May 25, 2013
Diana Carlin

New Director Named for Center for Sustainability

John Woolschlager, Ph.D., founding chair of SLU's new civil engineering department, will lead the Center effective July 1.

John Woolschlager
John Woolschlager. Submitted photo

John Woolschlager, Ph.D., has been named the new director of the Center for Sustainability at Saint Louis University, effective July 1. Woolschlager was part of the original faculty team that planned the Center's curriculum and he has continued to lead the faculty advisory team in refining and expanding program offerings.

Woolschlager has a Ph.D. in environmental engineering from Northwestern University, and prior to this appointment, Woolschlager was the founding chair of a new civil engineering department that began at SLU in the fall of 2009. Under Woolschlager's leadership, civil engineering has become one of the most successful new programs at SLU. Since 2009, the program has grown from 10 to more than 80 students, including four Ph.D. students, and has added several new and well-equipped laboratories, two highly-supportive staff members and five outstanding faculty as of the fall of 2013. Woolschlager will also continue to serve as interim chair of the department for the 2013-14 academic year until a new chair can be hired.

Woolschlager's research involves developing computer models of environmental systems to address pollution control, water quality improvement and sustainability issues. Some examples of his funded projects include the optimization of large-scale urban drinking water systems to save energy, the optimization of wastewater treatment plants to achieve nutrient pollution reduction, applied research addressing world sanitation issues in developing nations, and analysis of regional sustainability issues. He is currently a co-PI with Sarah Coffin, Ph.D., a faculty member in the Center for Sustainability, working on a $4.8 million grant with the East-West Gateway Council of Governments supporting the Regional Plan for Sustainable Development (RPSD). SLU received about $700,000 from this grant to support academic research. Woolschlager's role on the RPSD project is to help utilize simulation models to evaluate sustainability issues for the Saint Louis region.

The Saint Louis University Center for Sustainability was established in 2010 by a grant from the Alberici Foundation, with additional funding provided by Banpu to fund an endowed professorship. In 2012 the Urban Planning and Real Estate Development Program was added to the Center along the Center for Environmental Sciences (CES) that offers a research and educational environment to examine the interaction of the solid earth, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere, and how humans are interacting with these systems.

The Center for Sustainability offers both a master's degree in sustainability and a master's degree in urban planning and real estate development. A new joint-MBA and master's of sustainability, sponsored in conjunction with the John Cook School of Business, can be completed in 18 months. The Center partners with the earth and atmospheric sciences, biology, sociology and anthropology departments to offer an undergraduate certificate in geographic information systems (18 credit hours) and a graduate certificate in advanced remote sensing and GIS (15 credit hours). To support research development, the Center for Sustainability provides seed grants to SLU faculty who propose promising sustainability-related research ideas. Through innovative academic programs, applied research and regional outreach opportunities, the Center for Sustainability's students and faculty develop creative, collaborative solutions to improve the world around them. Playing a pivotal role in green business and government throughout the metro Saint Louis area, the Center for Sustainability offers community education, hosts regional conferences and partners with leaders in the green community.

For more information about these programs, including a list of required courses, electives, career paths and application information, visit the Center for Sustainability website.

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