Faculty Profiles

ENVS Faculty

Carlos Davidson


Carlos Davidson, Professor of Environmental StudiesB.A. (1982) Economics, UC Berkeley
M.A. (1990) Economics, UC Berkeley
Ph.D. (2000) Ecology, UC Davis

Office: HSS 332
Phone: (415) 405-2127
Email: carlosd@sfsu.edu
Webpage: http://online.sfsu.edu/carlosd

My research seeks to understand the causes of amphibian population declines, with particular attention to the role of pesticides in causing declines. The research draws upon the fields of landscape ecology, conservation and population biology, and biogeography. I am also interested in issue of environmental justice and the relationship between economic growth and environmental destruction.


Glenn Fieldman

Associate Professor & Advisor for ESSJ Emphasis

Glenn Fieldman, Assistant Professor of Environmental StudiesOffice: HSS 330
Phone: (415) 405-2431
Email: glenn@sfsu.edu

I have taught at SFSU since 1990, mostly in the International Relations Department. I volunteered to teach an Environmental Studies class when the professor who had taught it left in 1992. Two years later I helped to launch the ENVS Program. 


Autumn Thoyre

Assistant Professor

Office: HSS 339

Email: athoyre@sfsu.edu
ebsite:  http://sfsu.academia.edu/AutumnThoyre

Autumn Thoyre was most recently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Geography at Colgate University, where she taught courses in environmental policy, sustainability, energy politics, water politics, and research methods. She received a Ph.D. in Geography at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master's degree in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science at Lund University in Sweden. Her research into the politics of sustainable energy transitions focuses on energy efficiency and conservation and centers environmental justice perspectives. In fall 2016, she will be teaching Environmental Law & Policy.



Emphasis Advisors

Glenn Fieldman

Assistant Professor & Advisor for ESSJ Emphasis

Office: HSS 330
Phone: (415) 405-2431
Email: glenn@sfsu.edu


Jason Gurdak

Assistant Professor of Geosciences

Jason Gurdak, Assistant Professor of Geosciences and Advisor for Earth System Science studentsB.S. (1998) Geology, Bates College
M.S. (1999) Environmental Science and Engineering, Colorado School of Mines
Ph.D. (2006) Geochemistry, Colorado School of Mines

At SFSU since 2009

Phone: 415-338-6869
Email: jgurdak@sfsu.edu
webpage: http://online.sfsu.edu/~jgurdak/

Research Area: Hydrology, environmental geochemistry, and water resources. My research strives to understand the sustainability of water resources in California and the western United States. I’m most interested in groundwater and the natural and human processes such as nutrient cycling and nonpoint-source contamination that affect the quantity and quality of this important resource. Groundwater provides much of the Nation’s public and private water supply, supports agricultural and industrial economies, and contributes flow to rivers, lakes, and wetlands. In California, groundwater is the largest source of freshwater and is pumped at rates that exceed groundwater use in all other States. My students and I strive to quantify local hydrologic interactions within the global water cycle, the role of groundwater in support of ecosystems and society, and hydrologic and geochemical responses to climate change and interannual to multidecadal climate variability such as from the El Niño/Southern Oscillation. I am currently collaborating on a United Nations project called Groundwater Resources Assessment under the Pressures of Humanity and Climate Change (GRAPHIC), which uses research, education, and outreach to advance groundwater sustainability under the coupled pressures of climate change and human activity.


Joel Kassiola

Professor of Political Science & Advisor for ESSJ Emphasis

Joel Kassiola, Professor of Political Science and advisor to Sustainability and Social Justice studentsB.A. (1967) Brooklyn College of the City University of New York; Political Science
M.A. (1971) Princeton University; Political Philosophy Program
Ph.D. (1974) Princeton University; Political Philosophy Program
At SF State since 1995 (as Dean of the College of the Social Sciences)

Office: HSS 353
Phone: (415) 338-3463
Email: kassiola@sfsu.edu
Website: http://online.sfsu.edu/kassiola

