Dorceta E. Taylor

James E. Crowfoot Collegiate Professor; Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion


Mellon-Rockefeller Postdoctoral Fellow.  University of Michigan - School of Public Policy and the School of Social Work (poverty and social inequality)
Postdoctoral fellowship at the University of London, Department of Geography.  Sponsored by the National Science Foundation
Ph.D., Yale University (environmental sociology) Joint doctorates from the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and the Department of Sociology
M.A., Yale University (environmental sociology)
M. Phil., Yale University (sociology)
M.F.S., Yale University (forest science and social ecology)
B.A., Northeastern Illinois University (Geography and Biology)

(734) 763-5327


In 2020, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) identified Professor Dorceta Taylor as one of the six people continuing Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy through her work. Professor Taylor's research interests include urban agriculture, food access, and food insecurity.  She was the principal investigator on a U.S. Department of Agriculture project that examined food access in Michigan.  The food access in Michigan project assessed disparities in access to healthy foods by examining the prevalence of supermarkets, grocery stores, farmer’s markets, liquor stores, gas stations, pharmacies, and other food outlets.  The study also looked at emergency food assistance at soup kitchens and shelters.  Journal articles such as, “Food Availability and the Food Desert Frame in Detroit: An Overview of the City’s Food System” (Environmental Practice), and “Black Farmers in the U.S. and Michigan:  Longevity, Empowerment, and Food Sovereignty”  (Journal of African American Studies), exemplify this work.

Dr. Taylor is a leading expert in the field of institutional diversity and workforce dynamics in the environmental sector.  She published an influential report in 2014 entitled The State of Diversity in Environmental Organizations:  Mainstream NGOs, Foundations, and Government Agencies. Professor Taylor is very engaged in diversity work.  Taylor is the director of two pathway programs to help underrepresented students embark on careers in environmental organizations.  She directs the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program at Michigan as well as the Environmental Fellows Program.  She is a renowned environmental historian who published the award-winning 2009 book, The Environment and the People in American Cities (Duke University Press).  Another of her books, Toxic Communities:  Environmental Racism, Industrial Pollution, and Residential Mobility (NYU Press, 2014) is recognized as one of the ten most influential books on climate change by Riot Books.  Her latest book is Power, Privilege, and Environmental Protection: Social Inequality and the Rise of the American Conservation Movement (Duke University Press, 2016).


Dorceta E. Taylor - Principal Investigator on all grants listed below.

  • 2020-2022. University of Michigan – Provost’s Office.  Odyssey Fellowship.  $347,087.
  • 2020-2022. University of Michigan – Rackham Graduate School.  Odyssey Fellowship.  $347,087.
  • 2020-2022. Mitsubishi Corporation.  “Environmental Fellows Program.”  $90,000.2020-
  • 2021. Erb Foundation. “Environmental Fellows Program.”  $120,000.2020.
  • Pisces Foundation.  “New Horizons in Conservation Conference.”  $25,000.
  • 2017-2020. The JPB Foundation. “Enhancing Cross-Cultural Diversity in the Environmental Field.”   $1,800,000.
  • 2015-2019. Environmental Grantmakers Association.  “Environmental Fellows Program.”  $1,497,000.
  • 2017-2018. Pisces Foundation.  “Enhancing Diversity in the Environmental Field.”  $50,000.
  • 2015-2021. Mott Foundation.  “Enhancing Cross-Cultural Collaboration and Environmental Advocacy in the Great Lakes Region.”  $750,000.
  • 2015-2021. Doris Duke Foundation.  Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program.  $3,282.720.
  • 2013-2015. Mott Foundation.  An Assessment of Cross-Cultural Collaboration and Environmental Advocacy in the Great Lakes Region.  $100,000.
  • 2013-2015. Joyce Foundation.  An Assessment of Cross-Cultural Collaboration and Environmental Advocacy in the Great Lakes Region.  $100,000.
  • 2012-2018. US Department of Agriculture.  “Examining Disparities in Food Access and Enhancing the Food Security of Underserved Populations in Michigan.” $4,000,000.
  • 2011. IRLEE – Office of the Vice Provost for Research seed research grant, $15,000.
  • 2011. School of Natural Resources and Environment faculty research grant, $15,000.
  • 2010. University of Michigan National Center for Institutional Diversity, $15,000.
  • 2010. Office of the Vice Provost for Research, $5,000.2010. School of Natural Resources Research Office, $5,000.
  • 2010. University of Michigan Office of the Vice Provost, $10,000.                   
  • 2009-2010. Ford Foundation, $140,000.
  • 2008-2009. Ford Foundation, $195,000.2008.
  • University of Michigan subvention award, $5,000.2007-2008. Ford Foundation, $100,000.
  • 2007-2008. Mitchell Kapor Foundation, $10,000.
  • 2007-2008. The National Center for Institutional Diversity, $6,000.
  • 2007-2008. The College of Literature Science and Art. $5,000.
  • 2005-2006. National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.  $56, 995.
  • 2005-2006. The Hewlett Foundation. $10,000.
  • 2005-2006. The Surdna Foundation. $10,000.
  • 2005-2006. The Environmental Protection Agency.  $10,000.
  • 2005-2006. Noyes Foundation.  $7,000.
  • 2005-2006. The Provost’s Office, University of Michigan, $5,000.
  • 2003-2006. National Science Foundation research grant.  $300,000.

