To learn about research in the School of Earth and Environment, please visit our faculty profile pages:

Research Highlights

  • The first-ever NASA mission to collect an asteroid sample and return it to Earth for analysis launches on Thursday, Sept. 8, from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, FL. Founding chair and professor in the Department of Geology, Harold C. Connolly, Jr., is the mission sample scientist for OSIRIS-REx, the $1 billion mission designed to help scientists understand the early solar system by taking samples from the asteroid Bennu. Connolly has been involved with OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer) since 2008 and will lead scientists in the study of up to two kilograms (4.4 pounds) of a “pristine, carbon-rich” sample from the asteroid. OSIRIS-REx will begin its journey back to Earth in March of 2021, and the spacecraft will return to Earth with the asteroid sample in September of 2023

  • In a thin, six-inch bone bed on the site of a former marl pit, Dr. Kenneth Lacovara is leading research at the Rowan University Fossil Park in Mantua Township, N.J. The park contains thousands of fossils and provides researchers with the best window, east of the Mississippi, into the Cretaceous Period—the heyday of the dinosaurs. Lacovara’s team is analyzing the fossils, the sediments and the geochemistry of the site to gain a clearer picture of the period when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

  • The Rowan Solid Waste Lab (RSWL) examines solid waste management from multiple perspectives. Led by Dr. Jordan P. Howell, RSWL projects critically evaluate waste management plans and programs around New Jersey and mid-Atlantic region. The RSWL strives to contextualize contemporary developments in solid waste management with historical regional, national, and international trends. Learn more about RSWL on the dedicated site. Currently, students and faculty working with RSWL are focused on Dr. Howell's National Science Foundation-funded project examining the history of waste management in New Jersey.

  • The School of Earth & Environment is proud to be the home of this innovative interdisciplinary venture that engages both humanistic and scientific methodologies for examining the interwoven nature of environments and societies. Led by Dr. Jordan P. Howell and Dr. Dustin Crowley (in the Dept. of English at Rowan), "Cultivating the Environmental Humanities" aims to bring the tools, approaches, and sensibilities of humanities disciplines into processes of environmental problem-solving. Learn more about the National Endowment for the Humanities-funded project here.

  • NJ Map is a suite of internet-based geospatial tools and map themes designed to assist New Jersey municipalities and local level stakeholders in better visualizing and understanding their environment. Each of the tools are intuitively designed so that volunteer citizen users (such as planning board members, environmental commission members, watershed organizations, green action committees, citizen groups, etc.) can have easy access to the vast amounts of geospatial data available for New Jersey that are typically only accessible to trained GIS professionals. 

  • The Community Planning and Visualization Lab, led by Dr. Mahbubur Meenar, explores the connections between social, natural, and built environments and how they influence the process of planning for healthy, resilient, and equitable communities. Using a sustainability lens, the lab examines how the nexus of land, water, and food play a role in spatial planning and community planning. The lab engages in both empirical and practice-based research. Current projects include brownfields redevelopment, equitable distribution of green infrastructure, and the use of immersive and multi-sensory virtual reality in participatory planning.