The Earth Institute is based at Columbia University in the United States. It is multi-disciplinary.
In the spirit of Einstein:
“No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it.”
A few questions at the outset.
- What do we want to create?
- What is the core problem?
- Is it an analytical problem?
- Is it a spiritual problem?
- Is it a political problem?
- Should contemplation on the earth be multidisciplinary or multi-faceted opening conversations with people from all walks of life.
- When did the earth community live in harmony with the natural world? What have we learned?
- Is it about knowledge or wisdom?
- Is it about evidence or awareness?
- Is it about being right or happy?
- Is it about sustainability or symmetrical balance?
- Is it about harmony?
The answers arise from the questions. Are the questions we ask going to provide the answers we need given our desires?
Here is an overview of the Earth Institute followed by a listing of the board (next blog).
The governance of the Earth Institute includes a group of scholars who will address the challenges that humans face as Earth continues to develop. This group, the Earth Institute faculty, will ensure the quality of the research of the Earth Institute’s research clusters as well as educational activities, which the Earth Institute develops and coordinates in conjunction with Columbia University schools and departments. The Earth Institute faculty will also advance integration across disciplines in both research and education.
Members of the Earth Institute faculty will be appointed by the Provost of Columbia University. The Earth Institute faculty are a group of 50 faculty members with a diverse set of backgrounds who are providing leadership in the defining and implementing activities critical to the mission of the Earth Institute. The Earth Institute faculty includes 8 ex officio members to ensure representation of the clusters and affiliated departments.
Areas of Responsibility
The general areas that the Earth Institute faculty will oversee include the following:
- Intellectual guidance of the Earth Institute – The Earth Institute faculty will provide the intellectual underpinning of Earth Institute activities. It will formulate and update the general vision and specific goals of the Earth Institute including a strategic plan. In the framework of this general activity, The Earth Institute faculty will have responsibility for writing case statements for development targets such as Earth Institute Professors.
- Curriculum Development – As the Earth Institute develops, it will expand not only research, but also educational activities, in conjunction with Columbia University schools and departments. The Earth Institute faculty will coordinate undergraduate and graduate education programs and will oversee the developments of new degree programs.
- New appointments and visitors – Accomplishment of the ambitious goals of the Earth Institute requires new hires to (1) fill crucial gaps in the existing expertise, (2) augment existing core strength to enable Earth Institute scientists to compete at the highest level, and (3) to facilitate interdisciplinary research which is the key to the success of Earth Institute goals. The Earth Institute faculty will be the body that designs a plan for hires that helps to meet the overall goals of the Earth Institute, and recommends candidates for appointment to Earth Institute positions and for visiting appointments.
- Intellectual Balance – Throughout the Earth Institute units there is much variation in strength of the programs that are vital for its success. As the Earth Institute moves toward closer interaction and integration, it is necessary to review the status of the individual clusters and to develop procedures that ensure balanced strength to accomplish Earth Institute goals.
- Guidance of specific programs – The Earth Institute faculty will oversee a variety of programs that are important for development of new ideas and development of intellectual resources. These programs include the Earth Institute Fellows program.
- Workshops, conferences and seminars – The Earth Institute faculty will review these activities to the extent that they carry Earth Institute imprimatur. The Earth Institute faculty will have resources to hold and sponsor these activities as they see fit.
- Home of the Earth Institute academic activities – The Earth Institute faculty will consider the most appropriate intellectual structure and physical home for efficiently conducting Earth Institute academic affairs.
The Earth Institute faculty will have 6 committees:
- Academic Appointments Committee: This committee will oversee contributions of the Earth Institute to academic hires and design a plan for academic appointments and promotions through the core of the Earth Institute. The Earth Institute’s Appointments and Promotions Guidelines can be found here.
- Education Committee: This committee will oversee the development and integration of the Earth Institute’s educational programs.
- Executive Committee: This committee will oversee and further develop new initiatives of the Earth Institute and its faculty, using the strategic plan and the 2003 Strategic Vision Document as a baseline.
- Faculty Development & Diversity Committee: This committee will promote diversity and disciplinary balance among Earth Institute faculty.
- Practice Committee: This committee will oversee the work of practice-oriented scholars at the Earth Institute, and foster their work as it relates to the mission of the Earth Institute.
- Unit Review Committee: This committee will establish a review process for assessing the operations and performance of Earth Institute centers and programs.