Clemens Hall.

New Department at UB Will Tackle Wicked Problems

Craig Thomas, PhD  
August 6, 2019

The University at Buffalo is proud to announce the launch of a new Department of Environment and Sustainability (EVS) this fall semester on UB’s North campus. While research in environmental and sustainability issues has been a part of UB’s research and curriculum for decades, it is the vision of this department to address some of the world’s most pressing social and ecological challenges, such as climate change, population growth, biodiversity loss and soil loss, to name a few.

Such “wicked” problems as they are referred to by academics and laymen alike, tend to be very complex and require knowledge and practices from a range of different disciplines to solve. For that reason, EVS has hired new professors with specialties as diverse as paleontology, ecology, film and sustainable systems, as well as coordinating with 12 existing faculty members from various departments already working in these issues such as Anthropology, Biology, Communications, English, Geography and Geology.

Although departments all over campus have been integrating sustainability coursework into their curriculum—and the Office of Sustainability has made huge gains in campus sustainability and also providing hands-on education—this department will be unique in its ability to research, analyze, and provide solutions for the growing environmental challenges of the 21st century. Moreover, as Director of Undergraduate Studies, Prof. Nick Henshue puts it, “After 25 years of concurrently running two successful programs in Environmental Studies and Environmental Geosciences, we are finally coordinating them and maximizing student potential"