Southern Oregon University has many faculty dedicated to teaching courses and conducting research related to sustainability. 

Alissa Arp

Alissa Arp Ph.D.Image of Alissa Arp

Professor of Biology


Ph.D., MA, 1983, Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara

BA with Honors, Biology, 1977, Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, California


A Word From Dr. Arp:

I am relatively new to the ES faculty, after working in administration for some years previously. I try to bring a different perspective to the Environments Studies Program from my background and experience working in marine ecosystems. I am trained as a traditional biologist with a specialization in ecological physiology, and I have study and published on adaptations of marine organisms to habitats ranging from mudflats to hydrothermal vents.

I thoroughly enjoy fostering the basic understanding of biological principles and concepts, and I work to enrich my teaching with experiences from my fieldwork and research. I teach lower division general education courses in Biology and Environmental Studies, ES entry-level majors courses such as Environmental Studies I and II, as well as, Oceanography and senior and graduate level seminars. And who knows what the future might bring? I look forward to exploring it with our bright and committed SOU students.

Carol S. Ferguson

Dr. Carol S. Fergusonimage of carol ferguson


B.S. Zoology, B.S. General Science. 1980. Oregon State University 
M.S. Biology. 1984. University of Missouri - St. Louis 
Ph.D. Entomology. 1987. University of Missouri - Columbia

Invertebrate Natural History (Bi318)
Principles of Biology (Bi211, Bi212, Bi213)
Animal Behavior (Bi480/580)
Conservation of Natural Resources (Bi388)
General Biology (Bi101, Bi102, Bi103) 
Women in Science (Bi385)
Research Interests
Dr. Ferguson’s research involves collaborations with federal (Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife) and state agencies (CA Department of Fish and Game) in investigating the pollination systems of native rare and endangered flowering plants in southern Oregon and northern California. Successful protection of rare or endangered plants requires understanding the pollination requirements of these plants. Her past work identified the unique insect pollinator of the rare clustered lady slipper orchid, Cypripedium fasciculatum and documented the role of pollinators in the breeding system of the endangered Yreka phlox, Phlox hirsuta. Her current research efforts include monitoring and identifying the insect visitors and pollinators of the endangered Cook’s lomatium, Lomatium cookii.

John J. Gutrich

John J. Gutrich, PhD 


Associate Professor of Environmental Science

BS, 1994, PhD, 2000, The Ohio State University

Research Interests:
  • Ecological Economics & Sustainable Development
  • Economics of Climate Change, Carbon Sequestration and Climate Policy
  • Invasive Species Management
  • Environmental Modeling
  • Wetland Mitigation and Restoration
  • Watershed Management
Courses with sustainable content:
  • ES 103 Introduction to Environmental Studies: Social Science Perspectives
  • ES 350 Environmental Policy
  • ES 421 Ecological Economics and Sustainable Development
  • ES 442 Valuation of Ecosystem Goods and Services
  • ES 475 Environmental Modeling

Ric Holt

Ric Holt


Professor of Economics

Post-doctoral Studies, Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California at Berkeley 1988 

Ph.D. University of Utah 1987 

A.B. Occidental College 1976 


Research Interests:
  • Quality of life and sustainability
  • Environmental and Ecological Economics


Donald B. Hunsaker

Dr. Donald B. HunsakerImage of Dr. Hunsaker



  • Certificate in Community College Faculty Preparation, California State University, Fresno.
  • Doctor of Environmental Science and Engineering, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California.
  • Master of Science, Analytical Chemistry, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan.
  • Bachelor of Science, Chemistry, University of Wisconsin, Whitewater, Wisconsin.
Courses Taught at SOU

  • Introduction to Environmental Science: Earth Science (ES101) Lecture & Laboratory
  • Physical Environment I (ES111) Laboratory
  • Physical Environment II (ES 112) Labortatory
  • Energy and Climate Change (ES 327) Lecture and Laboratory
  • Climatology (ES482) Lecture and Laboratory
  • Introduction to Environmental Science (ES200)
  • Environmental Chemistry (CH101) Laboratory
Research Interests
Dr. Hunsaker’s research interests include assessing the impacts of human actions on the environment, applied air quality studies, and energy and environmental policy work. Dr. Hunsaker has over 30 years of experience working as an environmental scientist, engineer and planner for federal agencies, state and local agencies, and the private sector. Dr. Hunsaker has led or participated in the development of over thirty major interdisciplinary environmental impact assessment studies under the National Environmental Policy Act and the California Environmental Quality Act, and has led the development of seven major air quality plans for the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, which oversees one of the most challenging air quality improvement efforts in the country. He is past President of the National Association of Environmental Professionals and is currently a member of the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors. He is interested in online teaching and learning, and has developed and taught numerous online courses for colleges and universities.

