Meyer SR, Levesque VR, Bieluch KH, Johnson L, McGreavy B
. Sustainability science graduate students as boundary spanners
. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences [Internet]. 2016;6 (2) :344–353. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Graduate training in sustainability science (SS) fo- cuses on interdisciplinary research, stakeholder-researcher partnerships, and creating solutions from knowledge. But be- coming a sustainability scientist also requires specialized training that addresses the complex boundaries implicit in sus- tainability science approaches to solving social-ecological system challenges. Using boundary spanning as a framework, we use a case study of the Sustainability Solutions Initiative (SSI) at the University of Maine to explicate key elements for graduate education training in SS.We used a mixed-methods approach, including a quantitative survey and autoethnographic reflection, to analyze our experiences asSSI doctoral students. Through this research, we identified four essential SS boundaries that build on core sustainability competencies which need to be addressed in SS graduate pro- grams, including: disciplines within academia, students and their advisors, researchers and stakeholders, and place-based and generalizable research. We identified key elements of training necessary to help students understand and navigate these boundaries using core competencies. We then offer six best practice recommendations to provide a basis for a SS education framework. Our reflections are intended for aca- demic leaders in SS who are training new scientists to solve complex sustainability challenges. Our experiences as a co- hort of doctoral students with diverse academic and profes- sional backgrounds provide a unique opportunity to reflect not only on the challenges of SS but also on the specific needs of students and programs striving to provide solutions.
McGreavy B, Calhoun AJK, Jansujwicz J, Levesque VR
. Citizen science and natural resource governance: program design for vernal pool policy innovation
. Ecology And Society. 2016;21 (2) :48.Abstract
Effective natural resource policy depends on knowing what is needed to sustain a resource and building the capacity to identify, develop, and implement flexible policies. This retrospective case study applies resilience concepts to a 16-year citizen science program and vernal pool regulatory development process in Maine, USA. We describe how citizen science improved adaptive capacities for innovative and effective policies to regulate vernal pools. We identified two core program elements that allowed people to act within narrow windows of opportunity for policy transformation, including (1) the simultaneous generation of useful, credible scientific knowledge and construction of networks among diverse institutions, and (2) the formation of diverse leadership that promoted individual and collective abilities to identify problems and propose policy solutions. If citizen science program leaders want to promote social-ecological systems resilience and natural resource policies as outcomes, we recommend they create a system for internal project evaluation, publish scientific studies using citizen science data, pursue resources for program sustainability, and plan for leadership diversity and informal networks to foster adaptive governance.