Research Area: Environmental Political Theory. I am interested in studying the root cause of the environmental crisis: our modern political values. So I study modern values and how they must be changed if we are to avoid environmental catastrophe. I teach a course on political values and the environment (PLSI 354) and a course on the consumer society where consuming is the supreme value (PLSI/PHILO 355). I also teach the introductory course to political theory (PLSI 275) and the introductory course on political philosophy (PLSI/PHILO 150) and Environmental Ethics (PHILO 470). I have published an edited volume on environmental political theory (EXPLORATIONS IN ENVIRONMENTAL POLITICAL THEORY, 2003, M.E. Sharpe), and articles on teaching introductory political theory (PS; October, 2007), and how teaching effectively in the 21st century requires doing research (COLLEGE TEACHING; October, 2007). Recently, I have shifted my concerns to the environmental crisis in China and published a co-authored article on the environment and China's development to be published in an edited volume on China's political challenges edited by my colleague, Professor Sujian Guo; Rowman and Littlefield. 2007).


Tomoko Komada

Associate Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry & Advisor for ESS Emphasis - Chemical Analysis Emphasis

Office: SCI 102A
Phone: (415) 338-3748
Email: tkomada@sfsu.edu
Website: http://rtc.sfsu.edu/komada_lab/


Raquel Pinderhughes

Professor of Urban Studies & Planning, Advisor for TUE Emphasis

Office: HSS 137
Phone: (415) 338-7520
Email: raquelrp@sfsu.edu

Raquel Pinderhughes, Ph.D. is Professor of Urban Studies and Planning (USP) at SFSU, where she teaches courses on urban and environmental planning and policy, that include: “Sustainable Development in Cities”, “Environmental Justice”, and “Alternative Urban Futures”. She is the Director of the Willie L Brown Fellowship Program, which provides SFSU students with opportunities to work for SF government. An internationally recognized expert on green jobs, green jobs training and environmental literacy; Raquel’s “Green Job Training Model” was used to form the Oakland Green Job Corps and informed the development of the Obama Administration’s Pathways out of Poverty Initiative funded with ARRA funds. Raquel is the creator of Roots of Success, an environmental literacy and work readiness curriculum specifically designed for youth and adults that face significant barriers to education and employment. The Roots of Success curriculum is used in schools, job training programs, and correctional facilities throughout the nation, as well as in the UK and South Africa to prepare individuals who from communities heavily impacted by poverty, unemployment and environmental problems for environmental careers and to improve conditions in their communities. She has been teaching at SFSU for almost 25 years and remains greatly appreciative of the opportunity to work with the amazing students she meets every semester at SFSU.


Nancy "Sami" Reist

Professor of Broadcast & Electronic Communication Arts & Advisor for HUM Emphasis

Office: HUM 253
Phone: (415) 338-2241
Email: sami@sfsu.edu


Associated Faculty

Luiz Barbosa

Professor of Sociology

B.S. (1982) Southeast Missouri State University, Psychology
M.A. (1985) University of Oklahoma, Sociology
Ph.D. (1989) University of Washington, Sociology
At SFSU since 1991

Phone: 415.338.1330
Email: lbarbosa@sfsu.edu

Research Area: My research emphasis is the impact of economic development on the remaining forests of the world. I am especially interested in the ecopolitics of development and preservation in the context of the Brazilian Amazon rain forest. My most recent work examines how the increasing globalization of food systems is causing deforestation in the region. 


Kathy Boyer

Assistant Professor, Romberg Tiburon Center

Kathy Boyer, Assistant Professor at Romberg Tiburon CenterMy research is focused on the ecology and restoration of coastal habitats, primarily salt marshes and seagrass beds. I am particularly interested in how species interact to structure their environments and influence fundamental ecosystem processes such as nutrient cycling. I have a strong interest in species assemblages and processes occurring at habitat borders and the manner and extent to which adjacent habitats are linked through biotic activity and interactions. Such basic ecological research has important implications for the restoration of damaged habitats. My more applied work includes comparisons of structure and functioning (e.g., trophic interactions, nutrient dynamics) of natural and constructed habitats. I also work to develop restoration techniques and nutrient pollution indicators for estuarine and coastal waters. I work mainly with vascular plants, macroalgae, and invertebrates as well as the water and sediments on and in which they live. My work is mostly experimental, conducted in field, greenhouse, and outdoor mesocosm settings. While much of my research experience and interest is in the coastal marshes and the shallow subtidal zone in California, I work periodically in the tropics on detecting patterns in nutrient supply to coral reef and adjacent habitats and the response of herbivores to nutrient-related changes in their algal foods. I am also part of a bi-coastal team examining the relative importance of producer and consumer diversity on the functioning of marine ecosystems. 


