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Prominent Sociologist to Join School of International Service and Lead Center for Environment, Community, and Equity at AU

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Dana R. Fisher, professor of sociology at the University of Maryland and the president of the Eastern Sociological Society, will join American University as a professor in the School of International Service on July 1 and serve as the director of the university’s Center for Environment, Community, and Equity.

Launched in October 2022, CECE promotes cross-disciplinary work in environment, justice, racial equity, and citizen engagement. Building on the university’s long-standing strengths in social justice and environmental protection, the center is forging new paths for addressing some of the world’s most pressing challenges and advances AU’s commitment to sustainability.  

“We are thrilled to welcome Professor Fisher into our SIS Community,” said Shannon Hader, Dean of AU’s School of International Service. “She brings world-class scholarship and embraces our mission to bring together people and expertise from a variety of disciplines and perspectives for solutions that further climate justice. She leads by example for our students—ensuring that her work speaks both to scholars and also to people and policy-makers outside academic walls.”

At the University of Maryland, Fisher is the director of the Program for Society and the Environment. Her research probes climate activism and politics, civic engagement, political elites' responses to climate change, and how federal service corps programs are working   to combat climate change in ways that expand diversity, equity and inclusion of the federal workforce. She is a Non Resident Senior Fellow in the governance program at the Brookings Institution. Her seventh book, Saving Ourselves: From Climate Shocks to Climate Action, will be coming out in early 2024.

"I'm so excited to be joining the vibrant intellectual community at American University through the School of International Service,” said Fisher. “I look forward to getting started collaborating with all of the scholars at American who work on environmental issues across the campus to make the new Center for Environment, Community, and Equity a success."

A contributing author for the third Working Groups of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Sixth Assessment Review (IPCC AR6), Fisher serves on the editorial boards of the journals Climate Policy, Climate Action, and Mobilization. She holds a Ph.D. and master of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

This year, AU commemorates the five-year anniversary of the university’s achievement of carbon neutrality. AU was the first large urban university in the nation to achieve carbon neutrality. In 2021, AU launched a five-year sustainability plan that includes taking steps to achieve zero waste by 2030 by eliminating single-use plastics, increasing composting and recycling, and decreasing overall waste. The plan also provides a roadmap for connecting sustainability to areas such as environmental justice, wellness, and scholarship.