Nicholas J. Smith-Sebasto, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Center for Sustainability Studies

Dr. Nicholas Smith-Sebasto received his B.S. in Biology (with minors in Chemistry and Environmental Studies) from Trenton State College (now The College of New Jersey); his M.S. in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University, where he studied grizzly bear and black bear management in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem; and his Ph.D. in Environmental Communication, Education, and Interpretation from The Ohio State University. His dissertation research concerned the design, development, and validation of an instrument to measure the relationship between the psychological construct locus of control for reinforcement and environmentally responsible behaviors in university undergraduate students.

Prior to joining Kean University, Dr. Smith-Sebasto was a member of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 1993 until 2000, where is was also the Extension State Specialist for Environmental Education.  He served as the Associate and Interim Director of the New Jersey School of Conservation (a division of the College of Science and Mathematics at Montclair State University) from 2000 until 2006.  He was a faculty member of the Department of Earth and Environmental Studies at Montclair State University from 2006 until 2009.  He has also taught at Mercer County Community College, Rider College (now Rider University), and Sussex County Community College.

For the past two decades, Dr. Smith-Sebasto has been recognized as one of the global leaders in the field of environmental education. He is the only person ever to serve simultaneously on the editorial boards of the Journal of Environmental Education, Environmental Education Research, and International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education. He served on the Board of Directors of the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE), the largest professional society dedicated to environmental education in the world. He is the recipient of the NAAEE’s award for Outstanding Contributions to Research in Environmental Education. He has authored more original research articles in the Journal of Environmental Education, five of which have included his students as co-authors, than any other author in the 40-year history of the journal. He is the recipient of 7 teaching excellence recognitions, appearing in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers twice.

Dr. Smith-Sebasto’s new research and teaching interests concern sustainability science.  His specific interest is on food and organics recycling.  He has quickly become an authority on aerobic in-vessel digestion of food and organic wastes.  He operated one of the only university-based food and organics composting demonstration projects in the nation while at Montclair State University. He has continued and expanding that effort at Kean University, where a system he custom-designed is being used to compost the 50+ tons of food waste generated on the campus annually.  His other interests include sustainability education and sustainability technologies, especially Earth-sheltering architecture.