State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Climate School Announces New Faculty and Academic Leadership Appointments

The Columbia Climate School announced seven new faculty and academic leadership appointments today. The appointments will take effect in July, said interim dean Jeffrey Shaman.

Political scientist Lisa Dale, currently a lecturer in the Discipline of Climate, will serve as co-director of the MA Program in Climate and Society for the 2023-24 academic year. Dale’s research focuses on climate-change adaptation in two distinct landscapes: the U.S. West and sub-Saharan Africa. Her current courses include Environmental Policy & Governance; Challenges of Sustainable Development; Public Lands in the American West; Climate Change: Adaptation and Resilience; Science Communications; and Qualitative Research Methods for Sustainable Development.

Lisa Dale

Jessica Fanzo, a leading scholar in the transdisciplinary field of food systems, previously announced as joining the Climate School as professor of climate and director of the Food for Humanity Initiative, will also now serve as the interim director of the school’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society. She is currently a professor of Global Food & Agricultural Policy and Ethics at Johns Hopkins University. Among other things, she previously served as co-chair of the UN High Level Panel of Experts on Food Systems and Nutrition, and  served as the director of nutrition policy at the Columbia Earth Institute’s Center on Globalization and Sustainable Development.

Jessica Fanzo

Michael Gerrard, the Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice in the Faculty of Law, will be jointly appointed in the Climate School as professor of Professional Practice in the Faculty of Climate. He will retain his current appointment in the Law School and continue to serve as the faculty director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. He is one of the leading environmental lawyers in the nation, and has pioneered legal tools and strategies for addressing climate change. He also writes and teaches courses on environmental law, climate change law and energy law.

Michael Gerrard

Radley Horton will be appointed as a tenure-track Professor of Climate, transitioning from his current role as a Lamont Research Professor. Horton is an expert in assessing climate extremes and understanding how climate change impacts diverse sectors including agriculture, ecosystems, infrastructure, human health and marginalized communities. His work spans human migration, the scientific and legal dimensions of climate attribution, and mitigation and adaptation. He is also a leading climate science communicator in the media.

Radley Horton

Jason Smerdon, co-director of the Undergraduate Program in Sustainable Development and co-senior director for education in the Climate School, will be appointed as a tenure-track Professor of Climate, transitioning from his current Lamont Research Professor role. Smerdon is an expert on climate variability and change during the past several millennia. He uses high-resolution reconstructions of past conditions to understand climate dynamics, evaluate climate model performance, contextualize extreme climate events, and address applied problems of future climate impacts. He teaches courses in Earth Institute/Climate School Programs, including Introduction to Sustainable Development, and African Climate and History.

Jason Smerdon

Mingfang Ting, a founding member and co-director of the MA Program in Climate and Society and co-senior director for education in the Climate School, will be appointed as a tenure-track Professor of Climate, transitioning from her current role as a Lamont Research Professor. She is an internationally recognized climate scientist whose research spans a broad range of topics including weather and climate extremes, and climate’s impact on agriculture and human health. She has taught for many years one of the core courses in the MA program, Quantitative Models of Climate Sensitive Human and Natural Systems, and a core undergraduate climate course, Earth’s Environmental Systems: Climate System.

Mingfang Ting

Bruce Usher, a professor at the Columbia Business School, will be jointly appointed in the Climate School as Professor of Professional Practice in the Faculty of Climate. He will retain his current Business School appointments as a Professor of Professional Practice and the Elizabeth B. Strickler ’86 and Mark T. Gallogly ’86 faculty director of the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise, which advances business knowledge, entrepreneurial skills and management tools to address social and environmental challenges. He also teaches courses on the intersection of finance, social and environmental issues, and chairs Columbia University’s Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing.

Bruce Usher
Banner featuring a collage of extreme heat images.

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