Stewart Janes

Dr. Stewart Janesimage of stewart janes


B.A. 1976. University of Montana. Missoula, MT
M.S. 1980. Portland State University, Portland, OR
PhD. 1985. University of California, Los Angeles, CA

Ornithology (Bi471/571)
Conservation Biology (Bi438/538)
Concepts in Environmental Education (EE524)
Special Methods in Environmental Education (EE525)
Place-based Curriculum Development (EE527)
Environmental Issues (EE528)
Practical Applications of Environmental Education (EE593)
Leadership in Environmental Education (EE594)
Teaching in Environmental Education (EE595)
Special Methods: Secondary Science (Ed558)
Research Interests
Function of bird song
It is surprising just how little we understand about the function of bird song. Dr. Janes has been working for a number of years with Hermit and Black-throated Gray Warblers in the attempt to understand the functions of their two song categories. Unlike many birds, these species possess distinct song categories, which permits exploration of the messages contained within each. He has recently completed projects regarding dialects, structure of the complex second category song, and song convergence between the two species.

Raptor ecology
Dr. Janes’ original research interests focused on the structure of grassland and shrub-steppe raptor communities including Red-tailed, Swainson’s, and ferruginous Hawks plus the Prairie Falcon and Golden Eagle. He still works with students interested in raptor research. Recent projects include habitat relations in Great Gray Owl and age differences in relation to wing morphology and habitat use in Red-tailed Hawks.

Impact of forest management practices on bird populations
Dr. Janes is also working with the BLM to evaluate the impact of various forest management practices on bird populations both breeding and wintering. He is currently involved in a project evaluating timber harvest involving micro-clearcuts (0.2 Ac).

Steven L. Jessup

Steven L. Jessup, Ph.D.

Image of Steven Jessup

Associate Professor, Earth System Science

Ph.D. (Botany), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 1994
B.S. (Botany), University of Maryland, College Park 1977
Environmental Studies
  • Intro to Environmental Studies: Biological Science (ES 102)
  • Biodiversity (ES 379)
  • Science and Advocacy in Environmental Policy Debates (ES 383)
  • Ethnobotany and Cross-Cultural Communication (ES 384)
  • Biosphere, Ecology and Global Environmental Change (ES 479)


  • Plant Evolution and Systematics (Bi336)
  • Origins and Diversity of Land Plants (Bi432/532)
  • Algae, Fungi and Lichens (Bi436/536)
  • Plant Identification and Field Botany (Bi444/544)
  • Methods in Plant Systematics (Bi435/535)
  • Bryophytes (Bi442/542)
  • History and Philosophy of the Environmental Movement (Sc345)
  • Natural History of the Pacific Northwest (Bi532)
  • Senior Research in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (Bi492)
  • Bryophytes and Lichens (Siskiyou Field Institute)
Research Interests
Phylogeography of vascular plants and terrestrial non-vascular cryptogams (bryophytes and lichens) with an emphasis on species narrowly restricted to alpine and hyperoceanic environments in Pacific Northwestern North America.  Application of methods in molecular systematics to testing hypotheses about the origins of the alpine and hyperoceanic floras. Comparative study of genetic variation within and among populations of geographically widespread vs. geographically restricted species from those environments.

Historical evolution and origins of rare lineages and the practice of conservation biology as it applies to naturally rare species. Application of knowledge about stenoclimatic floras from geographically restricted mesohabitats to the problem of monitoring the effects of climate change on the biota.

Taxonomic and floristic research for treatments of several genera and families included in the forthcoming Flora of North America, Vol. 29, Marchantiophyta. Future research plans include a series of research expeditions into the North Cascades and coastal archipelagos of British Columbia and southeastern Alaska, and eventually to the Aleutian Islands.

