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Dean's Update March 6, 2023

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Dear SDSS Community,

As we approach the end of winter quarter, I wanted to reach out to highlight what we are achieving together and express gratitude for your tremendous efforts.

In the last month, I’ve met with faculty, staff, and students from across Stanford, not to mention colleagues from other institutions, policymakers, alumni, supporters, industry leaders, and so on. The common thread in all these interactions revolves around a single sentiment: they’re rooting for us.  Such widespread support is a direct function of the work each of you do. We may have formally launched as a school a mere six months ago, but our momentum comes from five years of planning and effort by all of you and led by Kam Moler and Steve Graham.

We continue to make marked progress across the school:

  • I’m pleased to announce that on March 1, Kabir Peay started as faculty director of the Earth Systems program. Since 2014, Kabir has been advising students in the Earth Systems program and has taught several classes that are part of academic tracks within Earth Systems. I want to thank Kabir for agreeing to take on this important role and Karen Casciotti for her service as faculty director over the past three years.
  • We have recruited and continue to recruit faculty in the two School-wide searches opened last year (Climate and Sustainable Development & Environmental Justice), and we hope to hire approximately one person from each of the five additional searches running this year (China and Climate, Environmental Justice, Nature-based Climate Solutions, Environmental Behavioral Sciences, and the “Pulse of the Planet” initiative).  We anticipate launching several additional searches early in the next academic year and are well positioned to continue building the school over the coming decade.
  • This quarter, we successfully launched the first of our SUSTAIN 101 courses. I have been so pleased to co-teach the inaugural section with Kam Moler this quarter, and the series continues with courses taught by Noah Diffenbaugh and Jonathan Payne this spring and Khalid Osman in the autumn.
  • The second installment of the Dean’s Lecture Series brought together experts in energy, epidemiology, and Native environmental policy earlier this month as part of roundtable discussion on environmental justice.
  • And while a formal launch is forthcoming, I’m also pleased to announce the Stanford Doerr Discovery Grants. Available to SDSS faculty, these grants will provide up to $75K per year for two years and will emphasize fundamental, inquiry-based research on topics such as Earth processes, life on the planet, planetary bodies, energy and building materials, and societies. I look forward to sharing more details as we get closer to a formal launch.

Thank you for being a part of the SDSS community and for all you do to make this unique institution thrive. I invite you to stay up to date and find opportunities to interact through the wealth of content on our News and Events page and on our social media. Our Community Awards page allows us to celebrate honors received by faculty, students, and postdocs.


Arun Majumdar
Chester Naramore Dean, Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability
Jay Precourt Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Energy Science and Engineering
Senior Fellow, Precourt Institute for Energy & Hoover Institution