New York, May 31, 2012—Professor Michael B. Gerrard has been elected associate chair of the faculty of The Earth Institute at Columbia University, the world’s leading academic center confronting the practical challenges of sustainable development.
Gerrard, the Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice and director of the Columbia Center for Climate Change Law, said he aims to advance the institute’s mission of fostering interdisciplinary collaboration among faculty members—a mission in which the law plays a critical role.
“The legal aspects of environmental protection are themselves intrinsically cross-disciplinary,” said Gerrard, a leading expert in his field who has practiced environmental law for more than three decades. “The law is the mechanism by which scientific findings are translated into policy.”
Gerrard has led the Center for Climate Change Law since its launch in 2009, and has worked closely with The Earth Institute on a range of issues over the past three years.
Together with Edward Lloyd, the Evan M. Frankel Clinical Professor in Environmental Law and Director of Clinical Education, Gerrard is one of two Law School professors serving on The Earth Institute’s faculty. Gerrard said the possibility of working with institute’s experts was one reason he was attracted to Columbia Law School in the first place.
“The Earth Institute was one of the factors that drew me to Columbia when I joined the Law School faculty in 2009,” he said. “I was excited about being able to work with so many outstanding scientists.” In his new role, Gerrard will oversee The Earth Institute’s faculty, which consists of 44 members from 10 schools and 23 departments at Columbia.
One of the institute’s key objectives is to envision future scenarios of planetary conditions and how to prevent the worst impacts of human activities, Gerrard said. “This involves almost every imaginable aspect of the physical and social sciences,” he said.
Peter Schlosser, the Vinton Professor of Earth and Environmental Engineering at the School of Engineering and Applied Science and Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University, was re-elected as chair of The Earth Institute faculty. Jeffrey Sachs, the Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development at the School of International and Public Affairs and Professor of Health Policy and Management, continues as director of The Earth Institute.