Core Faculty & Directors

The principal faculty for the institute, listed here alphabetically, are eminent scholars who teach and publish about Aldo Leopold in the subject area they lead. They directed the lecture and discussion Monday through Wednesday mornings, and they presented an evening talk for the general public at Prescott Public Library.

  • J. Baird Callicott is universally recognized as one of the founding voices of environmental ethics, a discipline he helped pioneer in the late 1960s while teaching at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. Dr. Callicott was the lead instructor for Week Three, which examined the philosophical and ethical foundations of Leopold’s writings. At the time of the institute Baird was Regents Professor of Philosophy and Religion Studies at the University of North Texas (he moved to Texas Tech in 2009-10). He is the author of literally hundreds of articles and dozens of books. His many titles that focus on Aldo Leopold include Beyond the Land Ethic, In Defense of the Land Ethic, Companion to Sand County Almanac, and The River of the Mother of God and Other Essays with Susan Flader. When asked to participate, Baird wrote: “Your Leopold ‘09 plans sound very interesting. I was an NEH fellow back in 1988 – which I remember vividly and pleasantly – at the University of Hawai'i focused on comparative philosophy. It was very productive for me. … I would be very pleased to participate in the one you are organizing for 2009.”
  • Susan Flader, who joined the institute’s participants for final preparation of their exhibit design and syllabi, and to keynote the closing event, is Professor of History at the University of Missouri, where she teaches environmental, western, and Missouri history. She is the author of Thinking Like a Mountain, the first detailed study of Leopold and a recognized classic. Dr. Flader also directs the indexing of Leopold’s papers at the University of Wisconsin archives. In addition to Thinking Like a Mountain, she has written or edited five books and numerous articles, including Exploring Missouri’s Legacy: State Parks and Historic Sites. She serves as chair of the board of the Aldo Leopold Foundation, and is spearheading the Foundation’s efforts to add interpretive exhibitions at the site. When asked to participate in the Prescott institute, Susan replied: “We are in the throes of developing interpretive plans, exhibits and curricula for the Leopold Legacy Center in Wisconsin, so I should have something to learn as well as to contribute to the exchange.”
  • Curt Meine led the instruction during Week One, which examined the period during which Leopold lived and worked – providing both a historical and biographical context for later discussions. Dr. Meine is Director of Conservation Biology and History at the Center for Humans and Nature, and Senior Fellow at the Aldo Leopold Foundation. His Aldo Leopold: His Life and Work remains the standard biography of Leopold. He has also published Correction Lines: Essays on Land, Leopold, and Conservation, and many other essays. About this institute, Curt said: “I am especially excited by the program’s inherent potential to bring together scholars from the humanities and those from the arts and sciences. Leopold’s life and legacy offer special opportunities to bridge the disciplines. I am always eager to participate in programs that bring the insights from the humanities into the realm of the sciences, and vice versa.”
  • Julianne Lutz Newton is one of the many emerging scholars studying Aldo Leopold, providing original perspectives and new voices. Environmental historian Donald Worster says about her recent book Aldo Leopold’s Odyssey, “It belongs on the shelf of indispensable works for understanding Leopold and for building on his legacy.” Her first book, Aldo Leopold’s Odyssey considers Leopold’s land ethic and the evolution of his concept of land health in the context of social and ecological history, which was the topic of Week Two. Dr. Newton received her PhD in natural resources ecology and conservation biology from the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign. At the time of the institute she was visiting assistant professor in environmental studies at Washington and Lee University in Virginia (she is now at NYU). Her articles have appeared in Conservation Biology, Journal of Civil Society, and many other publications, and she is former President of The John Burroughs Institute. Julianne was enthusiastic about how the Prescott institute proposed, for the sake of bringing about conservation, to go beyond, in Leopold's words, "teaching techniques of biology and land use" to help "bridge the gap" between scientific understandings and human culture.
  • Scott Russell Sanders led the instruction for the final week, which examined Leopold’s skills as a creative thinker and artist. Since 1971 Dr. Sanders has been teaching at Indiana University, where he is a Distinguished Professor of English (he retired in 2009). Among his more than twenty books are novels, collections of stories, and works of nonfiction, including Staying Put, Writing from the Center, and Hunting for Hope. His latest book, A Private History of Awe, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. A Conservationist Manifesto, his vision of a shift to a sustainable society, was published in 2009. Dr. Sanders has received many honors, including a Lannan Literary Award, Associated Writing Programs Award, Kenyon Review Literary Award, and the John Burroughs Essay Award. The Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature named him the 2009 winner of the Mark Twain Award. About the Prescott institute, Scott wrote: “This program could not be more timely. In addition to marking the 100th anniversary of Leopold’s arrival in Arizona … it also falls at a time of rising awareness of the need to rethink our relationship to the natural world and to shift our way of life from consumption to conservation. Half a century after his death, Leopold’s work is more provocative and more valuable than ever before.”


The institute’s co-directors have collaborated on several humanities projects, for both the academy and the general public. Both of us were thrilled to have such an outstanding group of core faculty and guest speakers to lead participants through the discussions, and we look forward to remaining in touch with the friends and colleagues we made in Prescott.

  • Joan McGregor holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and went to law school at the University of Arizona. She has held academic positions at University of Hawaii, Florida State University, and Arizona State University. She is currently the ASU Lincoln Professor of Bioethics. Joan’s research has focused on ethical and legal issues pertaining to the environment and in the broad realm of bioethics. Bioethical and environmental issues intersect in her research on questions of genetics and the nature of property, the norms of a sustainable society in an intercultural context, and risks and other moral challenges to the environment and future generations of emerging technologies. She has recently collaborated with Rebecca Tsosie (Director Indian Legal Program in the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law) on research directed to the ethical and legal issues involved in doing genetic research with groups, particularly marginalized groups such as Native Americans. That work continued Joan's interests in intercultural values for addressing significant moral issues in our society. Author of dozens of articles and books, many on land values and ethics, Joan is a member of the Institute for Humanities Research faculty team working on the humanities and sustainability.
  • Dan Shilling completed a fellowship at the ASU Institute for Humanities Research, where he investigated the cultural dimensions of Leopold’s essays – an experience that grew into this summer institute. For several years at ASU he has taught “The Literature of Sustainability,” which includes A Sand County Almanac. Previously Dr. Shilling worked at the Arizona Humanities Council for 19 years, the last 14 as director - funding or directing hundreds of humanities programs every year. Among his experiences that relate to this institute, Dan conceived “A Second Opening of the West,” a year-long examination of environmental ethics in the Southwest, and “Moving Waters: The Colorado River and the West,” a seven-state project that examined the social, cultural, and ecological connections between people and the river. His 2007 book Civic Tourism: The Poetry and Politics of Place extends sustainable tourism into the environmental, social, and political realms that Aldo Leopold emphasized. Dan has received many tributes for helping communities preserve their special character, including one of ASU’s most prestigious honors, The Distinguished Alumni Award.