Rob Alexander is an ecological economist with research interests in bioeconomic modeling and the economics of biodiversity conservation. His research explores how human behavior leads to species decline and the economic incentives that motivate that behavior. He taught water economics at the United Nations Environmental Program, worked on conservation issues at Kruger National Park, and worked with the State Forestry Administration of China on the economics of tiger conservation. One of the first to apply multispecies modeling to terrestrial bioeconomic models, Alexander is currently working on determining the conditions under which trade may support the conservation of endangered species. A citizen of both the United States and New Zealand, Alexander taught for 10 years at Massey University in New Zealand and for 12 years at Sweet Briar College in Central Virginia.

Areas of Expertise

Ecological economics, wildlife economics, environmental policy

Education

1991 — Doctor of Philosophy from University of Tennessee: Knoxv

1987 — Master of Arts from University of Central Florida

1978 — Bachelor of Science from University of Florida

Courses Recently Taught

This course uses economic analysis to better understand the nature of environmental issues such as pollution and the allocation of natural resources. The course also examines the economic rationale behind policies aimed at improving the quality of the environment and altering our use of natural resources. The relative strengths of alternative policies will be discussed using a series of case studies focusing on actual policies aimed at correcting environmental problems. Prerequisite: ECON 101 and sophomore standing.Generally offered every spring semester.

This course examines contemporary environmental problems, introducing the major concepts pertaining to human interactions with the biosphere. We will explore this interaction at both local and global scales. Course topics include basic principles of ecology (flows of energy, cycling of matter and the role of feedback), the impacts of human technology, the roots of our perceptions about and reactions to nature, the social and legal framework for responding to problems and economic issues surrounding environmental issues. We will discuss methods for answering questions regarding the consequences of our actions and, using a systems approach, focus on methods for organizing information to evaluate complex issues. The format of the course will be three-quarters discussion and lecture and one-quarter workshop. The workshops will include field trips, experience with collecting data, and application of systems thinking. This course taken at Kenyon, paired with any biology course, counts toward the natural science diversification requirement. This course is required for the major. No prerequisite. Offered every year.

An examination of the processes used to understand, analyze and solve environmental problems. Students are introduced to the use of mathematics and statistics to analyze environmental data. Problems involving stock, dimensions, mass balance, energy and population analysis are studied. Applied static and dynamical modeling of environmental problems is emphasized. This counts toward the quantitative skills requirement for the major. This interdisciplinary course does not count toward the completion of any diversification requirement. Prerequisite: ENVS 112. Offered every fall.

The intention of this capstone seminar is to draw together and apply the concepts learned in earlier courses in the Environmental Studies Concentration. The focus of the course will be on case studies of natural-resource management, with specific topic areas to be determined. In this strongly interdisciplinary effort, we will explore ecological, economic, social and legal issues that influence how people exploit natural resources, and whether that exploitation is sustainable. Students will be expected to develop and communicate their understanding of the complex and inseparable relationships of human well-being, ecosystem services and environmental management. This course is required for the major. This interdisciplinary course does not count toward the completion of any diversification requirement. Prerequisite: senior standing and environmental studies major or concentrator. Offered every spring.

Because environmental studies is a broad interdisciplinary field, the nature of an individual study will necessarily vary depending on the home discipline of the faculty member guiding the course. Details regarding the expected number of contact hours per week, workload and assessment will be left to the discretion of the faculty member guiding the individual study. There are no formal restrictions on who can pursue an individual study in environmental studies. Individual studies may, upon consultation with an environmental studies co-chair, serve as an elective course in fulfilling the requirements for environmental studies, up to 0.5 units. To enroll in an individual study, a student must identify a member of the ENVS faculty willing to mentor the project and, in consultation with him or her, the student must draft a syllabus, including readings, schedule and assignments, which must be approved by a co-chair of the program. At a minimum, it is expected that the student meet regularly with his or her instructor, at least once per week or the equivalent, at the discretion of the instructor. At a minimum, the amount of work submitted for a grade in an IS should approximate that required, on average, for courses of equivalent units in the home department of the faculty mentor. In the case of a group individual study, a single course syllabus may be submitted, assuming that all group members will follow the same syllabus. Because students must enroll for individual studies by the end of the seventh class day of each semester, they should begin discussion of the proposed individual study preferably the semester before, so that there is time to devise the proposal and seek departmental approval before the registrar’s deadline. This interdisciplinary course does not count toward the completion of any diversification requirement.

Internships offer students hands-on experience in a possible career field of interest, the opportunity to focus career goals and aspirations, and exposure to the wider world outside of classroom. This course serves two purposes: to aid students in the identification and pursuit of internship opportunities and to offer students the opportunity to formally connect the internship with wider academic interests.\n\nWorking collaboratively with a Career Development Office advisor, students will produce high quality resumes and cover letters. Students will also discuss networking and practice interview skills. Upon completion of their pre-work, students will get a form signed by the CDO advisor prior to the start of the internship. An audit notation will be placed on the student’s record upon submission of the form to the registrar’s office. International students will work directly with the Center for Global Engagement to complete the course requirements.\n\nOnce a student has obtained an internship opportunity (240 hour minimum), the student will identify a faculty member to act as an advisor for the internship. In order to earn 0.13 unit (credit/no credit) of credit, the student must complete all required activities including the final reflection paper and conversation with the faculty advisor. Students must complete the paper before the end of the fourth week of fall semester classes; the signed completion form must be submitted to the registrar’s office by the end of the sixth week of classes. Students may complete three internships either under EXPL 205 or EXPL 206 and receive up to 0.52 units of credit.

Internships offer students hands-on experience in a possible career field of interest, the opportunity to focus career goals and aspirations, and exposure to the wider world outside of classroom. This course serves two purposes: to aid students in the identification and pursuit of internship opportunities and to offer students the opportunity to formally connect the internship with wider academic interests.\n\nStudents registering for this course will work collaboratively with a Career Development Office advisor and a faculty advisor as identified by the student. Working collaboratively with a Career Development Office advisor, students will produce high quality resumes and cover letters. Students will also discuss networking and practice interview skills. Upon completion of their pre-work, students will get a form signed by the CDO advisor prior to the start of the internship. An audit notation will be placed on the student’s record upon submission of the form to the registrar’s office. International students will work directly with the Center for Global Engagement to complete the course requirements.\n\nStudents must obtain an internship opportunity (60 hour minimum) within the first three weeks of class. In order to earn 0.13 units (credit/no credit) of credit, the student must complete all required activities including the final reflection paper and conversation with the faculty advisor. Students must submit the signed completion form to the registrar’s office at the end of the semester. Students may complete three internships and receive up to 0.52 units of credit either under EXPL 205 or EXPL 206. An audit notation will be placed on the student’s record upon submission of the form to the registrar’s office.