Joyce McConnell feels right at home in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources

Joyce McConnell portrait

Colorado State University’s 15th President, Joyce McConnell.

Colorado State University’s new president, Joyce McConnell, J.D., has chosen the Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources in the Warner College of Natural Resources as her academic home.

The choice aligns with her professional experience teaching courses in sustainable development and natural resources at West Virginia University, as well as with her work on environmental and social justice issues with organizations such as the Nature Conservancy of West Virginia. Her dedication to the land-grant mission, which WVU and CSU share, is also evident in her connection to and concern for local agriculture.

“We are delighted to welcome President McConnell to the ranks of tenured faculty in the department,” said Michael Manfredo, professor, and department head. “Her area of expertise contributes in unique ways to our growing involvement in governance, policy, and inclusion in conservation. Having her as an occasional lecturer will be a real treat for us all.”

“We are delighted to welcome President McConnell to the ranks of tenured faculty in the department.”
— Michael Manfredo, professor and department head

McConnell received her undergraduate degree from Evergreen College in Olympia, Washington, in part because of its location that offered for hiking, camping and simply enjoying the outdoors. She is still passionate about nature and says she wants to make sure future generations have the same opportunities.

“I look forward to working with the multidisciplinary faculty (in HDNR),” she said during a recent luncheon welcoming her to the department. “I share your commitment to the conservation of our natural and cultural resources and am so excited to learn more from you about how we can be responsible stewards for future generations.”

Values aligned

McConnell earned her law degree from Antioch Law School in Washington, D.C., and has taught at the Georgetown University Law Center, the City University of New York School of Law, and the University of Maryland School of Law.  Her distinguished teaching career led to her being named dean of the WVU law school in 2008; she was named provost of the university in 2014, and will become CSU’s 15th president on July 1, 2019.

One of the core values of the department is diversity and inclusion; the faculty established a committee in 2015 to promote internal initiatives and to reward individual efforts toward promoting diversity and inclusion in the department and in advancing conservation goals. The department is also advancing an interdisciplinary minor within the college on diversity and natural resources.

This is another area where the interests of HDNR and CSU’s next president align: As WVU provost, McConnell was responsible for the university’s diversity programs, including Title IX, and even as a professor was a tireless champion for the LGBTQ community on campus.