Phylogeographic analysis of molecular and morphological variation in Gaudichaudia (Malpighiaceae), a genus of vines with a mixed mating system forming a hybrid complex among tetraploid lineages. Methods include analysis of restriction sites on the chloroplast genome, randomly amplified DNA, and morphometric analysis. Recent taxonomic revisions include description of six new species.

Charles L. Lane

Dr. Charles L. LaneImage of Dr. Charles Lane


Research Interests

My research interests here in southern Oregon center on the physical and chemical hydrology of surface waters (lakes and rivers) and groundwater. Put in other words, I work with water quality, so that people know how good (or poor) water is for various types of uses that interest us. I also work with water abundance (yes, water abundance is actually an issue in Oregon…). Further, I work with the concept of stream “health” as it applies to the flora and fauna that use the stream and stream area. This means that I (and my students) work with people from Biology, Chemistry, and Geography (computer mapping) as well.

In addition to work in hydrology, I’ve also an interest in the glacial geology of the high Cascades of southern Oregon and northern California (due in part, I suppose, to a lifelong interest in mountaineering and climbing some of the big peaks). A student interested in glacial geology would certainly find me willing to work with her/him. But heck, I’m interested in all kinds of things that have to do with earth science – and even more broadly, natural science. I have worked and will continue to work with students on a wide range of topics.


Donnie Maclurcan

Donnie Maclurcanimage of donnie maclurcan

Affiliate Professor

At 20, Donnie Maclurcan attained the Guinness World Record for the fastest journey on foot across Australia running from Perth to Sydney in 67 days , raising $30,000 for the sight-restoring work of The Fred Hollows Foundation. He spent the following decade presenting to school, community and corporate groups about ending avoidable blindness, while building a broader background as a professional speaker and facilitator. His interest in high-performance sports continued, with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Movement Studies leading to work with over 350 athletes as an exercise physiologist, including coaching the Fijian sailing team. During his 20s, he also worked with Sydney’s homeless, then as a telephone counsellor and coordinator of a lobby group for Aboriginal justice. His time on the NSW Human Rights Education Committee motivated him to spend two challenging years co-developing a case study about the 2002 drowning of 353 asylum seekers on their way to Australia.

Believing that additional supportive structures could help fellow Australians seeking to make a difference, Donnie established Project Australia. Through pro-bono consultancy, the organisation has helped more than 160 not-for-profit projects start, scale and sustain their work. As the organisation’s lead consultant, Donnie’s ability to provide valuable advice grew through his organizing the Great Australian Bike ride  (raising AUD $250,000 for mental health research) and assembling a directory of over 500 community passions and skills in his hometown of Brooklyn.

Continuing an early interest in world affairs, Donnie taught English and mathematics in South Korea, was a journalist at the World Social Forum in Kenya, and obtained a Ph.D. in international development, assessing nanotechnology’s implications for global equality. This resulted in an invitation from the Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations to present at a UNIDO Expert Group Meeting, the translation of his research into multiple languages, the publishing of two books: Nanotechnology and Global Equality and Nanotechnology and Global Sustainability and honorary appointment as a full professor at the age of 31. With his doctoral research sparking a passion for sustainability economics, Donnie co-founded the Post Growth Institute, and led the development of Post Growth Consulting, the (En)Rich List,  the Post Growth Challenge, the Post Growth Alliance (with a collective social media reach of 3 million), and Free Money Day: an international event, now spanning 31 countries, where people hand out their own money to complete strangers, asking them to pass half on to someone else. Most recently, he has established Cascades Hub: a start-up space for social innovators to develop not-for-profit businesses and projects that benefit Southern Oregon communities and beyond.

Distinguished Fellow at the Schumacher Institute, Affiliate Professor of Social Science at Southern Oregon University, Fellow with the Royal Society of the Arts, Fellow with the Findhorn Foundation, and Associate with the UTS Institute for Sustainable Future. Donnie is presently writing two books: How on Earth: Flourishing in a Not-for-Profit World by 2050; and The Not-for-Profit Handbook: How to Start, Scale and Sustain Resilient Projects in an Ever-Changing World.

