School of Environment, Arts and Society (SEAS)
Evelyn E. Gaiser, Ph.D.
The School of Environment, Arts and Society (SEAS) was founded in 2009, in response to the growing need for innovative thinkers and leaders to address the complex social and environmental challenges of the twenty-first century. Set in the unique environment of South Florida, SEAS is poised to develop solutions to myriad issues locally and around the world. SEAS unites socially and environmentally-oriented faculty in an effort to better understand and address the challenges that arise from the interactions between people and the environment. Faculty in SEAS are invested in understanding how ecosystems transform in tandem with human decisions, because long-term sustainability can only be achieved if societies understand and interact responsibly with their environment.
As one of three interdisciplinary schools in the College of Arts and Sciences, SEAS houses the departments of Biological Sciences, Earth and Environment, and English. SEAS is home to some of the world’s leading environmental scientists working in coastal marine ecosystems, Everglades ecology and restoration, and tropical biology. It is also home to nationally recognized writers and scholars. In addition to its departments, SEAS supports a number of centers and programs dedicated to cutting-edge research, student support, and community engagement, including the Southeast Environmental Research Center, Center for Humanities in an Urban Environment, Marine Science Program, Creative Writing Program, Liberal Studies Program, and Global Water for Sustainability Center.
SEAS also promotes public awareness by educating local, national, and international communities, disseminating research findings on environmental issues, and providing leadership for a sustainable future. Its multi-disciplinary approach highlights the interconnectedness of physical, biological, and social environments as well as the many ways in which human communities experience, participate in, affect and are affected by their environment. Through research, education, and an interdisciplinary exchange of ideas, SEAS strives to bring about positive, tangible changes on local, national and international levels.
Dr. Evelyn Gaiser, Professor of Biology, serves as Interim Executive Director of SEAS. Professor Gaiser received her Ph.D. from the Institute of Ecology at the University of Georgia. She is well known nationally and internationally through her research in wetland and aquatic ecology, particularly her work on algal communities as indicators of environmental change. She has authored over 70 publications and been awarded nearly $25 million for her research over the past two decades including a $5.88 million grant renewal for the FCE LTER program in 2012. In her role as lead principal investigator of the FCE LTER, Dr. Gaiser has actively built and led interdisciplinary research groups that integrate the natural and social sciences and developed effective communication strategies to ensure that solutions to environmental challenges are implemented. In addition, Dr. Gaiser has helped to cultivate K-12 programs through the LTER Schoolyard program, and has built innovative partnerships with local artists to improve public engagement with the sciences. Dr. Gaiser has also worked actively with national and local governments to integrate scientific research into policy decisions. As Interim Director of SEAS, she will coordinate collaborative research projects, plan innovative curricula, promote the school in national and international events, and bring focus and cohesion to FIU’s many environmental research and teaching activities.
The School of Environment, Arts and Society continues to be a catalyst for strengthening, promoting, and contributing to environmental science and policy across the university and around the world.