Sudip Chattopadhyay

Associate Professor of Economics


Tendai Chitewere

Associate Professor of Geography

Tendai Chitewere, Assistant Professor of GeographyB.S. (1995) State University of New York, College at Oneonta, Water Resources
M.P.S. (1997) Cornell University, Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Ph.D. (2006) Binghamton (SUNY), Anthropology
At SF State since 2007

Phone: 415.405.2676
E-mail: tendai@sfsu.edu

My research interest is in the interdisciplinary study of US environmentalism. Specifically, I'm interested in the responses to environmental and social degradation especially as it relates to equity and justice. My work explores the emergence of "green lifestyles" as a response to the current environmental crisis and examines the relationship between being green and being just.

I'm currently working on two major projects. First, I continue to examine the consumption of "green" commodities as a means to affect environmental change through creating a "green lifestyle". This research builds on my early ethnography of Ecovillage at Ithaca, where residents attempt to create a social and ecological sustainable community. Through this work, I question the compatibility between green consumption and capitalism, and explore ways to make equity matter in sustainable communities.

Building on my ecovillage work, my current research is an ethnography of urban agriculture in the San Francisco Bay Area. Eating the Front Yard asks how growing food in the front and backyard might contribute to a sense of community and civic engagement. I use tools from political ecology and environmental justice to explore sustainable community in the urban landscape. Using GIS technology and quantitative methods I document the relationship between growing food and access to various social and cultural amenities in the city.


Jerry Davis

Professor and Chair of Geography & Environment, Director of the Institute for Geographic Information Science


Jane DeWitt

Associate Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry


Sheldon Gen

Associate Professor of Public Administration

Sheldon Gen, Associate Professor of Public AdministrationB.S. (1990) Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, Civil Engineering
M.P.A. (1995) University of Southern California, Public Administration
Ph.D. (2004) Georgia Tech, Public Policy
At SFSU since 2003

Phone: 415-817-4458
Email : sgen@sfsu.edu

Research areas: environmental policy, public policy studies. Study of the social aspects of environmental policy: how humans value environmental amenities, how communities make collective decisions affecting the environment, and the behavioral responses to the physical environment. Study of private sector and public participation in public policy: how individuals, organized groups, and businesses influence policy making and contribute to the delivery of public services. Policy analysis: measuring the outcomes of our public policies and programs.


John Hafernik

Professor of Biology

John Hafernik, Professor of BiologyB.A. (1970) Texas A & M University, Entomology
Ph.D. (1977) University of California, Berkeley, Entomology
At SFSU since 1977

Phone: 415-338-1740
Email: hafernik@sfsu.edu

Research Area: My research focuses on: 1. Evolutionary and ecological processes at the population or species level. 2. Conservation biology of insects. I am especially interested in the evolution of mating systems, isolating mechanisms, and interactions between insects and their animal and plant hosts. My students and I study mating systems and hybrid zones of damselflies of the genus Ischnura using both traditional and molecular approaches. I am also interested in ways that studies of insects and their relatives can be used to test conservation biology theory and to provide measures of community health and change. Several of my students are completing thesis projects on the conservation biology of insects and arachnids. Recent thesis topics of my students include oviposition preference of the endangered mission blue butterfly, reintroduction of the rare San Francisco forktail damselfly to a former habitat in San Francisco, spider diversity in restored coastal sand dunes of the San Francisco Presidio, diversity of invertebrates in wetlands of the San Francisco Presidio and ecology of tiger beetles at Point Reyes National Seashore.


Jason Henderson

Associate Professor of Geography

Ph.D. (2002) University of Georgia

Office: HSS 269
Phone: 415-405-2483
Email: jhenders@sfsu.edu
Website: http://online.sfsu.edu/jhenders/

Interests: Urban transportation, land use planning, cities; Geographic Areas: San Francisco Bay Area, New Orleans, U.S. South. Jason Henderson is currently finishing a book on the politics of transportation in San Francisco, and has published articles in the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Antipode, Urban Geography, and the Journal of Transport Geography. His broad research interests are in how culture, economics, ideology, and politics shape urban transportation policy and the geography of cities. Specific topics include the politics of bicycling, parking debates, public transportation, and freeway removal. Future research includes a history of San Francisco's MUNI and a book on the growth and development of New Orleans.


