Meet the Faculty
Dr. Brandon Derman
Phone (217) 206-8581
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Brandon received his Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Washington in 2015. His scholarly and teaching interests center on the production, regulation, and contestation of environmental marginality at scales from the globe to the neighborhood. His current research examines the framing of nature-society relations in climate change law, governance, and social mobilization, and the political opportunities that situate participation by historically-marginalized groups in climate and sustainable development policy making.
Dr. Anne-Marie Hanson
Phone (217) 206-7805
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Anne-Marie received her Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Arizona in 2013. She also holds an MA in Latin American Studies and BA in Anthropology and Spanish. Anne-Marie’s research/teaching interests include political ecology; garbage, recycling, and marine litter; environmental justice and urban sustainability; gender and global environmental change. Her current research focuses on the intertwined political ecologies of waste management, nature protection, and sustainable development in coastal Yucatán, Mexico. Her work is published in regional and international journals, including Gender, Place, and Culture and Antipode, and in her co-edited book: A Political Ecology of Women, Water, and Global Environmental Change (Routledge 2015).
Dr. Dennis Ruez, Jr.
Associate Professor and Department Chair
Phone: (217) 206-8425
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Dennis received his Ph.D. in geological sciences from The University of Texas at Austin in 2007 and joins UIS after spending three years teaching at Auburn University. Dennis is a vertebrate paleontologist with research interests in the relationship of past climate change and fossil mammal communities. This includes the rigorous testing of paleoecological models and developing new quantifiable methods of examining past environmental change. To this end, Dennis has done field work throughout the US – coast to coast, and border to border. His work is published both in regional journals and international ones (including Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, Journal of Human Evolution, and Journal of Paleontology).
Visit Dr. Ruez’s web site.
Dr. Megan Styles
Phone (217) 206-8580
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Megan received her Ph.D. in Environmental Anthropology at the University of Washington in 2011. She also holds an M.A. in Anthropology from the University of Washington and a B.A. in Anthropology and Environmental Studies from Washington University in St. Louis. Megan’s research focuses on issues of sustainable development and social justice in Africa and the United States. Her Ph.D. research investigated the social and ecological effects of cut flower (mainly rose) farming along the shores of Kenya’s Lake Naivasha. Before joining the faculty at UIS, Megan completed a teaching post-doc in the University of Washington’s Program on the Environment. She also worked as an environmental educator in high school classrooms in Knoxville, TN, and conducted research on fishing dependent communities at NOAA Fisheries. Megan’s research was recently published in an edited volume entitled The Ecotourism-Extraction Nexus: Political Economies and Rural Realities of (un)Comfortable Bedfellows. She is passionate about teaching, mentoring students, and conducting research that will lead to a more just and sustainable future.
Dr. Shipeng Sun
Assistant Professor and Director of the GIS Lab
Phone (217) 206-7895
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Shipeng received his PhD from the Department of Geography, Environment, and Society at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in 2009. Before joining UIS, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Waterloo, the University of Michigan, and the University of Minnesota on agent-based land-use change models and web mapping of global agriculture. Shipeng’s research mainly focuses on developing and applying various spatial analysis and modeling techniques, including geovisualization, network analysis, geocomputation, and complexity modeling, to study urban and human-environment systems. His academic work has been published in Annals of the Association of American Geographers, The Professional Geographer, Urban Geography, International Journal of Geographic Information Science, and other peer-reviewed journals.
Dr. Tih-Fen Ting
Phone: (217) 206-7876
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Areas of Interest: Resource ecology and conservation, population-environment interactions, ecosystem management, and sustainability studies.
Tih-Fen Ting received her Ph.D. in Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan in 2003. She has a B.S. in Biology and a M.S. in Wildlife.
Her work before Michigan focused mainly on the ecology, behavior, and demography of various avian species (including northern spotted owls). At Michigan, as a doctoral student, Professor Ting began an interdisciplinary exploration on issues regarding interactions between human populations and the environment. Her dissertation focused on how resource accessibility affects individual reproductive decision-making in China. She also participates in a collaborative project on public health and environmental integrity along the Danshui River ecosystem in northern Taiwan. At UIS, Professor Ting has been active in campus sustainability initiatives.
In 2002, Professor Ting was selected as a LIFE fellow in the International Max Planck Research School. She has published her work in journals including Population and Environment, Science of the Total Environment, and Environmental Justice.
Professors from the natural and social sciences and the humanities often lend their expertise to broaden the educational experiences of our students. Below is a partial list of those faculty members.
Associate Professor, Chemistry
Microbial and aquatic ecology
Associate Professor, Biology
Edward Hawes, Malcolm Levin, John Munkirs, Charles Schweighauser, Roy Wehrle.
The department brings in individuals from the surrounding community, and worldwide, whose professional expertise in a particular subject allows students to broaden their educational experience.
Wil Burns, Wynne Coplea, Matt Evans, Deanna Glosser, Stephen Janasie, Tom Heavisides, Roger Kanerva, Troy Lepper, Malcolm McCallum, Tom Miskelly, Mehdi Nassirpour, Erinn Nicley, Jennifer Perry, Mohammed Shahidullah, Desserae Shepston, Jennifer Scanlan, John Sherrill, Darlene Snyder, Chris Widga, Chris Young.