Fall 2022

Fall 2022

Dean's Open Line

Ken LacovaraKenneth Lacovara, Ph.D.
Founding Dean, School of Earth and Environment
Executive Director, Edelman Fossil Park

Can you believe we are already through the fall semester?  Since our last newsletter, we have had many exciting developments in the School of Earth & Environment.  

One thing that has been particularly special to me has been the dedication of our amazing rock sculpture landscape display called TimeSweeps.  Part art installation, gathering place, geology classroom, and astronomical observatory, it has been very gratifying to see both students and faculty members gathering there to learn and socialize.  It’s also become quite a popular Instagram moment on campus.

The School of Earth & Environment is developing a program in Regenerative Food Systems which is dedicated to providing opportunities for our students to join the burgeoning new food economy in the region.  The Founding Director of the program, Emily Riley, began in July and is building a program that will focus on degree completion for Juniors and Seniors based on the principles of no-till, organic, pesticide-free agriculture that produces nutritious and affordable food for the community.  This new program is an important component in the School of Earth & Environment as we push back on the climate and biodiversity crises.

Within the school, there are several other new initiatives that have received funding. Dr. Beth Christensen and Dr. Patrick Crumrine have received $365,391 from NSF for “Growing Rowan’s Environmental Education Network in Southern New Jersey”, or “GREEN-SJ”, which will help support traditionally underrepresented students transferring from Rowan College of South Jersey - Cumberland into four year Environmental Science degrees, and help bolster them into green energy careers.  Dr. Mahbubur Meenar, Dr. Ted Howell, and Graduate Research Assistant Jenna Monaghan have received $100,000 from NASA for their initiative “From Green to GrEEEn” which aims to place more focus on the equity and environmental justice issue of greenspace access in urban areas like Camden, NJ and Jersey City, NJ.  These and other important initiatives help to lift up our region and position the School of Earth & Environment as a leader in the fight against the climate and biodiversity crises, and I am very proud of the hard work of our faculty and students for pushing these initiatives forward.

I’m pleased to report that the university is seeking 10 new faculty members for our Rowan Catalysts in Sustainability initiative, which will place a faculty member in each college and school of the main campus who are focused on solutions to the climate or biodiversity crisis.  This program is based on the principle that these existential threats are an “everybody problem”, not just the STEM fields, and require solutions and activism from all corners of academia.

I’m looking forward to seeing the continued growth of GPS and am pleased to see the department’s dedication to and focus on issues surrounding the interaction of humans and the environment as we advance toward solutions for sustainability.