Message from the Chairperson

Ethan Baxter

Welcome to the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences at Boston College.

The Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences is committed to our role in educating the whole student through study of the whole Earth. Viewed this way, our discipline is inherently consistent with Jesuit Catholic educational philosophy at its very heart. Fostering & feeding that innate sense of wonder about the beautiful and awesome planet we call our home, a sense of wonder that exists somewhere within all conscious human beings, is where our Department finds its strength. From this wonder springs forth a curiosity about the Earth, its 4.5 billion year origins, the evolution of all its constituent parts, and the operation of the natural world as we know it today. This curiosity is what forms the foundation for our educational mission, especially emphasizing the myriad ways in which all parts of the dynamic Earth system – from the deep earth, to the surface, to the oceans, to the atmosphere, and to human life itself - interact and manifest in meaningful ways. The future of our discipline lies within the study of these interactions between different parts of the Earth system; thus we emphasize and mandate breadth rather than specificity in our educational mission as we enable students to deal with today’s complex issues by providing a foundation spanning all of Earth's systems. From this wonder and curiosity follows a realization of how lucky we are to inhabit this planet at this fleeting moment in time, and how we must all share in the responsibility for its stewardship even as human practices continue to shape the Earth and its environment in more and more significant ways.

Wonder, curiosity, & responsibility for the Earth & Environment.

These are the qualities we wish to instill in our students through our integrated research, teaching, & outreach programs in the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences. We consider our students to include not just Boston College undergraduate and graduate students, but also K-12 students and the general public who we reach through our classes, publications, presentations, media presence, and outreach activities.

Our department is growing with new faculty, new facilities, new research, and the boundless energy and enthusiasm brought by new students every year. Whether you are a student, an academic, an industry professional, or a member of the broader community, the Earth and its Environment is your home too. We invite you to be inspired with us by the vast beauty, wonder, and fragility of the Earth & Environment around us, to join in our mission, and to share our vision:

Our Mission

Inspiring students through research, education, and outreach to advance scientific knowledge of the earth and its environment, and to embrace the responsibility for its stewardship

Our Vision

Every student and citizen inspired by the wonder of the earth, engaged in the issues of the earth, and equipped with the knowledge to responsibly address the environmental challenges facing society.

Best Regards,
Ethan Baxter