Environmental Justice Center Director
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Summary of Responsibilities:
This new administrative faculty position will direct all aspects of the new Environmental and Climate Justice Center (EJ Center) at the law and graduate school. (The “Environmental and Climate Justice Center” is a placeholder name, with the official name to be chosen in collaboration with the new Director). The new Director will take the lead in establishing and overseeing the new EJ Center. In addition to new programming to be developed by the Director, the new EJ Center will serve as the umbrella for VLS’s existing Environmental Justice Clinic (EJ Clinic), multi-disciplinary Climate Justice Practicum (CJP), and other EJ curriculum. The position includes a two course per year teaching load. Applicants holding a JD or other advanced degree are welcome.
Environmental and Climate Justice at VLS
For nearly 50 years, VLS has had one of the preeminent environmental law programs in the world. VLS was among the first schools to offer an environmental justice law class, created by Barry Hill (former Director of the Office of Environmental Justice at the EPA), and offered continuously for 26 years.
In 2019, VLS launched its Environmental Justice Clinic (EJC) under the direction of Marianne Engelman Lado, former VLS professor and current Deputy General Counsel of Environmental Initiatives at the U.S. EPA. The clinic’s docket focuses on representing overburdened communities who are fighting for a voice while facing racial and economic disparities in the distribution of polluting sources. The addition of the EJC to VLS’s robust experiential program provided student training in an additional and necessary skillset: community lawyering. Also launched in 2019 was the Climate Justice Practicum (CJP). The CJP is a collaboration between VLS, Yale School of Public Health, and Yale School of the Environment where students work in interdisciplinary teams on applied projects involving law, policy, and public health that address a full range of climate justice issues. In addition to these offerings, a commitment to environmental and climate justice is integrated into VLS’s other environmental programs, particularly in research and direct services related to energy and food and agriculture. VLS is also home to the first-in-the-nation student-run Environmental Justice Law Society (EJLS).
In August 2021, the VLS Board of Trustees approved a new Strategic Plan for VLS, initiating several transformational changes. The new EJ Center will play a central role in the reimagining of our expansive environmental programs and new educational structure.
Essential Functions and Principal Accountabilities:
- Develop a strategic plan for launching the new EJ Center.
- Collaborate with the Associate Dean for Environmental Programs on incorporation of environmental justice principles and subject matter throughout VLS’s environmental programs and courses.
- Once the EJ Center is launched, oversee all aspects of the EJ Center and its programs.
- Teach a total of two courses over the course of one calendar year (in the fall, spring, or summer terms), possibly including a core course as determined by the Dean of Faculty.
- Supervise direct reports, including the Director of the EJ Clinic, and the director of any new programs within the EJ Center.
- Collaborate and coordinate with other faculty teaching courses in or related to environmental justice.
- Engage and collaborate with students in the development and direction of the EJ Center.
- Engage with prospective students.
- Develop and execute media strategies, including acting as a spokesperson for the EJ Center.
- Raise funds to support the EJ Center and its programs, in collaboration with the VLS grants office.
- Be an active participant in a dynamic graduate school environment, including collaboration with other programs and educational and other committee assignments and meetings.
- Contribute to the development and implementation of inclusive teaching practices.
- Administer the EJ Center, such as management of the EJ Center’s budget; participation in EJ Center personnel decisions along with the appropriate members of the VLS Administration; participation in Environmental Law Center Program Director Meetings.
Required Education, Skills and Experience:
- Juris Doctorate (JD) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) preferred. Possibly Master’s depending on other qualifications.
- Admission to the bar (in any jurisdiction) preferred, but not required.
- At least 10 years of relevant experience.
- At least 5 years of management experience.
- A track record of academic or practice-based engagement on environmental justice, just transition, and structural inequality.
- Experience directly engaging with communities most impacted by structural inequality.
- Understanding of and appreciation for diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and belonging, including the ability to work with students, faculty, and staff from diverse backgrounds, identities, and viewpoints.
- Enthusiasm for working with law and graduate students who are eager to learn practical skills.
- Fundraising and/or grant writing experience in an academic or nonprofit setting.
- Communications and/or marketing experience.
- Law or graduate school teaching experience preferred.
- Willingness to participate with the Vermont Law School faculty and student community and follow Covid19 safety policies and guidelines as laid out by the One VLS Action Team based on the changing landscape of the Covid19 pandemic.
- Must be able to work legally within the United States without sponsorship.
- Physical ability to perform all essential functions of the job with or without basic accommodations.
Note: All job requirements are subject to possible revision to reflect changes in the position requirements or to reasonably accommodate individuals with disabilities. Some requirements may exclude individuals who pose a threat or risk to the health and safety of themselves or other employees. Employees may be required, from time to time, to follow other job- related duties as requested by their Department Head, Supervisor, Dean, or as outlined in the Faculty Handbook (within guidelines and compliance with Federal and State Laws). Continued employment remains on an “at-will” basis.