Kathleen A. Page

Dr. Kathleen A. Pageimage of kathleen page


B.A. Biochemistry, University of California, Berkeley, 1978

M.A. Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1981

Ph.D. Microbiology and Immunology, University of California, Los Angeles, 1988

Elementary Microbiology (Bi214)

Microbiology (Bi351, Bi353)

Our Microbial World (Bi383)

Cell Biology (Bi342)

Immunology (Bi456/556)

Research Interests
Dr. Page's research is focused on Environmental Microbiology. She is isolating and characterizing novel bacterial species from diverse environmental sites such as Crater Lake and an abandoned copper mine. She is also interested in assessing microbial pollution problems that occur in regional waterways. 

Michael S. Parker

Dr. Michael S. Parkerfaculty parker

Professor & Department Chair

PhD, Ecology, University of California, Davis (Emphasis in Limnology and Aquatic Ecology). 1992
MS, Biological Sciences, University of Nevada, Las Vegas (Emphasis in Aquatic Biology). 1985
BS, Biology, Southern Oregon State College (Emphasis in Vertebrate Biology and Natural History). 1981
Courses taught on a regular basis:
Vertebrate Natural History (Bi 317)
Fish and Fisheries (Bi 450/550)
Herpetology (Bi 470/570)
Aquatic Ecology (Bi 475/575)
Trends in Environmental Education (EE 526)
Other Courses:
Principles of Biology
General Biology
Natural History of the Pacific Northwest
Research Interests
My primary research focus is on the structure and dynamics of aquatic food webs, with emphasis on the effects of human impacts and introduced species. Much of my work is involved with conservation of aquatic organisms and the environments that sustain them. Studies I am currently involved in include (1) a long-term study of the ecology and conservation of endemic aquatic invertebrates inhabiting thermal springs within the Ash Meadows National Wildlife, with special emphasis on the creeping water bugs (family Naucoridae); (2) a study of the effects of landscape heterogeneity and wetland succession on spatial distribution, seasonal movements and long-term viability of an Oregon spotted frog (Rana pretiosa) population within the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument; and (3) distribution of non-native crayfish their impacts on stream food webs and the native biota.

James Phillips

Dr. James Phillipsimage of Jim Phillips

Assistant Professor - Anthropology and International Studies


Ph.D. and M.A. Brown University

B.A. Boston College

Research Interests

Dr. Phillips has been education writer and policy analyst for international development agencies, and has taught at several universities. He specializes in Latin American studies, including Native peoples, human and cultural rights, social change, studies of refugee populations. He is a third generation descendant of Innu ancestors.

Jessica Piekielek

Jessica Piekielekimage of jessica piekielek

Associate Professor

Research and teaching interests

Conservation, environmentalism, applied anthropology, border and migration studies, Mexico, U.S., Latin America

George K. Quainoo

Dr. George K. Quainoofaculty quainoo

Associate Professor


  Ph. D, Mechanical Engineering   04/2004right>
    University  of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon
    Supervisor:  Prof S. Yannacopoulos
    Thesis Title:  The Effect of Cold Work on Precipitation in AA6111 Aluminum.
  M. Sc. Physics  01/1993right>
    University of Cape Coast, Ghana
    Supervisors:  Prof. A. Ayensu and Prof. S.K. Adjepong
    Thesis Title: Creep Deformation in Copper and Aluminum wires.
  B. Sc. (Hons) – Major: Physics, Minor: Mathematics  07/1989right>
    University of Cape  Coast, Ghana
    Advisor: Prof. A.N. deHeer-Amissah
    Dissertation Title: Estimation of Soil-Heat Flux using Soil Temperature Profiles.
  Diploma in Education  07/1989right>
    University of Cape Coast, Ghana

Academic Interests/Specilization:  
Materials Science and Metallurgy, Physics and Environmental Studies

John S. Roden

Dr. John S. Rodenimage of Dr. John Roden

Associate Professor


Ph.D., Botany, University of California, Davis. 1992

M.S., Botany, University of California, Davis. 1989.

B.S., Forest Management, University of Washington. 1987.

