Humphrey School News—July 6, 2018

Humphrey School Welcomes Sustainability Scholar Bonnie Keeler as New Faculty Member


Bonnie Keeler
Humphrey School Assistant Professor Bonnie Keeler

Noted environmental researcher Bonnie Keeler joins the faculty of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs this fall, where she will launch a major new research project on water and equity. Keeler, assistant professor in the science, technology and environmental policy area, has led cutting-edge research around ecosystem services, environmental economics, and the value of clean water.

Keeler comes to the Humphrey School from the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment where she led the Natural Capital Project— a collaborative partnership among the University of Minnesota, Stanford University, the Nature Conservancy, and World Wildlife Fund that seeks to better communicate and quantify the value of nature.

“My main focus is on the economic value of clean water and its importance in terms of equity, health, recreation, and culture,” says Keeler. “I also work to understand the relationship between water quality and community development, particularly the distribution of environmental benefits and harms.”

At the Humphrey School, Keeler, along with Co-Director Kate Derickson of the University's geography department, will lead a new Grand Challenges initiative called CREATE (Co-developing Research and Engaged Approaches to Transform our Environment). The CREATE initiative, funded by a $720,000 grant from the University, will bring together community partners in the Twin Cities and Atlanta to co-design research around water and equity.

“We are fortunate to have Dr. Keeler join our Humphrey School faculty,” says Dean Laura Bloomberg. "She is a boundary crosser in her approach to research, and she has a track record of bringing together people with varied expertise and varied perspectives to solve problems in innovative new ways. That is precisely the kind of collaboration that we promote and value here at the Humphrey School.”

Keeler works to change how academia approaches environmental problems and advocates for new ways to connect scientists and decision makers. She will teach courses in environmental economics, environmental justice, and the policy of food, water, and energy systems at the Humphrey School, and says she’s looking forward to working more closely with students.

“I am really inspired by Humphrey School students. That was a huge draw for me to come here,” says Keeler. “Students here are ambitious and motivated, and come from a diverse set of backgrounds. They tend to be very thoughtful about their place in the world and what they want to do.”

Keeler earned her bachelor’s degree from Colorado College, and her master’s degree and PhD from the University of Minnesota.

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