The College of the Environment and Life Sciences

Education, experience, excellence for the 21st century

The College of the Environment and Life Sciences serves as a catalyst for interdisciplinary collaboration through 10 academic departments. We are committed to integrating scientific discovery, education, and real-life applications for the benefit of individuals and their communities. We lead in environmental and life sciences, environmental economics and management, policy, and design.

Our Campaign Goals

Experiential learning opportunities available to every student
New scholarships to inspire students in their chosen disciplines
Endowed international travel and independent research funding for students
Endowed chair and professorships in key areas

College of the Environment and Life Sciences Points of Distinction

CELS Research Fellowship student
Research Fellowships for Undergraduate Students

Our programs for Coastal and Environmental Fellows, Science and Engineering Fellows, and Energy Fellows engage students in cutting-edge research and outreach in the lab, forests, wetlands, coastal waters, and communities. They learn to apply science that improves health, agricultural, and natural resource systems.

Global Faculty Research

As one example of the impact of research support, Assistant Professor Hollie Putnam has received several major research grants focusing on coral reef health around the globe. Her lab’s work includes research on environmental conditions that damage corals, availability of nutrients for coral health, resiliency of coral reefs to climate change, and the ability of corals to adapt to rising ocean temperatures. Putnam’s students conduct research in Mo’orea, French Polynesia, Bermuda, Hawaii, and other locales. They collaborate with research teams worldwide, exposing students to cutting-edge researchers and building their networks in marine science.

Seeds of Success Program

Seeds of Success (SOS) is a student-run organization helping underrepresented groups succeed academically, professionally, and socially. SOS provides a sense of community, as well as leadership and team-building skills. Offerings include research and scholarship opportunities, educational and career seminars, and safe spaces.

The Metcalf Institute

The Metcalf Institute fosters informed public conversations through science training for journalists, communication training for scientists, and public programs about timely environmental issues. The multiplier effect of this work is significant, providing millions of news consumers with accurate, contextualized reporting on science and the environment and preparing scientists to effectively engage with public audiences.

Watershed Watch Program

Watershed Watch partners with local residents to obtain high-quality data on their lakes, rivers, and estuaries.  These citizen scientists learn state-of-the-art techniques and guide protection of their waters.  More than 300 volunteers representing 50 organizations test their waters and inform state and local decision-makers. The program has fostered University-community partnerships throughout the nation. URI students learn the value of public input in shaping environmental management.

Giving Opportunities

Endowed Experiential Learning Fellowships
Fellowships open opportunities for students in our Coastal and Environmental Fellows, Science and Engineering Fellows, and Energy Fellows programs. The College aims to offer fellowships to more students and provide greater opportunities for student-faculty collaboration in research and coursework.
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Endowed Chair – Metcalf Institute Executive Director
This endowed faculty position would attract an internationally recognized leader in science, science communication, and/or news media as executive director of the Metcalf Institute. This position would enhance our ability to increase knowledge and skills among professionals in journalism, science, government, and the corporate sector; improve diversity and inclusivity around science and environmental issues; and elevate our status as national and international leaders in science and environmental communication.
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RhodyNow: CELS
RhodyNow: CELS provides immediate-use support for our essential programs and can supplement critical research and fellowships. These gifts can also help every CELS student find an experiential learning opportunity outside the classroom to advance intellectual exploration and preparation for a meaningful life and career.
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Endowed CELS Scholarships
Scholarships create a more diverse, equitable community where students have the support they need to reach their highest level of achievement. A permanent fund would support generations of students committed to a particular academic discipline. Scholarships may be merit- or need-based.
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Endowed Travel Fund
Support study abroad to expand students’ perspective, encourage cultural fluency, and provide experiential learning opportunities. Such funds also support students who otherwise would not be financially able to enroll in classes with a significant travel component, such as a recent J-term biology course to study whale sharks in Mexico.
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Endowed Chairs/Professorships
Permanent, named positions attract the most promising faculty and retain established professors. As a top priority, the College seeks an endowed faculty position in cell and molecular biology. In addition to educating generations of students, these positions increase our national and international stature.
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