Integrative & Public Land Management Track


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Faculty & Staff


Melanie  Armstrong, Ph.D.  headshot
Assistant Professor & Public Lands Coordinator
Office Location: Kelley Hall 109
D. Scott Borden, Ph.D. headshot
Director, Outdoor Industry MBA
Phone: 970.943.2294
Office Location: Kelley Hall 108
Abel Chávez, Ph.D. headshot
Dean of Graduate Studies, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Associate Professor of Environment & Sustainability
Phone: 970.943.2017
Office Location: Kelley 104, Quigley 114
Kate Clark, Ph.D. headshot
Director of Undergraduate Environment & Sustainability Program; Graduate Faculty in Master in Environmental Management programs, Environment & Sustainability and Sociology programs
Office Location: Kelley Hall 146
Jonathan Coop, Ph.D. headshot
Associate Professor
Phone: 970.943.2565
Office Location: Kelley Hall 105
Luke  Danielson headshot
Clark Sustainable Development Chair in Environment and Sustainability
Phone: 303.912.0855
Office Location: Kelley 206
Jennie DeMarco, Ph.D. headshot
Lecturer in Environment & Sustainability
Phone: 970.943.2013
Office Location: Leslie J. Savage Library 303
Dave Ellerbroek, Ph.D. headshot
Graduate Faculty for Sustainability Transitions
Office Location:
Suzanne Ewy, JD headshot
Coldharbour Chair in Environment & Sustainability, Executive Director, Coldharbour Institute
Phone: 970.943.2023
Office Location: Kelley Hall 114A
Karen Hausdoerffer, MFA headshot
Lecturer in Environment & Sustainability
Phone: 970.943.3450
Office Location: Kelley Hall 142
John C. Hausdoerffer, Ph.D.  headshot
Dean, School of Environment & Sustainability
Phone: 970.943.3450
Office Location: Kelley Hall 142
Salif P. Mahamane, M.S. headshot
Assistant Professor of Psychology; Graduate Faculty, MEM
Phone: 970.943.7037
Office Location: Kelley Hall 206
Taryn Mead, Ph.D. headshot
Graduate Faculty for the School of Environment & Sustainability and Outdoor Industry MBA
Phone: 970.943.3954
Office Location: Kelley Hall 108
Brooke Moran, Ph.D. headshot
Professor of Recreation & Outdoor Education for MEM Graduate Program, Graduate Faculty for Outdoor Industry MBA
Phone: 970.943.2118
Office Location: Wright Gym 223
Jeff Sellen, Ph.D.  headshot
Professor of Environment & Sustainability, Director of Colorado Water Workshop
Phone: 970.943.3162
Office Location: Kelley Hall 107
Sally Thode headshot
Lecturer in Environment & Sustainability
Office Location: Kelley Hall 114A
Jessica Young, Ph.D. headshot
Professor of Environment & Sustainability, Master in Environmental Management and Master of Science in Ecology
Phone: 970.765.8488
Office Location: Kelley Hall 143


For required courses and degree plans, visit the official University Catalog. Below is a general overview of courses at Western Colorado University related to this area of study.


An introduction to the MEM program, to bioregional and resilient approaches to environmental management, and to the environmental stakeholders, problems, solutions, and learning laboratories of the Gunnison Valley. Requires two-week residency in Gunnison during culmination of course.

 ENVS 605 - Science of Environment Management (3 cred.)

Provides a rigorous and hands-on overview of the principles and methods of environmental science. Students gain practical experience with a range of laboratory, field, and analytical approaches, with a focus on current environmental research in the Gunnison Basin. Topics include water quality, riparian condition, rangeland monitoring, forest health, threatened and endangered species, air quality, conservation, and ecological restoration. Students develop skills in scientific literature searches, writing monitoring protocols, ensuring quality data collection, databasing, statistical analysis, interpretation of results, written and oral communication, and peer review. Prerequisites: ENVS 601.


Analysis of the key interactions between environmental policy and management, focusing on environmental decision-making within an array of policy contexts. Emphasis is on important federal policies such as the Clean Water Act and NEPA, with additional attention to relevant state and local policies. Prerequisites: ENVS 601


Course focuses on developing and managing environmental projects and organizations. Students develop a thorough understanding of integrative assessment, adaptive management, and triple bottom line strategies. Students apply these approaches to the development of professional skills such as organizational development, conflict management, and environmental communication. Prerequisites: ENVS 601


An overview of a range of quantitative analytical methods and statistical approaches essential to environmental management careers in both Integrative Land Management and Sustainable and Resilient Communities. Topics covered include descriptive and inferential statistics, databasing, geographic information systems, and graphic presentation of results. Course empowers students to organize, analyze, and graphically present environmental data. Prerequisite: ENVS 601.


An investigation of the science of climate change, with an emphasis on mitigation and adaptation strategies for careers in environmental management. Students will develop an understanding of the principles of atmospheric and earth sciences that form the scientific basis of climate change and survey the large body of evidence of anthropogenic warming. Topics include greenhouse gas emissions, climate forcings and feedbacks, observed and projected climate changes, effects on ecological and human systems, and the opportunities and challenges of a diverse suite of strategies for climate change mitigation and adaptation at the local, regional, and planetary scale. Prerequisite: ENVS 605.

 ENVS 618 - Public Lands Management (3 cred.)

An exploration of the current and traditional approaches to public land and resource management. A regional focus on the Western U.S. is integrated with comparative examples from other regions and countries to enhance and broaden student perspectives. Course examines the history and future management implications of public lands agencies and policies, such as the National Parks, National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, NEPA and multi-use mandates. Special focus will be given to the management skills necessary in leading public lands agencies on the regional level. Prerequisites: ENVS 605; ENVS 608; ENVS 611.


An introduction to the Master’s Project. Course examines environmental project design strategies, successful environmental solutions, and organizations/community stakeholder groups seeking environmental management assistance from MEM students in the Master’s Project. Students design, plan, and coordinate second year Master’s Project with faculty mentors and community stakeholders. Requires two-weeks residency in Gunnison during culmination of course. Prerequisites: MEM Core

Western is the ideal place for an education in integrative land 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 land management, private land 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 and mentorship, as well as providing networks. 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 land 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
  • Jefferson County 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

Apply to MEM

Learn More

Reach out for more information about the program.

Assistant Professor & Public Lands Coordinator
Office Location: 
Kelley Hall 109

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