iSEE Names New Associate Director


The Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment is pleased to welcome Luis F. Rodríguez as its new Associate Director for Education & Outreach, effective today.

Rodríguez, an Associate Professor of Agricultural & Biological Engineering who has been at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign since 2005, will assume a leadership role for iSEE’s educational programs, including the Sustainability, Energy, and Environment Fellows Program (SEE FP, a campus-wide honors minor) and the new undergraduate Environmental Leadership Program (ELP). Additionally, he will oversee the Levenick iSEE Teaching Fellows program, which funds faculty from across campus to build new courses in sustainability or to incorporate sustainability elements into existing courses.

During a study tour to Puerto Rico, Luis Rodríguez and his students cleared invasive species in a wetland.

Rodríguez has recently led a National Science Foundation-funded interdisciplinary graduate student training program in the area of food-energy-water systems and a National Institutes of Food and Agriculture-funded research and education program targeting Disaster Relief and Resilience. In addition, he teaches a new series of courses in Engineering for Disaster Resilience, which includes a study tour to Puerto Rico where students engage directly with community members seeking to increase their preparedness.

Among his outreach duties, Rodríguez will spearhead organization of the annual iSEE Congress each fall and help bring in speakers for annual Earth Month lectures each April.

“We are delighted to bring Luis on board at iSEE,” Interim Director Madhu Khanna said. “Luis brings rich experience in developing interdisciplinary educational opportunities for students at the graduate and undergraduate level and in engaging students in experiential learning.  Under his leadership we anticipate keeping iSEE’s education and outreach offerings trending upward and engaging an increasing number of students and faculty through campus-wide educational offerings.

“We thank Gillen Wood for serving in this role since 2018. He did an outstanding job administering our academic programs, shepherding the launch of the ELP, and leading the organization of the iSEE Congress. We are delighted that Gillen will continue to serve as Director for the Certificate in Environmental Writing (CEW) and remain Editor of the CEW’s unique undergraduate-written, professionally curated Q Magazine.”

Wood, a Professor of Environmental Humanities in the Department of English, is stepping back into a more limited role with the Institute as he pursues exciting research opportunities during a 2021 Carnegie Fellowship. He was instrumental in launching the Levenick Teaching Fellows program as well as the CEW, a partnership with the English Department and the School of Earth, Society, and Environment.