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Fall 2010, Issue 12

Tufts Institute of the Environment

The Tufts Institute of the Environment (TIE) is an interdisciplinary, university-wide education and research institute devoted to advancing and disseminating knowledge about the many ways that human interactions affect the environment. TIE has three areas of focus: energy and climate, health and the environment, and water. Faculty members Richard Vogel (Engineering) and Elena Naumova (Medicine) serve as the TIE’s research directors, while the institute’s educational initiatives are overseen by Gretchen Kaufman (Veterinary Medicine) and Colin Orians (Arts and Sciences). Antje Danielson serves as administrative director.

TIE offers a variety of environmental resources to students, faculty and alumni. The institute’s Environmental Course Guide, updated annually, lists the many environment-related courses, degree programs, certificates, and concentrations available at Tufts. TIE’s website lists affiliated faculty members and partner programs, advertises jobs and internships, and publicizes upcoming events. TIE also supports the recently formed Tufts Environmental Alumni group by publishing a quarterly newsletter and coordinating alumni-oriented events on campus.

The annual Tufts Environmental Literacy Institute (TELI) is TIE’s major education initiative. TELI is a week-long workshop that enhances faculty environmental literacy with the goal of helping participants to incorporate these themes into existing or new courses. Faculty responses to the workshop have been positive: “Some TELI alumni say that it actually helped them to introduce environmental issues into their research, not just into their teaching,” says Danielson. The annual workshop is open to all faculty. Those interested in the next workshop (May 23-27, 2011) may contact Danielson at antje.danielson@tufts.edu or 617-627-5521.

TIE is closely affiliated with the Water: Systems, Science and Society (WSSS) graduate certificate program, co-directed by Richard Vogel (Engineering), Robert (Rusty) Russell (Arts and Sciences), and Timothy Griffin (Nutrition). WSSS provides graduate students with interdisciplinary perspectives and tools to manage water-related problems around the world. The TIE office is the administrative and physical home of the WSSS program; Heather Angstrom serves as the program coordinator for both TIE and WSSS. “WSSS doesn’t have any of its own courses; students pick from a roster of existing courses in affiliated departments that count toward the certificate,” says Danielson. “So faculty involvement is mostly at the advisory level.” Faculty members interested in WSSS can contact Danielson or any of the three faculty co-directors.

TIE has recently undertaken a new project: the Arctic Initiative. Explains Danielson, “Elena Naumova, Gretchen Kaufman, and I ran a workshop last April exploring the interdisciplinary issues of climate change and public health in the Arctic. The workshop consisted of two days of talks by experts on everything from oil drilling to shipping to economic interests to health issues and veterinary wildlife issues.” The workshop included speakers from Alaska, Finland, and Russia, and laid the groundwork for an international collaboration between Tufts and Russian and Finnish researchers in the area of public health and infectious disease. Danielson expects the Arctic Initiative to continue to promote research collaborations and international cooperation in the areas of public health, wildlife and environmental health, and responsible economic development in the Arctic region.

For more information about TIE, please visit http://environment.tufts.edu.



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