As we begin a new year at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, we wanted to reflect on some of the outstanding achievements of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni during 2015.
Dozens of students received esteemed grants and honors. The largest student-run Environmental Film Festival at Yale ran for the seventh year in a row and drew in hundreds of viewers from the greater New Haven area. We welcomed more than 100 guests and lecturers from around the world, including Gro Harlem Brundtland, former prime minister of Norway and pioneer in the field of sustainable development; U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack; and His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, the second-highest ranking leader in the Buddhist faith. And we celebrated the retirement of Professor Thomas Graedel, who served at F&ES for 18 years and made Yale a global center in industrial ecology.
It is important to recognize that everyone’s added passion and perseverance — small or large — contributed significantly to the success of our school. And, more importantly, making our planet sustainable.Here are some more highlights from 2015 at Yale F&ES:
In April, two months before Pope Francis issued a historic encyclical that called global climate action a moral imperative, F&ES co-hosted a panel discussion about the potential global impacts of the document. During the event, which was held at Yale's Linsly Chittenden Hall — and viewed online by a global audience — a range of Yale experts across several disciplines discussed whether the encyclical would be a “game-changer” in the climate debate. “The pope is saying to the world that climate change brings moral change,” said Mary Evelyn Tucker, co-director of the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology. “The health of both people and the planet will require a transformation toward care for creation and concern for future generations.” After the encyclical was released F&ES-based pollsters measured “The Francis Effect: How Pope Francis changed the conversation about global warming.”
Recognizing the critical role online learning will play in an increasingly connected world, F&ES has introduced several new online courses with integrated technology for our current students over the past few years. In 2015 for the first time the School expanded its offerings to include online certificate courses to School alumni. Like the online courses offered to current students, these courses “flip” the traditional classroom model by delivering instruction online, while also allowing participants to meet with instructors and guest experts during live online discussions. F&ES alums from five continents enrolled in two six-week courses — “Tropical Forest Restoration in Human-Dominated Landscapes” or “Himalayan Diversities: Environment, Livelihoods, and Culture.” In addition to weekly lectures featuring F&ES faculty and guest experts, participants were able to communicate directly with instructors during regular online meetings. “Given our commitment to offering online courses to a wider audience, it is fitting that our own alumni would be the first group we reach out to with this exciting opportunity,” said F&ES Dean Peter Crane.