Integrative and Public Land Management Track

Faculty & Staff


Melanie  Armstrong, Ph.D.  headshot
Assistant Professor & Public Lands Coordinator
Office Location: Kelley Hall 109
Kate Clark, Ph.D.  headshot
Director of Undergraduate Environment & Sustainability Program; Graduate Faculty in Master in Environmental Management programs, Environment & Sustainability and Sociology programs
B.A., James Madison University, M.S., University of Colorado Boulder, Ph.D., University of Colorado Boulder, Environmental Studies
Office Location: Kelley Hall 146
Luke  Danielson headshot
Clark Sustainable Development Chair in Environment and Sustainability
JD, University of California School of Law, B.A., Antioch College
Phone: 303.912.0855
Office Location: Kelley 206
Suzanne Ewy, JD headshot
Coldharbour Chair in Environment & Sustainability, Executive Director, Coldharbour Institute
B.S., Fort Lewis College, MSL, Vermont Law School, J.D., Seattle Law School
Phone: 970.943.2023
Office Location: Kelley Hall 114A
Karen Hausdoerffer, MFA headshot
Lecturer in Environment & Sustainability
B.A., Stanford University, Creative Writing and English, 1997, Teaching Certificate, University of New Mexico, Elementary Education, 1998, MFA, University of Idaho, Fiction, 2003
Phone: 970.943.3450
Office Location: Kelley Hall 142
John C. Hausdoerffer, Ph.D.  headshot
Dean, School of Environment & Sustainability
B.A., Western Colorado University, M.A., St. John's College, Ph.D., Washington State University
Phone: 970.943.3450
Office Location: Kelley Hall 142
Corrie Knapp, Ph.D. headshot
Assistant Professor of Environment & Sustainability
B.A., University of Colorado Denver, Literature and Writing, 1999, M.S., Colorado State University, Rangeland Ecology, 2006, Ph.D., University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2010
Phone: 970.943.3154
Office Location: Kelley Hall 116
Jeff Sellen, Ph.D.  headshot
Director of Environment & Sustainability, Assistant Professor of Environment & Sustainability, Director of the Colorado Water Workshop
B.A., Wartburg College , M.A., University of Nebraska-Omaha, Ph.D., Washington State University
Phone: 970.943.3162
Office Location: Kelley Hall 104
Sally Thode headshot
Lecturer in Environment & Sustainability
B.S., Colorado State University, M.S., Colorado State University
Office Location: Kelley Hall 114A
Jessica Young, Ph.D. headshot
Professor of Environment and Sustainability, Master in Enviornmental Management and Master of Science in Ecology
B.A., University of California San Diego, Ph.D., Purdue University
Phone: 970.943.2195
Office Location: Leslie J. Savage Library 120

Western is the ideal place for an education in integrative public lands management, with 82 percent of Gunnison County being public land.

The Program

The Integrative & Public Land Management (IPLM) track focuses on building resilient social and ecological systems and navigating the complex realities of project management, climate action and collaborative solutions with diverse communities. Students immerse in applied projects, field experiences and a self-designed, 600-hour master’s project; they leave prepared for careers in public lands management, private lands conservation and conservation advocacy.

The MEM faculty have extensive experience working for conservation nonprofits, environmental consulting companies and agencies. These practical experiences inform their approach to teaching, their mentorship style, as well as providing networks students can tap for their future careers. Our faculty help students find their niche in land management and climate adaptation.

Why Western? 

The MEM takes full advantage of the abundance of public land in Gunnison County where diverse ecosystems, natural resources, participation in conservation easement agreements and enthusiastic community partners abound. Our faculty have interests ranging from ecology and wildlife biology to recreation management and geography to strategies in the face of climate chaos and bring a wealth of connections with local, regional and national environmental organizations. MEM students are immersed in a matchless outdoor laboratory with true experts in lands management guiding them along the way.

More than 90 percent of our graduates are employed in an environmental position either prior to or immediately following graduation at organizations such as:

  • U.S. Forest Service
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • National Park Service
  • Defenders of Wildlife
  • Teton Science Schools
  • Jeffco Open Space Parks and Trails
  • Crested Butte Land Trust

What Skills Will I Acquire?

Western’s IPLM track was created in response to interviews with federal and local agencies, nonprofit executive directors and environmental consultants who identified the skills and experiences they wish to see in their employees. In-demand skills that you will acquire in the program include:

  • Understanding how to analyze and manage social and ecological systems
  • Applying scientific knowledge and methods to environmental management questions
  • Navigating complex and challenging problems with diverse stakeholders
  • Transforming land management institutions to respond better to social and ecological change