Logan Hennessy

Associate Professor, School of Humanities and Liberal Arts 

Logan Hennessy

B.A.  (1996) Philosophy, Boston University
B.A. (1996) Environmental Analysis and Policy, Boston University
M.S. (2000) Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, UC Berkeley
Ph.D (2005) Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, UC Berkeley

Office:  SP'15  BH 257; Summer '15 & beyond, soon to be HUM 448
Phone:  415-405-2677
Email:  loganh@sfsu.edu

I am interested in indigenous environmental politics, the political economy of the mining and oil industries, and environmental history in the Americas.  I have have conducted in-depth research on these issues in Ecuador and Guyana, working closely with local communities and organizations.  These field studies have also led to several research partnerships with Bay Area non-profit organizations.  My current work is examining the social and environmental consequences of infrastructure projects in South America, the nuances of sustainability in attempts to reform the mining industry, and indigenous rights in climate change debates over the protection of forests in United Nations negotiations.  I teach interdisciplinary courses on environmental themes of international development (LS 401), along with a course devoted to the study of tropical forest ecology, causes of destruction, and prospects for conservation (LS 430).  I have also led a short-term study abroad section of LS 430, which involved three weeks of field study in lowland and cloud forests in Ecuador.

Sherry Keith

Associate Professor of History & Social Sciences

Sherry Keith, Associate Professor of History and Social ScienceB.A. (1967) Sociology, UC Berkeley
M.A. (1969) Sociology, University of Essex, England
Ph.D (1974) International Development Education, Stanford University

Phone: 415-338-1669
Email: skeith@sfsu.edu

Research Interests: The relationship between children and nature in post-industrial and pre-industrial society. I am especially interested in the developmental, health and interpersonal benefits of nature on children and youth. And from the educational perspective, my work encompasses the application of nature based pedagogy to both formal and non-formal learning settings, e.g. schools and community based programs. My geographic areas of expertise include California, Brazil and the Caribbean. I welcome working with students interested in environmental/place based education and whose focus is on children and youth.


Phillip King

Associate Professor of Economics


Gretchen LeBuhn

Assistant Professor of Biology


Bruce Manning

Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry

B.S. (1985) University of Massachusetts, Environmental Science
Ph.D. (1993) University of California, Davis, Environmental Chemistry

Phone: 415-339-1292
Email: bmanning@sfsu.edu

Research Area: Environmental - Analytica; Determination of molecular surface structures of trace elements and oxyanions adsorbed on synthetic metal oxides, clay minerals, and soils using extended X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy (EXAFS). Separation and detection of redox sensitive elements (arsenic(III)/(V), selenium(IV)/(VI), and chromium(III)/(VI)) by hyphenated analytical techniques. Synthesis and characterization of metal oxides and metal oxide-coated substrates. Equilibrium and surface complexation chemical modeling of environmental systems.


Kathleen McAfee

Assistant Professor of International Relations

Kathleen McAfee, Assistant Professor of International RelationsPh.D. (1999) Geography, UC Berkeley

Phone: 415-405-2412
Email: kmcafee@sfsu.edu

I teach courses on Global Environmental Policy, International Political Economy, Global Politics of Food and Hunger, and '3rd world' Development. I came to SF State after a career in international development: consulting for NGOs and UN agencies on bio-cultural diversity, food aid, and crop genetic engineering, and 10 years as Policy Analyst for Oxfam. I have published a book and many articles about social justice and sustainable development. My past research analyzed conflicts surrounding forest conservation, indigenous peoples, the World Bank, and the International Convention on Biological Diversity. My current research concerns “selling nature to save it” - the treatment of living things, genes, and environmental services (such as carbon storage by tropical forests) as commodities to be bought and sold in global markets. Most of my field work has been in Guyana, Mexico, and the Caribbean. I am inspired by the social-movement slogan: "No ecology without equity; no equity without ecology."


