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A Culture of Care >> Read Smith’s plans for the fall 2021 semester.

Center for the Environment, Ecological Design and Sustainability



The Center for the Environment, Ecological Design, and Sustainability (CEEDS) exists with one purpose: We facilitate academic and applied experiences for students that help them excel at integrating knowledge across disciplines, in support of environmental decisions and action.

We work to integrate sustainable practices into Smith’s operations and connect campus operations with student learning. We also support faculty in their efforts to deepen their understanding of salient environmental issues and to integrate those issues into the curricula. We promote institutional innovation and progress toward the college’s commitment to be a model of sustainability.


CEEDS houses faculty and staff from different disciplines and backgrounds who have the common goal of fostering and enhancing environmental sustainability and learning at Smith.

Photo of Denise McKahn
Denise McKahn

Faculty Director, Associate Professor of Engineering

Photo of Joanne Benkley
Joanne Benkley

Assistant Director
CEEDS & Environmental Science and Policy
Cell: 413-923-1546

Rachael Wein portrait
Rachael Wein

Assistant Director, Campus Sustainability
Cell: 510-301-8434

Photo of Dano Weisbord
Dano Weisbord

Administrative Director of CEEDS & Campus Planning

Paul Wetzel

Curriculum & Research Administrator
Cell: 413-387-7983

Veeka Trofimova

Administrative Assistant

Photo of Stephanie Choi
Stephanie Choi

Sustainability Coordinator
Cell: 312-404-5130

Danielle Ignace
Danielle Ignace

Research Affiliate

Resources For Faculty

Smith has an incredible faculty who are deeply committed to student learning. To increase the environmental literacy of all Smith students, CEEDS supports the faculty in bringing environmental concepts and context to a wide variety of courses.

Remote Teaching and Learning 2020 Curricular Partnership Offer

Now, as ever, CEEDS staff are available to offer traditional and non-traditional support and partnership for teaching and learning at Smith.

In addition to our Curricular Enhancement Grants we can work with you in a number of ways to help reduce your prep and teaching load.

Send an email or give a call and we will be happy to brainstorm ways CEEDS staff can help deliver great learning opportunities to your students.

We have helped faculty by:

  • Co-producing amateur videos (with closed captions) of topically relevant videos to support asynchronous learning. See an example here.
  • Filming virtual tours that are content specific on campus or in the greater Connecticut River Valley such as local farms, energy systems, and businesses (e.g. Mill River, Barstow Farm, Northampton wastewater treatment plant, Holyoke Dam and hydroelectric facilities). We can film you or others at one or multiple locations and provide video editing 
  • Identifying and securing guest speakers on content specific topics at the intersection of your expertise and sustainability, including data science, psychology, government and policy, economics, film, indigenous studies and much more.
  • Identifying or recommending data sets and text or media materials to support your assignments.
  • Supplying real campus or community challenges or opportunities to be used as case studies or problem prompts for course work.
  • Providing in-course student support for individual or group work. For years CEEDS has supported courses such as Interpreting and Communicating Environmental Information, Psychology of Climate Change, and Critical Design Thinking by supplying project prompts, advising, professional support, and more.
  • Guest speaking in your course/event or event series about topics such as carbon neutrality policy and engineering strategies, impacts of pricing models for waste disposal and water consumption, sustainable purchasing and construction practices, other campus sustainability topics.
Faculty and Students at MacLeish Field Station

Curricular Enhancement Program

Every spring CEEDS invites proposals from faculty and teams of faculty who want to develop a new course or modify, revise or enhance an existing course. The program supports activities like new course development, new lectures or discussion topics, design of new assignments and projects, and incorporation of field trips and experiences. CEEDS can provide expertise, infrastructure, supplemental course funds and course development funding in support of these efforts.

We are particularly interested in proposals that explore aspects of sustainable communities in policy and practice, support our environmental concentration, that make use of the MacLeish Field Station or connect to the college’s current strategic initiatives.

How to Apply

Please contact Joanne Benkley to discuss your ideas and questions. All proposals should include an articulation of anticipated educational outcomes, and recipients of funded proposals will be asked to report back on results. Submit applications by April 16, 2021.



Faculty Research Fellowships

The CEEDS Faculty Research Fellowship program invests in faculty and connects their research to our campus and community challenges. The premise of this investment is that research can bridge theory and practice, and enhance student learning for many years to come.

Each year, CEEDS appoints 1-2 Smith faculty as CEEDS Faculty Research Fellows. These fellows join a community of engaged faculty who use Smith’s distinctive campus resources and the “campus as classroom” model to advance our understanding of climate change and climate impacts. In the summer of their appointment, faculty are provided with summer support, student summer undergraduate research fellows and research funds to support the dissemination of their research findings on and off campus. Please contact Denise McKahn to discuss your ideas and questions.


To support research in the environmental sciences and to improve quantitative literacy among all students at Smith College, CEEDS supports an environmental monitoring program.

Qualitative Data

Quantitative data on the environments around Smith are made available to faculty and students for use in courses and projects. Currently, most of these efforts are based at the MacLeish Field Station, and we see opportunities to grow this program to include Smith’s campus and other areas.

For specific questions regarding environmental monitoring data, please contact Paul Wetzel, at 413-585-2646.

Sustainable Office Certification Program

Office of Student Engagement with their Sustainable Office Certification

Read more about the Sustainable Office Certification Program and participating offices on the Gate.

The Sustainable Office Certification Program is designed to recognize, support and highlight offices that are engaging in sustainable practices. Certification is based on a checklist of activities and behaviors that progress from level one to level three. The first level covers energy conservation and waste reduction practices many offices are already using—or that are easy to start—such as turning off lights and projectors when they are not in use. Practices become more challenging at the upper levels, and include using reusable mugs and water bottles, and taking notes electronically rather than on paper.