental behaviors, she is additionally interested in the role of information provision and behavioral interventions to motivate and support behaviors that lead to positive environmental outcomes.
Campbell-Arvai's other research interests include the factors that influence the acceptability of behavioral interventions in a broad variety of pro-social and pro-environmental contexts; perceptions of the value of reconstructed and restored habitats; student engagement around environmental sustainability; and information provision and other interventions to improve efficacy, motivation and perceptions of control related to engagement with and knowledge of environmental issues.
The particular contexts that she works in include food, water, and energy systems urban biodiversity and green infrastructure, and habitat management and conservation.
Raymond De Young, PhD, is a broadly trained psychologist, planner, and engineer. He serves as an Associate Professor of Environmental Psychology and Planning at SEAS, an Associate Professor in the Program in the Environment (PitE), a Faculty Associate at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum, and a Faculty Affiliate for the Graham Sustainability Institute. His research focus is on the process of re-localization, a response to emerging biophysical limits and the consequences of having deeply disrupted the Earth's ecosystems. De Young applies conservation and environmental psychology principles to the challenge of helping people to envision and adopt pragmatic behavioral responses that support an urgent transition to a life lived within local resource limits. Despite what for some people is a dismal forecast, his work is decidedly hopeful. He is described as neither an optimist nor pessimist when it comes to human behavior, but rather an idealist without illusions.
His current work includes both theoretical and empirical research on (1) helping people to pre-familiarize themselves with the behavioral apsects of the coming resource downshift, (2) motivating environmental stewardship and voluntary simplicity using intrinsic motivation and innate satisfactions and (3) using nature to restore the mental vitality needed for responding to and coping with the lean and difficult yet exciting times ahead. Two current projects include examining the psychological foundations of behavioral aesthetics and behavioral entrepreneurship, and the promotion of voluntary simplicity.
Paige Fischer, PhD, serves as an Assistant Professor at SEAS. Fischer's research group focuses on human dimensions of environmental change. The primary goal of her research is to increase scientific understanding of human behavior as it relates to the sustainability of socio-ecological systems. She also investigates factors that enable and constrain human adaptation to environmental change including natural hazards and climate-related changes.
Fischer is particularly interested in understanding the capacity of individuals (e.g., private landowners) and organizations (e.g., natural resource agencies and environmental organizations) to adapt to environmental change through individual and collective natural resource management and environmental conservation actions. She draws on theories from the fields of natural resource sociology and human geography in my work. Her methods include qualitative interview analysis, quantitative survey analysis and social network analysis. She collaborates with researchers from diverse disciplines using a broad range of analytical approaches and strives to address problems of concern to local practitioners.
Professor; Theodore Roosevelt Chair of Ecosystem Management; Director, Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum
Bob Grese serves as Director of the Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum. His teaching and research involve ecologically-based landscape design and management that respects the cultural and natural history of a region. Grese is particularly interested in the restoration and on-going management of urban wilds and the role such lands can play in re-connecting children and families with nature. He has long been fascinated by the work of early designers such as Jens Jensen and Ossian Cole Simonds who borrowed from the native landscape in their work, as there is much to be learned about their designs and their fate over time. He has a growing interest in green roofs and other low impact design strategies.
Professor Hardin’s areas of interest and scientific study include human/wildlife interactions, and social and environmental change related to wildlife management, tourism, logging, and mining in equatorial Africa, especially the western Congo basin. Recent projects also focus on the increasingly intertwined practices of health, environmental management, and corporate governance in southern and eastern Africa, including sites in South Africa and Kenya. In 2013-14 she advised a student team studying environmental justice cases within the U.S., and connecting them to the international Environmental Justice Atlas. In 2014–15 she advised a student team assessing groundwater and surface water resources across the African continent, and advising GETF about how to make a better business case for water related investment by businesses in Africa. She teaches and mentors students interested in international environmental practice and policy, wildife management, human relationships to landscape, environmental justice, and global health. She also provides support for the students who are the genius behind SEAS's weekly environmental talk and music show, It’s Hot in Here, airing at noon on Fridays on WCBN FM 88.3, and with an accompanying blog and mp3 archive. The show helps researchers discuss their work with local audiences interested in environmental policy affecting Michigan, and also reach out to national and transnational audiences streaming the show via the Internet. Her recent book Transforming Ethnographic Knowledge explores the discipline of anthropology as a set of skills and tools for social change in sectors as different as business, biological conservation, conflict resolution, and biomedical care. Rebecca teaches courses in both SEAS and the Department of Anthropology, she also founded and coordinates SEAS's Environmental Justice Certificate Program for students beyond those two units working in or studying communities who are either negatively impacted by environmental harms, or experiencing inequality of access to environmental goods and ecosystem services. Rebecca currently coordinates the Environmental Justice field of study and coordinates the Michigan Sustainability Cases initiative.
