SCC Webinar

Background of the Roundtable and SHES Foundations

Wednesday, January 23, 2019
2:00 PM Eastern/11:00 AM Pacific

This webinar is Part 1 of 3 in the Sustainable Human and Environmental Systems (SHES) Roundtable webinar series

Presenters on behalf of the SHES Roundtable:

Michael A. Reiter

Bethune-Cookman University

Richard Smardon
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry


Michael L. Humphreys, PhD
Bethune-Cookman University

The Sustainable Human and Environmental Systems (SHES) Roundtable, which first met in 2009, represents an ongoing effort by academics, program directors, administrators, environmental agency personnel, and practitioners to produce a living set of consensus-based recommendations concerning the pedagogical and administrative aspects of interdisciplinary and higher-order sustainability education. The Roundtable’s vision is the emergence of societies that facilitate, enhance, and sustain indefinitely in that facilitated or enhanced state the well-being of human individuals, their communities, and their environments, while its pedagogical goal is to empower learners to contribute to the realization of that vision.

Part I of this three-part series focuses on the background of the SHES Roundtable including the forces that brought it together and informed its work, and the fundamentals of the SHES view of the academic field including the SHES vision, mission, and goal. This webinar will also introduce the important principles of the SHES approach, including systems thinking, social learning (including ethics and stakeholder values), supradisciplinarity, and complexity. This webinar will set the foundation for the upcoming webinars on SHES Pedagogical Approach and Examples (in February) and Administration and Evaluation of SHES Programs (in March).

Michael A. Reiter is Professor and Chair of the Department of Integrated Environmental Science at Bethune-Cookman University. He holds a B.S. in Biology from Muskingum College in Ohio, an M.S. in Biology from Kent State University in Ohio, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences from the University of Virginia. His primary research is in integrated ecosystem management, focusing on the development and application of interdisciplinary stakeholder-based methods for addressing wicked environmental problems from a systems perspective. Dr. Reiter is also a principal developer of Combined Ecological-Societal Systems Modeling and the Integrated Assessment and Ecosystem Management Protocol, a combination that meets the need for a truly integrated ecosystem management method. He is a past President and Counselor for the Interdisciplinary Environmental Association, Associate Editor for the international journal Interdisciplinary Environmental Review, and a founding Co-Chair of the Sustainable Human and Environmental Systems Roundtable, a growing effort to establish proposals for the design and development of interdisciplinary and higher-order environmental courses and programs in higher education. Dr. Reiter has been a PI or Co-PI for over $27 million in funded individual and consortium grants from sources including NOAA, USDA, the DuPont Foundation, and Carnegie-Mellon, has over 50 refereed publications in several different fields of study, has received multiple university and national awards for his teaching and research, and has been invited to numerous countries to present his work (including an opening parallel workshop of the UN Rio+20 summit in Brazil). His goal is to emphasize the importance of making scientifically informed, broadly based decisions concerning present and future environmental sustainability concerns, and to help ensure that such broadly trained individuals exist in the near future.

Richard Smardon is SUNY Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Department of Environmental Studies at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. He has a Ph.D. in Environmental Planning from the University of California, Berkeley and a Masters in Landscape Architecture and Bachelors in Environmental Design from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has edited/written six books: The Future of Wetlands; Assessing Visual-Cultural Values (1983); Foundations for Visual Project Analysis (1986); and The Legal Landscape: Guidelines for Environmental and Aesthetic Protection (1993), Sustaining the World’s Wetlands (2009), and The Renewable Energy Landscape with Routledge Taylor and Francis in 2017. He is co-author with three others of Revitalizing Urban Waterway Communities: Streams of Environmental Justice published in 2018 by Earthscan/ Routledge and a seventh book Education for Sustainable Human and Environmental Systems published by CRC/Routledge. He was appointed by the Governor of New York to the Great Lakes Basin Advisory Council in 1989 and is now chairing the council. He has serves on several editorial boards including the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Journal of Sustainability Research, Urban Planning and Water. His major areas of expertise include landscape assessment and management, wetland assessment and mitigation, environmental management/citizen participation, law and aesthetics, ecotourism and heritage resource management, and energy sustainability planning implementation.

Michael L. Humphreys is Associate Professor of Ethics in the School of Graduate and Professional Studies at Bethune-Cookman University. He holds the Ph.D. with distinction in social and environmental ethics from Drew University in Madison, NJ, the Masters in Divinity also from Drew University, and a B.S. in physical science from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. His primary academic interests include restorative justice and ecological sustainability. Dr. Humphreys has been teaching at the college/university level for over seventeen years. Prior to his work in higher education, he completed commissioned service in the U. S. Coast Guard in various assignments including Clean Water Act enforcement, fisheries enforcement, enforcement of international pollution protocols, search and rescue, public outreach/education and contingency planning. More specifically, while stationed in Portland, Maine, as a Port Contingency Planner and later as Chief, Port Operations, he worked with academics, other regulators, environmental activist groups, concerned citizens and industry representatives on cooperative preparedness and prevention initiatives in coastal and environmentally sensitive regions of Maine and New Hampshire.

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