Plant Physiology, (Bi 331)

Principles of Biology, (Bi211)

Forest Ecology and Management (Bi386)

Biogeochemistry (Bi346)

Plant Form and Function (Bi434/534)

Introductory Ecology Lab (Bi340L)

Stable Isotope Ecology and Biogeochemistry (summer course, University of Utah) 

Research Interests

My fundamental interests are in Plant Physiological Ecology and Biogeochemistry with special reference to trees and forest ecosystems. The theme that binds my interests together is an interest in how the microenvironment of a plant influences its form and function. In particular, I have been interested in how plants acclimate and adapt to environmental heterogeneity with an emphasis on how those physiological and morphological characteristics affect survival and growth. Recent projects have included stable isotopes in tree ring cellulose as indicators of plant water use and climate change, the effects of wind and leaf movements (leaf flutter) on canopy light dynamics and its impact on photosynthesis, the effects of elevated CO2 and temperature extreme events (global change) on tree seedling physiology.

I am the faculty supervisor of the Southern Oregon University Stable Isotope Facility (SOUSIF), where we measure the stable isotopes of C, O and N from organic matter samples. Stable isotopes have numerous applications in biology and ecology and we have run samples for many different labs and investigators. Recently we had major NSF funded projects looking at the stable isotope variation in coast redwood trees as a proxy for climate variation over the last millennium.  


Mark A. Shibley

Mark A. ShibleyMark Shibley

Professor of Sociology

1993 Ph.D., Sociology, University of CaliforniaSanta Barbara.

1989 M.A., Sociology, University of California Santa Barbara.

1985 B.S., Sociology, University of Oregon. (summa cum laude; Phi Beta Kappa)
Courses taught at SOU
  • Sociological Imagination (Soc 204)
  • Environmental Studies (ES 210)
  • Introduction to Social Research (Soc 326)
  • People and Forests (Soc 350)
  • Quantitative Data Analysis (Soc 327)
  • Sustainability and Nature Resources (ES 423)
  • Sociology of Religion (Soc 461)
  • Environmental Sociology (Soc/ES 420)
  • Sociology Capstone (Soc 414)
  • Environmental Studies Capstone (ES 494)
Ongoing Research

My research interests include resurgent evangelical Protestantism, religion and politics, religion and environmentalism, environmental justice, and community-based social research. Recent projects involving students include surveys of Ashland Forest Resiliency Project stakeholders, small woodland owners in Oregon, Jackson County residents, and City of Ashland residents. These community-based projects measure perceptions and behavior ranging from public health concerns to the management of natural resources.

Vincent Smith

Dr. Vincent SmithImage of Dr. Vincent Smith

Associate Professor and Chair of Environmental Science & Policy


Ph.D. 2011 – Nelson Institute of Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI

M.S. 2004 – Environmental Science and Education, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 

B.S. 2001 – Biology – Plant Ecology, Truman State University, Kirksville, MO

Courses taught at SOU:
  • University Foundations: Green House (HSE 101,102,103)
  • Introduction to Environmental Science: Social Science (ES 103)
  • Environmental Science & Policy II (ES 310)
  • Sustainability and Natural Resources (ES 423)
  • Environmental Sociology (ES/SOC 420)
  • The Sociological Imagination (SOC 204)
  • Social Problems and Policy: Food and Nutrition (SOC 205)
  • Sociological Practice: Research Design and Writing (SOC 301)
  • Introduction to Social Research Methods (SOC 326)
  • Community Studies: Community-Based Research (SOC 310)
  • Sociology of the Family (SOC 312)
  • Food, Power, and Agriculture (SOC 425)
Research Interests

My research explores the complex coupled human-environment systems that shape the world in which we live.  I am currently looking specifically at food system design, community food insecurity, and the relationships between food policy and health.  I am also working on research with an undergraduate researcher exploring the nature of food purchasing decisions as they relate to local buying systems.  Overall, my research is driven by community and/or regional problem solving.  I partner with communities to understand socioenvironmental problems and then apply that research in decision-making contexts.  My work spans several traditional disciplinary boundaries including human ecology, environmental sociology, landscape ecology, agroecology, and human geography.

Though my research interests focus specifically around humans and the environment, I enjoy working with students from a wide range of sociological and environmental backgrounds.  I have advised undergraduate capstone research projects on topics as diverse as body modification to permaculture.  I am currently working with two undergraduate research assistants on collaborative research.  I welcome additional committed students with compatible research interests. 

In addition to my curent research interests I actively participate in the teaching and learning community at SOU through workshops, mentoring, and peer-assessment.