On Monday, January 23rd, the IBES community gathered together for a Town Hall focused on highlights of the new 2023-2028 IBES Strategic Plan, faculty research, and community networking.
After a Faculty Retreat that took place earlier that morning, faculty were joined by IBES Elected Fellows, Affiliate Faculty, graduate students, postdoc associates, and friends of IBES for the afternoon’s Town Hall.
Director of IBES Kim Cobb opened the event with welcoming remarks before presenting an overview of the new 2023–2028 IBES Strategic Plan, completed in December, 2022. The Plan charts a path of inter- and transdisciplinary education and research priorities aimed at advancing solutions to the most pressing climate, environment, and sustainability challenges of our time. The plan lays out 4 key goal areas:
- Educate Tomorrow's Leaders
- Drive Solutions-Inspired Research
- Engage for Impact
- Build a Foundation for Success
The success of the Plan will rest on deepening partnerships with other academic and research units at Brown, as well as with a wide range of external stakeholders, and building out IBES staff, faculty, and student programming in the next years. The Plan is accompanied by a Year 1 Operational Plan to guide investments and programming over the next 12 months.
Four members of the IBES faculty presented their research at the Town Hall, showcasing a range of disciplines and approaches to community-engaged research. First to speak was Myles Lennon, Assistant Professor of Environment & Society and Anthropology, who discussed his work with the Shelterwood Collective, an Indigenous-, Black- and Queer-led community forest project in northern California. Meredith Hastings, Deputy Director of IBES and Professor of Environment & Society and Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences, showcased her hyperlocal air quality monitoring project known as Breathe Providence. Professor of Environment & Society and Sociology Timmons Roberts described the Climate Social Science Network’s mission to reduce climate obstruction (recording available). Finally, Associate Professor (Research) of Environment & Society and Society & Population Studies Elizabeth Fussell presented on a proposed Equitable Climate Futures initiative, a cross-campus effort aimed at engaging community stakeholders in solutions-inspired climate research. Each speaker took questions from the community.
Toward the end of the Town Hall, Jeanne Loewenstein, Academic Program Manager at IBES, led the audience through a “speed networking” activity in which participants chatted with a series of colleagues for 3 minutes each. The group then filed out of Carmichael Hall into the IBES lobby for a light reception. Many attendees remarked that they hadn’t seen their colleagues since before the COVID-19 pandemic, and expressed their hope that IBES would bring them together again soon.