Chatham News

Chatham University Announces New Dean for Falk School of Sustainability

PITTSBURGH: Chatham University announced today the selection of Dr. Peter Walker as the new Dean of the Falk School of Sustainability.

Dr. Peter Walker was chosen following an extensive and competitive national search for the Falk School Dean position to replace the departing Dean, Dr. David Hassenzahl. A native of Ireland, Dr. Walker holds a B.Sc. in Environmental Sciences and a PH.D. in Soil Science from Sheffield University in the United Kingdom. He has over 25 years of field work in humanitarian crises and in addressing some of the most pressing sustainability and climate-change challenges around the world, including the Sudan, Ethiopia, Iran, Pakistan, Somalia and many other countries. An accomplished speaker, author and teacher, Dr. Walker will join Chatham from Tufts University in Massachusetts where he has served as the Director of the Feinstein International Center since 2002, the Rosenberg Professor of Nutrition and Human Security since 2007, and as Associate Provost since early 2014.

As Dean of the Falk School of Sustainability, Dr. Walker will take over leadership of one of the country’s first schools (founded in 2010) dedicated to sustainability, and further its educational offerings in critical areas including water, energy, business, climate change, sustainable agriculture and food systems. He will oversee research and teaching on the newly opened, net zero home of the Falk School, Eden Hall Campus—the first in the world built for the study of sustainability. A campus, that along with the Falk School and Chatham’s university-wide commitments to sustainability, has led to international recognition with a 2013 International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN) Sustainable Campus Excellence Award in Singapore for exceptional sustainability efforts in campus planning, integration with academics, student leadership, and exemplary building projects.

“Dr. Walker is an extraordinary leader, well suited to guide the multifaceted development of Eden Hall Campus and the Falk School into their role as premiere resources for the field of sustainability,” states President Esther Barazzone. “He has an exceptional combination of skills growing out of his personal entrepreneurial focus and his commitment to social justice, particularly as it relates to food access. These experiences, and his fine background in higher education as a scholar, teacher and administrator make him a real asset for the institution as we take the next steps in developing this flagship program for Chatham.”

Additional Background Information About Dr. Peter Walker
After 25 years of field work in humanitarian crises around the world, Dr. Peter Walker was appointed in September 2002, as the Director of the Feinstein International Center at Tufts University. In 2007 Dr. Walker was made Rosenberg Professor of Nutrition and Human Security and in April 2014, Associate Provost, at Tufts University.

Prior to Tufts, Dr. Walker was with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Geneva in 1990 where he was Director of Disaster Policy for 10 years before moving to Bangkok as Head of the Federation’s regional programs for Southeast Asia. He has traveled extensively in the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, and has published widely on subjects as diverse as the development of indigenous knowledge and famine early warning systems, to the role of military forces in disaster relief. He was the founder and manager of the World Disasters Report and played a key role in initiating and developing both the Code of Conduct for disaster workers and the Sphere humanitarian standards.

His recent book, written with Feinstein Center Faculty member Dr. Dan Maxwell, Shaping the Humanitarian World, provides a robust history of humanitarianism linked to an inquiry into its future as a global venture. At the Feinstein International Center at Tufts, Walker is actively involved in research examining the future global drivers of humanitarian crises, the effectiveness of international humanitarian systems and the creation of international professional accreditation systems.

Dr. Walker is a Senior Research Fellow with UK aid administration, DFID, and sits on the board of a number of NGOs and academic journals. He is a dual USA/UK citizen, was brought up in Northern Ireland and has lived with his family in Europe, Africa and Asia before coming to the USA.

About Eden Hall Campus
Eden Hall Campus in Richland, PA is the first academic community in the world built from the ground up for the study of sustainable living, learning, and development. Using the latest in environmentally responsible technology, design, and innovation, Eden Hall will be self-sustaining in every way by emitting zero carbon emissions, managing all waste and storm water on-site, and producing more energy than it consumes. It is designed to one-day serve more than 1,500 students in the fields of sustainability, health sciences, business, and more. By protecting valuable watersheds, incorporating surrounding land and agricultural resources, and rehabilitating existing farm structures alongside developing new, green buildings, Eden Hall will be a one-of-a-kind venue for education, conferences, community outreach, and ecotourism.  More information at

About Chatham University
Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pa., has a long history of commitment to global understanding, women’s leadership and the environment. Chatham is the alma mater of environmental icon, Rachel Carson, and is recognized today as a leader in the field of sustainability, having been selected for The Princeton Review’s Green College Guide listing four years in a row, named by the Sierra Club as a top 25 “cool school” and mentioned in a 2012 Forbes article as one of the places “contributing to Pittsburgh’s transformation into a destination for green living.”

Building on these accomplishments, Chatham opens in 2014 the world’s first fully sustainable campus in higher education, Eden Hall Campus, with completion of the first stage of construction on its 20-year master plan. Rising 19 spots over the past four years in the US News & World Reports Best Colleges rankings, Chatham works to prepare its 2,000+ undergraduate and graduate students in the fields of sustainability, health sciences, business and communication, and the arts and sciences.