  • 2020    Recipient of the Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal.  Presented to the Yale Graduate School Alumni Association to four alumni of the Yale Graduate School for Outstanding Achievements.
  • 2019    EcoWorks Sustainable Communities Champion Award.  EcoWorks Detroit.
  • 2019    Smithsonian Institution - Anacostia Museum.  Featured in Women in Leadership Exhibit.
  • 2018    National Science Foundation Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics & Engineering, Mentoring (PAESMEM).
  • 2018    University of Michigan Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award.
  • 2018    Freudenberg Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Environmental Science and Studies.
  • 2018    The 2018 Women in Conservation Rachel Carson Award from the National Audubon Society.
  • 2018    President’s Award from the Detroit Audubon Society.
  • 2017    Burton V. Barnes Award for Academic Excellence.  Sierra Club Michigan Chapter.
  • 2017    University of Michigan Team Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership Award.
  • 2016    University of Michigan award for Leadership on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Planning Process.
  • 2015    James E. Crowfoot Collegiate Chair.  University of Michigan.
  • 2015    Charles Horton Cooley Award for distinguished scholarship.  Michigan Sociological Association.
  • 2015    Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies Outstanding Alumnus Award.
  • 2015    Fred Buttel Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Environmental Sociology Award.  The Environment and Technology Section of the American Sociological Association.
  • 2014    Carol Hollenshead Award for Excellence in Promoting Equity and Social Change.  The Center for the Education of Women.  University of Michigan.
  • 2014    SF Environment.  Celebrating Black Environmentalists During Black History
    • Month.  Recognition as one of 29 top Black environmentalists named to the list.
  • 2012    Recipient of the Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award from the University of Michigan.
  • 2010    Winner of the Allan Schnaiberg Outstanding Publication Award for book, Environment and the People in American Cities, 1600s-1900s:  Disorder, Inequality, and Social Change.  Awarded to best publication for the period 2007-2009.  The Environment and Technology Section of the American Sociological Association.
  • 2010    People to Celebrate – Game Changer, Dorceta Taylor.  Earth911.
  • 2005    Edward P. Bass Distinguished Visiting Scholar – Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies.

Select publications: 


Taylor, Dorceta E. 2016.  The Rise of the American Conservation Movement:  Power, Privilege, and Environmental Protection.  Durham:  Duke University Press.   486 pages.

Taylor, Dorceta E.  2014.  Toxic Communities:  Environmental Racism, Industrial Pollution, and Residential Mobility.  New York University Press.  343 pages.

Taylor, Dorceta E.  2010.  Environment and Social Justice:  An International Perspective.  Edited by Dorceta E. Taylor.  Research in Social Problems and Public Policy, volume 18 (September). Bingley, UK:  Emerald Press.  490 pages.

Taylor, Dorceta E.  2009.  The Environment and the People in American Cities: 1600s-1900s.  Disorder, Inequality and Social Change. Durham:  Duke University Press.

  • Winner of the Allan Schnaiberg Outstanding Publication Award for the Environment and Technology Section of the American Sociological Association for works published between 2007 and 2009.  626 pages.


Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles:

