Colten Joins Water Institute as Director of Human Dimensions

Aug 7, 2013 — Baton Rouge, LA — The Water Institute of the Gulf has hired Craig Colten, Ph.D., as director of human dimensions to help coastal communities adapt and respond to environmental changes and natural disasters.

Using applied research, Colten will examine how regional economies and cultures are affected by environmental disruptions like ongoing storm threats, coastal land loss, and landscape and climate change. He also will use the information to develop tools and resources that help coastal communities adapt to these environmental changes.

Along with his primary duties at The Water Institute, Colten also serves as the Carl O. Sauer professor in Louisiana State University's Department of Geography and Anthropology. His award-winning research has chronicled the history of New Orleans' ongoing battle with nature. 

"Craig will play an integral role in incorporating the human aspect into our applied and integrated research program," says Chip Groat, Ph.D., CEO and president of The Water Institute. "His extensive knowledge of coastal Louisiana's social, cultural and anthropological dynamics will be invaluable in helping us preserve unique cultures in ways that work in concert with their natural environments."

Colten earned a bachelor's and master's degree in geography from LSU and a doctorate from Syracuse University. In addition to research, he has taken part in consulting projects and presentations in Europe, Latin America and Canada. He also served as editor for the journal Geographical Review. 

"With his having conducted extensive research on historical responses of communities to disasters, Craig brings a wealth of expertise related to the dynamics of Louisiana people's interaction with the coast," says Shirley Laska, Ph.D., sociology professor emerita at the University of New Orleans, founder of the Center for Hazards Assessment, Response, and Technology (UNO-CHART) at the University of New Orleans and a member of The Water Institute's Science and Engineering Advisory Council.  "Craig and his team will be integral to incorporating the human dimension into our coastal restoration efforts in Louisiana and beyond."

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