RISE 2019 Conference

Transforming University Engagement In Pre- and Post-Disaster Environments: Lessons from Puerto Rico

Katja Brundiers

Clinical Assistant Professor

Arizona State University


havidan rodriguez photo

Katja Brundiers is an Assistant Clinical Professor at the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University. Professor Brundiers investigates the notion of disasters as opportunities for change towards sustainability, building off of her empirical research in Christchurch, New Zealand, and Aceh, Indonesia. Her current research explores how to leverage change processes in normal times and post-disaster times to advance sustainability. This research is carried out in two collaborative projects. Katja collaborates with the municipality of Tempe, AZ, supporting efforts to build community resilience to extreme heat. She is also part of a research team that collaborates with a community of farmers in mountainous Puerto Rico exploring how developing sustainable agritourism livelihoods can simultaneously build resilience to climate hazards. In her other line of work, sustainability education, Katja’s research and teaching relates to whole-person and project-based educational approaches, sustainability competencies and professional skill development, as well as collaborative methods supporting knowledge co-creation among students and practitioners. She employs these approaches in campus or in community projects (Living Labs or Applied Learning for Sustainability). In her research, teaching, and service work, Katja endeavors to employ use-inspired and collaborative approaches. To better integrate academic and practitioner’s perspectives, she draws on her past work experiences as civil servant at the Swiss Federal Office for Spatial Development and consultant in a private project management agency in Berne, Switzerland as well as head of seed-sustainability at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and as a sustainability consultant to the University of British Columbia (Canada).