ecos announcement headerAnnouncing the FAU School of Environmental, Coastal, and Ocean Sustainability and Founding Director 

July 2023

We are proud to announce the launch of a new School of Environmental, Coastal, and Ocean Sustainability (ECOS), a partnership between the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science and FAU’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (HBOI). The School will coordinate and elevate the University’s work on pressing environmental topics facing South Florida and the world. Spanning a broad collection of disciplines and existing units and programs, the School will amplify FAU’s research, teaching, and community engagement to even greater productivity levels. ECOS will be open to interested scientists, engineers, business scholars, social scientists, and humanists, as well as to partners in the private sector, government, and non-profits.   

One of our core strengths in the Schmidt College of Science is environmental education and research. We are in a prime location to study the environment and its intersection with urban areas, with the Atlantic Ocean, Everglades, and numerous freshwater ecosystems all converging in the largest metropolitan area in the state. HBOI is widely recognized as a leader in education, outreach, and applied research in coastal and ocean environments, with topical focus in ocean health, aquaculture, innovative technology, and conservation (water quality, restoration, monitoring). 

Our expert faculty and scientists both in the Schmidt College of Science and HBOI are forging a path that leads to a resilient future, both with research and through training the next generation of scientists, problem solvers, and policymakers.  

Colin Polsky, Ph.D., will serve as the Founding Director of ECOS. Colin is a Professor of Geosciences and the Director of the Center of Environmental Studies (CES), and is one of the faculty members blazing an innovative approach to understanding our environment. An FAU leader since 2014, his work explores how people in Florida create, perceive, and respond to climate challenges, such as sea-level rise in our urban settings. His work has spanned many disciplines and non-academic partners, and has been supported by numerous federal, state, and philanthropic sources. 

Thank you to the many faculty and leaders around Florida Atlantic who have supported this project and provided guidance along the way to launch ECOS.  

More information will be shared in early fall as ECOS begins to take shape.  

Learn more about the School here:


Valery E. Forbes, Ph.D.        
Dean and Professor                      
Charles E. Schmidt College of Science      
James M. Sullivan, Ph.D.
Executive Director  
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute