Fall 2011 Earth Institute Practicum

Fall 2011 Earth Institute Practicum

The Earth Institute Practicum will once again be offered this fall. The Practicum highlights research of the various units of the Earth Institute and explores its intersections with environmental and sustainable development policy. The Earth Institute is motivated by the belief that science and technological tools already exist, and could be expanded, to greatly improve conditions for the world's poor while preserving the natural systems that support life on Earth. This same principle underlies the Earth Institute Practicum.

“The practicum gives students the opportunity to discuss the ground-breaking work of the Earth Institute’s centers and programs with their directors, researchers and leaders in the field,” says Louise Rosen, practicum instructor. “This course is an exciting opportunity for students to hear first-hand from researchers working on issues of environment and sustainable development, and learn about the applications of their research to finding solutions to these global issues.”
Speakers scheduled for this semester include:

  • Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director, The Earth Institute
  • Steven Cohen, Executive Director, The Earth Institute
  • Upmanu Lall, Director, Columbia Water Center
  • Cynthia Rosenzweig, Adjunct Senior Researcher, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS); Head, Climate Impacts Group, Columbia Center for Climate Systems Research
  • Lawrence Burns, Director, Roundtable on Sustainable Mobility
  • Elliott Sclar, Director, Center for Sustainable Urban Design
  • Pedro Sanchez, Director, Tropical Agriculture and the Rural Environment Project; Co-Chair, Millennium Project Hunger Task Force
  • Robert Chen, Director, Center for International Earth Science Information Network
  • Marc Levy, Deputy Director, Center for International Earth Science Information Network
  • John Mutter, Director of Graduate Studies, Ph.D. in Sustainable Development
  • Peter Coleman, Director, International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution
  • Joanna Rubinstein, Director, Center for Global Health and Economic Development; Chief of Staff to Jeffrey Sachs

During the practicum, students learn how current research is applied, its policy implications and how it can be made accessible for environmental and sustainable development work. Speakers will detail their integrative approaches and how their work aligns with the Earth Institute’s mission of interdisciplinary research. The lectures will illustrate how the Earth Institute’s core biological, health and engineering sciences complement SIPA students’ social science research, with a focus on poverty reduction and aid. Faculty will also offer opportunities for students to participate in Earth Institute programs and projects in order to contribute to ongoing research at the Earth Institute. 

Each week, students are expected to read journal articles, research reports and other materials that will enable them to participate in discussions with renowned Earth Institute researchers. The practicum runs weekly on Tuesday afternoons from 4:20 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Students may elect to take the course for 1 credit (pass/fail), 1 credit (letter grade), or 3 credits. All interested students are encouraged to enroll.   

For more information, please contact Nathan Rudder, manager of the Office of Academic and Research Programs, at or at 212-854-5193.