  • 2019. Rybarczyk, Greg, Taylor, Dorceta E., and Brines, Shannon.  “A Geospatial Analysis of Access to Ethnic Food Retailers in Two Michigan Cities: Investigating the Importance of Outlet Type within Active Travel Neighborhoods.”  International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.  17(1): 166.  DOI: 10.3390/ijerph17010166. 
  • 2019. Taylor, Dorceta E.; Paul, Sophia; and McCoy, Ember.  “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and the Salience of Publicly Disclosing Demographic Data in American Environmental nonprofits.”  Sustainability. 11,5491.
  • 2019. Taylor, Dorceta E. “College Students and Nature: Differing Thoughts of Fear, Danger, Disconnection, and Loathing.”  Environmental Management.  DOI:  10.1007/s00267-019-01172-9. 
  • 2018. Taylor, Dorceta E. “Enhancing racial diversity in the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences.”  Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences. DOI:  10.1007/s13412-018-0518-1.  
  • 2018. Taylor, Dorceta E. “Racial and Ethnic Differences in Connectedness to Nature and Landscape Preferences Among College Students.”  Environmental Justice. /env.2017.0040.
  • 2018. Taylor, Dorceta E. “Black Farmers in the U.S. and Michigan: Longevity, Empowerment, and Food Sovereignty.”  Journal of African American Studies.  DOI: 10.1007/s12111-018-9394-8.
  • 2018. Burdine, Justin and Dorceta E. Taylor.  “Neighborhood Characteristics and Urban Gardens in the Toledo Metropolitan Area:  Staffing and Voluntarism, Food Production, Infrastructure, and Sustainability Practices.”  Local Environment. 23(2):  198-219. DOI:  10.1080/13549839.
  • 2017. 1397614.2018. Taylor, Dorceta E. “Racial and Ethnic Differences in the Students’ Readiness, Identity, Perceptions of Institutional Diversity, and Desire to Join the Environmental Workforce.”  Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences.  8:  152-168.  DOI:  10.1007 /s13412-017-0447-4.
  • 2015. Taylor, Dorceta E. “Gender and Racial Diversity in Conservation Organizations:  Uneven Accomplishments and Cause for Concern.”  Environmental Justice.  8(5):  165-180.
  • 2015. Taylor, Dorceta E. and Kerry J. Ard. “Detroit’s Food Justice and Food Systems.”   Focus.  32(1, Spring/ Summer):  13-18.
  • 2015. Taylor, Dorceta E. and Kerry J. Ard. “Food Availability and the Food Desert Frame in Detroit:  An Overview of the City’s Food System.”  Environmental Practice.  17(2):  102-133.
  • 2011. Taylor, Dorceta E. “The Evolution of Environmental Justice Activism, Research, and Scholarship.”  Environmental Practice.  13(4):  280-301.
  • 2011. Taylor, Dorceta E. “Racial and Gender Differences in Job Mobility and Wages of Employees in Environmental Organizations.”  Environmental Practice.  13(4):  370-385.
  • 2011. Taylor, Dorceta E. “Guest Editorial.”  Environmental Practice.  13(4):  274-275.2011. Taylor, Dorceta E. “Letter to the Editor.”  Journal of American History.  98 (3, December):  954-955.
  • 2007. Taylor, Dorceta E. “Employment Preferences and Salary Expectations of Students in Science and Engineering.” BioScience.  57, 2(February): 175-185.
  • 2007. Taylor, Dorceta E. “Diversity and Equity in Environmental Organizations: The Salience of These Factors to Students.” Journal of Environmental Education. Vol. 39 (1):  19-43.

  • American Sociological Association
  • Environment and Technology Section
  • Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, University of Michigan
  • Environmental Grantmakers Association

  • Specialization Council Committee Member
  • Environmental Justice Specialization Coordinator
  • Developed the Environmental Fellows Program in collaboration with the Environmental Grantmakers Association (national graduate student internship program)
  • Developed the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program at the University of Michigan (national undergraduate student internship program)
  • Initiated and directed the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
  • Oversaw the School of Natural Resources and Environment’s diversity, equity, and inclusion strategic planning process.
  • Chair of SEAS’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.
  • University of Michigan Unit Planning Lead for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Member of the University of Michigan Provost’s Committee on Poverty.
  • Chair of Food Systems Search Committee.
  • Chair of Select Committee for SNRE Promotion and Tenure Committee in SNRE.
  • SESYNC Advisory Meeting.  Held at SNRE.  May 3.
  • Field of Studies Council member in SNRE
  • Program in the Environment Advisory Committee member
  • Program in the Environment communications search committee.
  • Member of the Landscape Architecture Search Committee.
  • Member of Tenure and Promotion Committee – CAAS and the College of Architecture and Urban Planning.
  • Advisory Board Member.  Earth Day Network.  Washington, D.C.
  • National Academies of Sciences.  Committee Member.  Sustainability Education.
  • Advisory Committee member for the Woodrow Wilson Foundation’s Doris Duke Conservation Fellowship Program. 
  • Vice Chair of the Board Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation, New York.
  • Board Member of the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation, New York. 
  • Member of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies' Leadership Council
  • Program Director of the Multicultural Environmental Leadership Development Initiative (MELDI), University of Michigan. 
  • Program Director of the Leadership Initiative for Minority Female Environmental Faculty (LIMFEF), University of Michigan. 

08/2014 Shades of Green