In July, Nancy Mathews arrived at UVM as the new dean of the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources. She brings with her a rich understanding of problems that blur the boundaries between wildlife, ecology, and people — like the deadly chronic wasting disease spreading through central Wisconsin deer herds. Her decades of field research on white-tailed deer taught Mathews that, “first, we need to let the data speak,” she says. And that, “solutions often begin with deep listening to people on many sides of an issue,” she says — like hunters and state regulators.
Mathews, who was professor of environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, also brings a long-held commitment to service learning, following four years as the director of Wisconsin’s Morgridge Center for Public Service.
UVM Today spoke with Nancy Mathews to discuss her plans for the Rubenstein School and her vision for environmental education.