Research and Teaching


I have been researching the environment and sustainability since 2001. I’m particularly interested in the way humans influence the environment around them.

Past projects have gauged the impact of campus sustainability initiatives, examined wetlands policy implementation, evaluated water-management and agriculture projects in developing countries, cleaned up marine debris, and tested the impact of a range of teaching methods on student learning.

I’m also fascinated by the way we use visual media to express political ideas. I research editorial cartoons, how societies use art in protest, and the influence of environmental art.

2013-08-11 10.56.43


I teach classes in American Government, Public Policy (including American, Environmental, and European), Research Methods, Food and Sustainability, Marine Debris, and Environmental Studies. My students routinely engage in community-based service-learning and often collaborate with me on research projects.

In the 2015-2016 academic year my students worked on a project to collect, catalogue, and report on the status of Marine Debris in our state. Learn more about this project here, here, and here.

Arts in the classroom

Fall 2015. POL315: American Environmental Policy. Students worked in groups to research endangered species and create wood block prints of the animals.

As you can see– the results are simple but extraordinarily effective! Learn more about how to create a woodblock print by watching a short demonstration video here at the Research Gate page devoted to a workshop on this topic at the Association of Environmental Science and Studies annual meeting in Washington, DC, summer 2016.


Fall 2014. ENV110:Fundamentals of Environmental Studies. Students in this introductory multi-disciplinary course at the University of Hartford researched local environmental issues and then created wood block prints on the topics.

student woodcuts

The images are on the themes of climate change, the plight of the piping plover, and water pollution in the CT river and the Long Island Sound. Excellent work from these undergrads!

Student prints


You can find my latest publications on Google Scholar or Research Gate

Recent Grants

2017, Palestinian American Youth Civic Engagement, Stevens Initiative, with Daniel Terris (principal investigator) Al-Quds University and Brandeis University, Mostafa B. Elostaz, Al Quds Bard College and Al Quds University, Stephen Pimpare, University of New Hampshire, Darcie Vandegrift, Drake University, Victor Eno, Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, and Mohammed Sawalha, An-Najah National University.

2015-2016, Principal Investigator, “From Shore to State House: Piloting a replicable service learning course on marine debris to engage college students and inform policy at the state level,” NOAA Marine Debris Program, Marine Debris Prevention through Education and Outreach.

Recent Publications

Katharine A. Owens (2017) “Using experiential marine debris education to make an impact: collecting debris, informing policy makers, and influencing students,” in Marine Pollution Bulletin, published online:

Katharine A. Owens (2016) “Balancing environment and business through governance: nature protection policies in De Alde Feanen National Park, the Netherlands” in Problem Solving with the Private Sector. Daniel Bromberg, Ed. London, UK: Routledge.

Katharine A. Owens (2016) “Captioning Political Cartoons from Different Perspectives as a Tool for Student Reflection.” in Learner-Centered Teaching Activities for Environmental and Sustainability Studies. Loren Byrne, Ed. New York: Springer.

Katharine A. Owens and S. Legere (2015) “What do we say when we talk about sustainability? Analyzing faculty, staff and student definitions of sustainability at one American University,” International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 16 (3), 367-384.

Katharine A. Owens and Carl L. Zimmerman (2013) “Local governance versus centralization: Connecticut wetlands governance as a model”, Review of Policy Research, 30 (6), 629-656.

Katharine A. Owens and Hans Bressers (2013) “A comparative assessment of how actors implement: testing the contextual interaction theory in 40 cases of wetland restoration”, The Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis, , 15(3), 203-219.

Katharine A. Owens, Marcia Hughes, and Ellen Skoczenski (2013) “Testing of the Contextual Interaction Theory in the Evaluation of Cooperation and Collaboration of Water Management Projects in India”, In, Water Governance, Policy and Knowledge Transfer: International Studies on Contextual Water Management. Cambridge, UK: Earthscan.

Carl L. Zimmerman and Katharine A. Owens (2012) “A local solution for climate change: the climate adaptation board”, Sea Grant Law and Policy Journal, 5(1).

Katharine A. Owens (2010) “The Dutch land-use re-ordering process as a multi-stakeholder management strategy”, In Governance and Complexity in Water Management: creating cooperation through boundary spanning strategies. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.

Katharine A. Owens (2008) Understanding how actors influence policy implementation: a comparative study of wetland restorations in New Jersey, Oregon, the Netherlands, and Finland.Enschede, the Netherlands: University of Twente Press.

Katharine A. Owens and Dr. Angela Halfacre-Hitchcock (2006) “As green as we think? The case of the College of Charleston green building initiative”, International Journal for Sustainability in Higher Education, 7(2).

Dr Angela Halfacre, Katharine A. Owens, Katherine Zimmerman, and Zachary Hart (2004) “The green building project: promoting political science learning through a collaborative research approach”, PS: Political Science & Politics, 37(2).


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