Leora Nanus

Assistant Professor of Geography & Environment

B.S. Earth Science – University of California, Santa Cruz
M.S. Geology – Western Washington University
Ph.D. Geography – University of Colorado, Boulder
At SFSU since 2009

Office: HSS 273
Phone: 415-405-3547
E-mail: lnanus@sfsu.edu
ebsite: https://faculty.sfsu.edu/~lnanus/

Research Area: Hydrology, GIS, Atmospheric Deposition, Water Quality. My research focuses on understanding hydrologic and biogeochemical processes in undisturbed watersheds, including high elevation watersheds in National Parks and Wilderness areas of the Rocky Mountains, Sierra Nevada, Cascades, and across the western US. I use GIS and geostatistics to analyze spatial variation in regional and watershed-scale water quality, atmospheric deposition of pollutants, sensitivity of aquatic resources, and critical loads of atmospheric nitrogen. I apply stable isotope techniques to distinguish sources of pollutants to watersheds. I am interested in the ecological effects of air pollution, and environmental impacts and implications of anthropogenic activities on water resources.


Melissa Nelson

Assistant Professor of American Indian Studies

B.A. (1991) University of California, Santa Cruz, Integrated Ecology
Ph.D. (2000) University of California, Davis, Cultural Ecology
At SFSU since 2002

Phone: 415-338-7062
Email: mknelson@sfsu.edu

Research Areas: Native Science/Ecology/Environmental Studies; Indigenous Peoples and Traditional Environmental Knowledge; California Indians - history and contemporary issues; Oral History/Oral Literature and Community-Based Ethnography; Cultural Revitalization.


Andrew Oliphant

Assistant Professor of Geography


Peter Palmer

Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry

B.S. (1983) Canisius College, Chemistry
Ph.D. (1988) Michigan State University, Analytical Chemistry
At SFSU since 1994

Phone: 415-338-7717
Email: palmer@sfsu.edu

The major theme of my group’s research is the development, characterization, and application of highly automated and portable instrumentation for the analysis of environmental pollutants. We are particularly interested in techniques that provide advantages such as minimal sample preparation, monitoring of multiple target species, low detection limits, and the ability to rapidly screen large numbers of samples in the field. We utilize both GC/MS and direct sampling MS to monitor gases, volatile organic compounds, and pesticides in air, museum artifacts, and consumer products. Our recent work in this area has focused on the use of Solid Phase Micro-Extraction (SPME) for rapid sampling of volatile species and development of DART-MS techniques for real-time monitoring of organic pollutants for a variety of applications. We have also been active in pioneering the use of XRF and X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) for FDA applications such as the determination of toxic elements in dietary supplements, lead in tableware, and identification of fake drug products. 


Tom Parker

Professor of Biology

Office: HH 449
Phone: 415-338-2375
Email: parker@sfsu.edu
Website: http://online.sfsu.edu/parker/index.html

Specialties: My research focuses on the ecological evolution. I investigate aspects of vegetation dynamics at both population and community scales. Principal questions involve aspects of regeneration, with emphasis on dispersal, seed banks, seedling establishment, mycorrhizae, and disturbances lilke wildfire. Other interests include conservation, management, and restoration; evolution and ecology of Arctostaphylos (Ericaceae) and Ceanothus (Rhamnaceae), ecology of climate change.

Bruce Paton

Assistant Professor of Business Management


Nina Roberts

Professor of Recreation, Parks, & Tourism and Director of Pacific Leadership Institute

Nina Roberts, Associate Professor of Recreation, Parks and TourismPhone: 415-338-7576
Email: nroberts@sfsu.edu
Website: http://online.sfsu.edu/~nroberts

Nina S. Roberts, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism where her areas of emphasis include outdoor recreation, parks, youth development, urban programming, and leadership. She is also the Director of SFSU’s Pacific Leadership Institute connecting urban youth with the outdoors. Nina came to SF State by way of the National Park Service where she was an education and outreach specialist. She is a former Board member of the Yosemite Institute, and currently serves on the Advisory Board for GirlVentures and NPCA's Center for Park Management. Nina is a Fulbright Scholar with the Indo-American Environmental Leadership Program and is nationally recognized for her work regarding cultural diversity and national parks and public lands.


Murray Silverman

Professor of Business Management


Leonard Sklar

Assistant Professor of Geosciences


Mike Vasey

Assistant Professor of Biology


Nancy Wilkinson

Professor of Geography