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Institute of Environmental Research and Education

Faculty Executive Board

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. Courtney AzzariCourtney Azzari, Ph.D.

Coggin College of Business

Dr. Courtney Nations Azzari is an Associate Professor of Marketing in the Coggin College of Business. Her research focuses on issues related to services marketing and transformative consumer research. Dr. Azzari seeks to better understand how services and consumption impact human and environmental well-being during transformational experiences and rituals. Her work has examined sustainable and traditional funerary services, social services, healthcare, and natural disaster recovery. Overall, she aims to understand how service providers can positively influence meaningful life experiences in ways that are inclusive, co-creative, responsive, sustainable, and considerate of well-being issues.  Dr. Azzari received the 2021 American Marketing Association Marketing and Society Special Interest Group Emerging Scholar Award and a University of North Florida 2022 Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award.

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. 

Headshot photo of Stuart Chalk, Ph.D. Stuart Chalk, Ph.D.

College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Stuart J. Chalk is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of North Florida. Although trained as an analytical chemist, Dr. Chalk’s research now focuses on the areas of Chemical Informatics and Data Science.  In particular, Dr. Chalk has projects focused on machine accessibility of solubility, online enhancements to the IUPAC Gold Book, automated extraction and annotation of chemical property data from PDF files, and scientific data models. Dr. Chalk received an NSF funded grant in 2019 focusing on semantic integration of heterogeneous data sets from toxicology, medicine, materials, biodiversity, and chemistry. His latest project, “KnowLedger” a digital research notebook, was funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in June 2021.

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.

Headshot of Dr. Raphael Crowley standing outside with trees in the background.Raphael 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.

Headshot of Florentino De la Cruz standing in front of a brick wall. Florentino De la Cruz, Ph.D.

College of Computing, Engineering and Construction

Dr. De la Cruz is an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering in the College of Computing, Engineering and Construction. His instructional focus includes environmental engineering, impacted site characterization and remediation, environmental chemistry, life cycle analysis and techno-economic analysis. Dr. De la Cruz's research focuses on the intersection of sustainability, energy, and the protection of human health and the environment. He investigates the chemical and biological processes involved in both natural and engineered systems. He has active research on PFAS remediation through thermal and novel absorbent-based processes.  Additionally, he is characterizing a large subset of organic chemicals found in the St. Johns River for chemical profiling and fingerprinting, as well as assessing their impact on human health and the environment.  Dr. De la Cruz also examines the impact of waste management on climate change, particularly methane emissions from landfills and biomass carbon removal and storage (BiCRS). 

Dr. Josh GellersJosh Gellers, Ph.D.

College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Josh Gellers is a 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.  

Headshot of Scott Jones, Ph.D. Scott Jones, Ph.D.

College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Scott Jones is an Assistant Professor in Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences.  He is an ecologist seeking to understand ecosystems through a plant lens.  Dr. Jones' instructional focuses on plant anatomy and physiology as well as coastal ecosystem ecology. His research centers around the fundamental questions of how ecosystems respond to the rapid pace of global environmental change along with how plants mediate ecosystem function and response. Dr. Jones uses wetlands as model ecosystems, as they are globally threatened, are important players in the carbon cycle and affect climate, and require interdisciplinary approaches to understand. His work thus spans several fields, including biogeochemistry, plant physiology, hydrology, and soil science. Dr. Jones uses methods from these fields in manipulative experiments, field surveys, and modeling exercises. Through his federal agency experience, he is passionate about how these questions lead to action. 

Headshot of Erin Largo-WightErin 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. Dr. Largo-Wight’s teaching focuses on behavioral and social solutions to public and environmental health problems. Her studies focus on measuring nature and testing nature contact interventions (e.g., outdoor classroom, workplace nature, nature in clinical settings, etc) on health. In addition, Dr. Largo-Wight studies the environmental health behaviors and change interventions to inform practice (e.g., plastic use, active commuting, etc).  This work focused on nature and environmental behavior has been supported by federal agencies and national associations (e.g., NOAA, APHA), and has been published and well cited in the research literature, as well as covered in news and popular press outlets. Dr. Largo-Wight has received impact and excellence awards focused on her research contributions and high impact teaching. 

Headshot photo of Dr. Adrien Malek-Lasater standing outside.

Adrien Malek-Lasater, Ph.D.

College of Education and Human Services

Dr. Adrien Malek-Lasater is an Assistant Professor in Early Childhood Education in the College of Education and Human Services and the Director of Research and Professional Development for the UNF Preschool.  She advocates for constructivist teaching approaches and supports children's learning through inquiry and experience. Dr. Malek-Lasater has a strong interdisciplinary background in both practice and research. Her research interests focus on improving learning environments for teachers and children, specifically fostering positive teacher and child well-being and improving mealtimes in early care and education settings.  

Dr. Adam Rosenblatt HeadshotAdam Rosenblatt, Ph.D.

College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Adam Rosenblatt is an Assistant Professor of Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on ecology, climate change, zoology, and crocodilian biology. He has studied the ecological impacts of climate change for more than 15 years at Florida International University, Yale University, the U.S. Department of Energy, and now at UNF. His research currently focuses on alligator ecology in Florida and Georgia, and he also led the Jacksonville Heat Mapping Project in 2022. Adam served on the Jacksonville City Council Special Committee on Resiliency in 2020 and Mayor Deegan's Resiliency Subcommittee in 2023. He received the Jacksonville Environmental Protection Board Resilience Champion Award in 2022 and the UNF Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2023. 


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.