Sustainable Systems Faculty Profiles

Assistant professor of practice

Dr. Alfaro's interests revolve around sustainable development for less industrialized countries. His expertise is on the use of complex systems to develop policy planning tools for the deployment of renewable energy with complementary goals of electrification and sustainable development. His present research studies the uses of technology in sustainable development in particular small energy production and its nexus with agriculture, the participatory design and modeling process, and the frameworks required for sustainable technology transfer at small and medium scales.

Professor and Director, Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise

Joe Arvai is the Max McGraw Professor of Sustainable Enterprise in the School of Natural Resources & Environment, and the Ross School of Business. He is also the Director of the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise. Joe is an internationally recognized expert in the risk and decisions sciences; his research has two main areas of emphasis: First, Joe and his research group conduct experiments focused on advancing our understanding of how people process information and make decisions, with a specific emphasis on how people make tradeoffs. Second, Joe and his team conduct research focused on developing and testing decision-aiding tools and approaches that can be used by people to improve decision quality across a wide range of environmental, social, and economic contexts.

Professor Emeritus

Tom Gladwin is the Max McGraw Professor of Sustainable Enterprise, and he holds a joint appointment with the Ross School of Business.

Professor Gladwin's research focuses on the intersection of environmentalism and globalism in relation to the behavior of industrial corporations. He has published extensively-more than 125 publications-on the theme that the challenges of environmental sustainability and economic globalization are probably the two most profound forces shaping human destiny. This theme is a vital and challenging one, and one to which Gladwin speaks provocatively. At the core of Gladwin's research is the idea that the reintegration of humanity with nature is necessary if organizational science is to support ecologically and socially sustainable development.


Andy Hoffman is the Holcim (US) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise; a position that holds joint appointments at the School of Natural Resources & Environment and the Ross School of Business. He also  also serves as education director of the Graham Sustainability Institute.  His research focuses on corporate strategies that address environmental and social issues.  His disciplinary background lies in the areas of organizational behavior, institutional change, negotiations and change management.  He has published more than 100 articles and eleven books, two of which have been translated into five different languages. Prior to academics, he worked for the US Environmental Protection Agency, Metcalf & Eddy, the Amoco Corporation, and T&T Construction and Design, Inc. In 2004, he was a Senior Fellow with the Meridian Institute.

Teaching interests include competitive environmental strategy, strategies for sustainable development, organizational behavior, negotiations, green construction, and organizational change

Assistant Professor

Dr. Johnson conducts research on sustainable energy and materials systems, with a cross-cutting aim of improving life cycle assessment methods. He employs systems approaches to quantify the environmental impacts of major changes to the power grid, such as the integration of variable renewable generation and large scale energy storage. Dr. Johnson's research aims to inform environmental policy, including studies that evaluate policy design considerations for Renewable Portfolio Standards and State Implementation Plans for carbon dioxide limits to existing power plants.

Professor and Director, Center for Sustainable Systems

Greg Keoleian is the Peter M. Wege Professor of Sustainable Systems.  Dr. Keoleian co-founded and serves as director of the Center for Sustainable Systems. His research focuses on the development and application of life cycle models and metrics to enhance the sustainability of products and technology. He has pioneered new methods in life cycle design, life cycle optimization of product replacement, life cycle cost analysis and life cycle based sustainability assessments ranging from energy analysis and carbon footprints to social indicators.


Today, as we face conservation issues in sustainability, few of us realize how important human behavior is in conservation, and further, how, because the desire for “more” of any resources was favored throughout our evolution, harvesting sustainably may be difficult to achieve.  I work in evolutionary and behavioral ecology, studying resource control and reproductive success in vertebrates, including humans; I integrate evolutionary theory and resource management, studying resources and reproductive variance, and reproductive and resource tradeoffs for modern women.


Tom Lyon is the Dow Professor of Sustainable Science, Technology and Commerce. His research and teaching interests include environmental information disclosure and greenwash; corporate environmental strategy; environmental NGOs; voluntary environmental agreements; government regulation of business; industrial organization; and energy and the environment.

Associate Professor

My research uses life cycle assessment and scenario modeling to identify environmental problems before they occur. Historically, our society has taken a reactionary approach to the environment. By proactively understanding the environmental issues of emerging technologies, we can identify a greater number of options and more creative solutions to avoid or reduce negative consequences. My research group works on a variety of energy-related topics, including the energy-water nexus, bioenergy, and hydraulic fracturing. Our current research focuses on two major areas of exploration:


Michael Moore's teaching involves courses in natural resource and environmental economics. His research interests include analysis of federal water policy and water allocation conflicts between environmental and consumptive uses of river systems; economic aspects of biodiversity and species conservation; and economics of environmental markets, including markets for green products (such as green electricity) and markets for pollution permits (such as the federal SO2 allowance market).

Assistant Professor

Joshua Newell is an assistant professor in the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan. He is a broadly trained human-environment geographer, whose research focuses on questions related to urban sustainability, resource consumption, and environmental and social justice. Newell’s current research can be divided into two primary areas of interest. The first, Urban Infrastructure and Form, focuses on structural features of the urban form (e.g. built environment, transport, energy, and water infrastructure). The second research area, Urban Consumption and Commodities, focuses on the interrelationships between the consumption of consumer products, our responsibilities as global 'green' urban citizens, and the role of governance mechanisms and frameworks (including local institutions) in regulating product consumption. His research approach is often multi-scalar and integrative and, in addition to theory and method found in geography and urban planning, he draws upon principles and tools of industrial ecology, and spatial analysis.

Associate Professor

Ming Xu is an Associate Professor in School of Natural Resources and Environment and Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His research focuses on the broad field of sustainable engineering and industrial ecology, with specific interests on trade and environment, environmental impacts of emerging technologies including autonomous vehicles, electric vehicles and biofuels, and big data and data science applications in urban sustainability.