Members of the Environmental Science program are currently looking for not one but two additional professors to contribute to the burgeoning program.
Candidates will be arriving this week to interview for the two tenured-track positions, one in environmental social science and one in atmospheric science.
“One reason we’re adding more faculty within the program is that we need more persons, time, and resources to support not just teaching of courses, but also student advising, independent projects, and senior theses,” said head of the Environmental Science program, Professor Marion Hourdequin.
The Environmental Science program has grown rapidly in the past five years. There are around 100 EV majors, with 43 seniors on track to graduate this year.
The Environmental Science program is interdisciplinary in nature, explained Hourdequin: faculty members with environmental science appointments teach most or all of their courses in the program, but members from departments across campus also engage in diverse ways.
Hourdequin, for example, is listed under the Philosophy Department, but teaches environmental ethics in the environmental sciences program.
With this in mind, one of the faculty members Hourdequin and the department are looking to hire is a social scientist.
“We gain a lot of strength from the involvement of over 25 different faculty, each with varying perspectives,” said Hourdequin.
One of the challenges an interdisciplinary department faces, Hourdequin said, is that faculty with multiple affiliations have primary responsibilities to their home departments in regards to supervising projects and senior theses. Faculty may feel pulled in many different directions.
“That sort of work in an interdisciplinary department ends up being above and beyond,” said Hourdequin.
The two new hires will complement the recent addition of Assistant Professor Rebecca Barnes, who joined the environmental program this year.
“We hope to create a core group of faculty dedicated to the program,” said Hourdequin. “We want to build our breadth and broaden the range of research opportunities and independent work available to students.”
The environmental program needs to replace the position held by Walter Hecox, a long-time member of the program who retired last spring.
There is a spectrum of candidates being considered, but an environmental social scientist with expertise in sustainability and its economic aspects would be most beneficial to the program, according to Hourdequin.
The college is also looking to hire an atmospheric scientist, with expertise in applied atmospheric physics—including meteorology and climatology—or in atmospheric chemistry. This position is a net addition to the environmental program since there has yet to be a permanent faculty member specializing in the atmosphere.
There is no dearth of candidates interested in the two positions.
“I think people who have a natural multidisciplinary orientation are attracted to our program,” said Hourdequin.
Hourdequin continued to say that a scientist can interact and collaborate with colleagues in many areas, from chemistry and biology to physics and the earth sciences. The “super engaged and curious” set of students at Colorado College—and the environmental program in particular—also provide a huge draw to potential faculty.
“Candidates visiting campus meet our students and get excited about teaching here,” said Hourdequin. “Students arrive ready to learn and eager to get into the field or the lab; they want to dig into new concepts and ideas.”
Opportunities for creative field, lab, and community-based learning are particularly distinctive of the environmental program, which also attracts professors, according to Hourdequin.
The search committees for the two positions will review an extensive portfolio from each candidate, including research statements, publications, letters of recommendation, cover letters, transcripts, and evidence of teaching success.
Student feedback from private breakfasts with the candidates, sample classes, and research presentations is also an important piece to forming a larger picture of each candidate.
The addition of two new faculty members is indicative of the environmental program’s commitment to growth, diversity, and opportunity, both in its resources and for its students.