Dean's Message

Bill Chameides

Welcome to the Nicholas School!
--William L. Chameides

We live in a time of great challenges and opportunities.  Environmental, economic, political and technological changes are transforming our society and planet at a pace unprecedented in human history.

They have brought us to a crossroads where the choice ahead is clear.

We can either continue along the old, dead-end course that pits “us versus them” and leads to increasing competition for diminishing resources, or we can work together to forge a new, sustainable path to the future.

As one of the world’s premier schools for the study of environmental science and policy, the Nicholas School is committed to helping forge the wiser path.

Through the research and outreach of our 56 core faculty members and over 50 affiliated faculty members, we engage with scientists, governments, industry leaders, conservation practitioners and communities throughout the world to address critical issues like climate change, energy, water quality, ecosystem management and conservation, and human and environmental health.

Through academic programs at the Ph.D., masters and undergraduate levels, we strive to produce a new breed of environmental leaders. Our alumni can be found in laboratories and thinktanks worldwide and in all sectors of the global economy, from the halls of Congress to the jungles of Central America, and from the top floors of corporate headquarters to the ground floor of grass-roots NGOs.

Their success is grounded in an educational model that combines rigorous classroom academics with an emphasis on practical, skills-based instruction. Our expectation is that each and every graduate of the Nicholas School has the knowledge to understand the complexities and pluralities of today’s environmental challenges; the practical skills to devise and implement effective solutions; the real-world acumen to use markets and public-private partnerships, as well as more traditional governmental tools, to achieve desired outcomes; the ability to think critically across disciplines; and the flexibility to work in teams or individually.

All of us – whether we live in the United States, China, India, the United Arab Emirates or any other nation – play a role in environmental problems. And we all need to be a part of the solution.

Lasting solutions start with populating the world with effective and committed environmental managers and researchers. This is the stock and trade of the Nicholas School. It is exemplified by the high caliber of graduates – hailing from dozens of countries – we send forth each year, and by initiatives like our International Marine Conservation Program, which bring nearly 50 international undergraduate and graduate students to the Duke Marine Lab each summer to learn skills and knowledge they take back to their homelands to help solve environmental problems there.

William L. Chameides is Dean of the Nicholas School.