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Institute of Environmental Research and Education

Faculty Executive Board

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The Faculty Executive Board provides strategic guidance for Institute of Environmental Research and Education (IERE). The board is comprised of members from all six UNF colleges with additional at-large members.

Faculty Board Members

Dr. Amber BarnesAmber Barnes, Ph.D.

Brooks College of Health

Dr. Amber Barnes is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health in the Brooks College of Health. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in global health, global health: water, sanitation and hygiene, environmental health and public health research. Her research is focused on the prevalence of zoonotic enteric parasites among vulnerable humans, animals and their shared environment using a One Health approach. Dr. Barnes also investigates individual and household risk factors for zoonotic disease exposure surrounding water, sanitation and hygiene services and behaviors as well as human-animal contact related to culture, agriculture and gender roles.  She leads the Coastal One Health and Zoonoses lab.

Dr. Chris BaynardChris Baynard, Ph.D.

Coggin College of Business 

Dr. Chris W Baynard is an Associate Professor in Geography and Geographic Information Systems in the Department of Economics and Geography in the Coggin College of Business.  He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in GIS, remote sensing and economic, cultural and physical geography with several of the courses being offered as independent study courses.  Additionally, he has developed and led study abroad courses focused on the wine industry in Argentina and Chile, alternative energy and sustainability in Holland, Germany, Spain (and Florida), as well as the mining industry in Chile (and Florida).  Dr. Baynard's research has focused on mapping and monitoring surface disturbances created by extractive activities, such as oil and gas to reduce the surface footprint and render the activities more sustainable.  Other research areas include earthquakes and injection wells in the Central US and the environmental and social effects of nuclear testing legacy in southern Nevada. 

Dr. Jeffrey ChamberlainJeffrey Chamberlain, Ph.D.

Hicks Honors College

Dr. Jeff Chamberlain, Dean of the Hicks Honors College since 2017, is a historian of early modern England. He became invested in environmentalism and sustainability when he was director of the Meijer Honors College at Grand Valley State. There he co-taught a sequence of courses (with an engineer and marketing professor) called Social Product Design and learned in the process how critical environmental issues are for the future of humankind. He has been a strong supporter of the Institute of Environment Research and Education since he came to UNF. Starting in 2019 he has annually taught an Honors first-year experience course at UNF called Self and Society, where students focus on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and emphasizes the ones on Climate Change and Sustainable Development.

Dr. Charles ClosmannCharles E. Closmann, Ph.D.

College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Charles Closmann is an Associate Professor in the Department of History in the College of Arts and Sciences. He teaches world history and environmental history.  His research and teaching focus on such topics as environmental justice, the ecological history of the St. Johns River, and the relationship between war and the environment. In addition to contributing to the annual State of the River Report and a project on environmental justice in Jacksonville, he is writing a 50th Anniversary History of the University of North Florida. Dr. Closmann also serves as a mentor for environmental studies students at the University of North Florida.

Dr. Raphael CrowleyRaphael W. Crowley, Ph.D.

College of Computing, Engineering and Construction

Dr. Raphael Crowley is an Associate Professor in Civil, Coastal, and Port Engineering in the Taylor Engineering Research Institute within the College of Computing, Engineering and Construction. He teaches several courses in civil engineering related to water, fluids, coasts, and ports.  Dr. Crowley’s research is usually under the umbrella of “coastal resiliency” and has included work on underwater noise during pile driving associated with bridge construction, using geomicrobial processes to strengthen shorelines, construction of artificial oyster reefs, wave forcing on beach houses, erosion around coastal bridge foundations, and development of a maritime management plan for Duval County. Dr. Crowley has also been involved in water erosion design associated with several relatively high-profile projects including the Mario Cuomo Bridge in Tarrytown, NY, the McMicken Dam in Surprise, AZ, the Chacao Channel Bridge in Chile, and the Port of Singapore.

Dr. Josh GellersJosh Gellers, Ph.D.

College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Josh Gellers is Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Administration in the College of Arts and Sciences and Director of the MA in International Affairs program at UNF. He teaches courses in comparative politics and international relations.  Dr. Gellers is also a Research Fellow of the Earth System Governance Project, Expert with the Global AI Ethics Institute, and former Fulbright Scholar to Sri Lanka. His research, which has been cited in UN and EU reports, focuses on environmental governance, rights, and technology. He has received the Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award, Outstanding International Leadership Award, and Outstanding Faculty Scholarship Award from UNF, been named Green Teacher of the Year by the U.S. Green Building Council Florida (Northeast Florida Region), and received the Environmental Achievement Award from the Jacksonville Environmental Protection Board. He is the author of The Global Emergence of Constitutional Environmental Rights (Routledge 2017) and Rights for Robots: Artificial Intelligence, Animal and Environmental Law (Routledge 2020).

Dr. Katrina HallKatrina Hall, Ph.D.

College of Education and Human Services 

Dr. Katrina Hall is an Associate Professor in Teaching, Learning and Curriculum in the College of Education and Human Services.  She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses with a focus on literacy.  Her research centers around literacy, play and outdoor learning through the lens of culturally responsive, whole child approach.  Dr. Hall also partnered with Dr. Largo-Wight to run a pilot study on cultivating healthy school environments focusing on outdoor classrooms.  

Dr. Nathan KunzNathan Kunz, Ph.D.

Coggin College of Business 

Dr. Nathan Kunz is an Associate Professor of Operations Management in the Coggin College of Business. He holds a Ph.D. in Management (Operations Management) from the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland and a Master of Science in International Business Development from the same university. His undergraduate degree was in Engineering (Automotive Technology). At UNF he teaches courses in Operations Management, Management Science and Modeling at the undergraduate and graduate level. He is the Program Director of the Master of Science in Business Analytics. Before joining UNF, he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at INSEAD, France. Before his academic career, Dr. Kunz worked as Deputy Director and Director of Operations at the Digger Foundation, a Swiss charity manufacturing humanitarian demining machines. His research focuses on various aspects of sustainability, including humanitarian operations, modern slavery in supply chains, extended producer responsibility and recycling. 

Erin Largo-Wight, Ph.D.Erin Largo-Wight, Ph.D. — Director

Brooks College of Health

Dr. Erin Largo-Wight is a Professor in the Department of Public Health and the Director of the Institute of Environmental Research and Education. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in public health and her research focuses on environmental health promotion.  Dr. Largo-Wight studies the impact of nature contact on stress, health, and well-being in the workplace, K-12 schools, clinical settings, and the home.  She also studies the determinants of health behaviors, especially environmental or sustainability-related behaviors (e.g., reduce single use plastic), and designs and evaluates the effectiveness of theory-based behavior change interventions.  As IERE's Director, her current focus is on environmental-related curriculum and programming development, student development and environmental leadership programs, student community engagement opportunities, community partnership and outreach, and facilitating and supporting faculty research and scholarship across the University.  

Dr. Kelly SmithKelly Smith, Ph.D.

College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Kelly Smith is an Associate Professor in Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences. Her courses focus on ichthyology, restoration ecology, limnology, biology, oceanography and field studies in marine science. She has always had a strong interest in the health of our coastal environment, both through scholarship and teaching, through better understanding the human impacts on these coastal systems. She was involved in ecological restoration projects in Delaware Bay and the Hackensack Meadowlands near New York City.  Dr. Smith's current focus is on the estuarine systems in Northeast Florida. Her research focuses on best practices for fish habitat restoration and improvement of water quality, with a key interest in the role different habitats such as oyster reef, salt marsh, and mangrove systems have on fish and benthic macro-faunal assemblages. Her current projects evaluate impacts of different methods of shoreline restoration on fish habitat use and abundance. Dr. Smith's research has direct implications for management and conservation of estuarine habitats and resources.

Dr. Heather TrueloveHeather Barnes Truelove, Ph.D.

College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Heather Barnes Truelove is a Professor of Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences.  She teaches courses in the areas of social psychology and research methods, including conservation psychology. Her research interests center on the psychology of pro-environmental behavior including research on perceptions of environmental problems, application of behavior change theory to predict environmental behavior, and design and evaluation of behavior change interventions.  Her work has been supported by several federal agencies, including NSF and NOAA, and has been widely published and cited.  She has won numerous university and college-wide awards for teaching, research and service.