Andy Hoffman is the Holcim (US) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise; a position that holds joint appointments at the School for Environment and Sustainability and the Ross School of Business. He also also serves as education director of the Graham Sustainability Institute. His research focuses on corporate strategies that address environmental and social issues. His disciplinary background lies in the areas of organizational behavior, institutional change, negotiations and change management. He has published more than 100 articles and eleven books, two of which have been translated into five different languages. Prior to academics, he worked for the US Environmental Protection Agency, Metcalf & Eddy, the Amoco Corporation, and T&T Construction and Design, Inc. In 2004, he was a Senior Fellow with the Meridian Institute.
Dr. MaryCarol Hunter is a landscape architect and ecologist with a research program that encompasses social, psychological and ecological aspects of sustainable urban design. Recently funded work focuses on the design of resilient urban green space under climate change and current work focuses on the impact of nature experiences on mental wellbeing. She also develops research-based design guidelines in support urban sustainability by creating places that people appreciate and protect.
Julia Wondolleck’s research and teaching is focused on the collaborative dimension of marine, coastal and terrestrial ecosystem management. She is interested in the structure of policy and administrative processes that promote the sustainability of ecological and human systems in the face of diverse yet legitimate interests, scientific complexity, and often conflicting and ambiguous legal direction. Wondolleck has spent over 30 years examining the emergence and functioning of inter-organizational and community-based collaborative processes in ecosystem-scale resource planning and management. These processes often arise in response to natural and/or social system crises. This research looks at both conflict and collaboration in the management of public natural resources and, in particular, the factors that promote and sustain collaborative resource management processes over time. Current research projects include: assessing lessons for policy and practice from marine and coastal ecosystem-based management initiatives around the world; understanding the factors that enable resilience of local communities; examining effective end user engagement in collaborative science; and, advancing understanding of the connections between the factors that encourage and sustain collaborative ecosystem management initiatives and the institutional arrangements that might better enable community-level adaptation to the effects of climate change.
Professor Yaffee's research focuses on collaborative decision making on complex environmental and sustainability choices, including the ways that traditional political processes and organizations function, and how new collaborative structures can be developed to encourage more effective decision making. He is particularly interested in landscape-scale conservation and sustainable natural resource management, and how decision-making institutions can be encouraged to take on an ecosystem-scale perspective. Of particular interest is policy involving biological diversity, public lands, marine and coastal ecosystems and energy. Yaffee's research and teaching draws from substantial on-the-ground work with nonprofit organizations and charitable foundations in facilitating dispute resolution and collaborative problem-solving processes, and in helping them develop monitoring, evaluation and adaptive management strategies. He is committed to professional education at SEAS and teaches skill-building courses in political and institutional analysis, negotiation and mediation.
Professor Zint led the development of My Environmental Education Evaluation Resource (MEERA). MEERA provides environmental educators with resources to conduct and improve evaluations of their programs. Dr. Zint conducts on-going research on predicting responsible environmental behavior. A current study seeks to identify ways a federal watershed education grant program can foster changes in teachers’ environmental education practices and students’ environmental actions. Her research interests include environmental education (behavior change, program evaluation, education for sustainability, professional development, pre-service education); environmental (risk) communication; social sciences and environment; business & environment (especially green marketing); water/fish/fisheries/Great Lakes (issues related to education, communication).