Professor and Chair, Natural Resources and the Environment
Richard Stedman is Professor and Chair of the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment at Cornell University, where he also is Associate Director of the Center for Conservation Social Sciences and a member of the Graduate Field of Development Sociology.
Dr Stedman earned his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin (Sociology/Rural Sociology), his M.S. from Cornell University, and his BA from the University of Wisconsin. Prior to his arrival at Cornell University in 2007, he served as a faculty member in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology at The Pennsylvania State University (2002-2007), and led the Social Science Research Group for the Canadian Forest Service in Edmonton Alberta.
Stedman’s research, teaching, and outreach is rooted in social-ecological systems. An author of over 200 peer reviewed works, he is especially interested in sense of place—as the meanings and attachments that are held for particular landscapes—and the role of environmental quality in underpinning this connection. He also focuses on the well-being of resource dependent communities, especially communities in transition. Much of his recent work in this area targets issues related to energy transitions, ranging from shale gas to large scale renewable efforts, but he also has keen interests in water, wildlife, and fishery systems, domestically and internationally. When not engaged in these activities, he enjoys all manner of outdoor pursuits, especially those that put food on the table, and writing mediocre poetry.
- 2000. Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison. Sociology and Rural Sociology.
- 1993. M.S. Cornell University. Natural Resources.
- 1989. B.A. University of Wisconsin-Madison. Sociology, Concentration in Analysis and Research
My research is rooted in connection to place and to community and how these connections may be affected by rapid social and ecological change. As a sociologist who takes the natural world seriously, I believe that place matters, even in this age of extraordinary mobility. Our environmental behaviors—from stewardship, to politics, to consumer choices--are rooted in our experiences, our understandings of, and preferences for places we care about. I study a wide range of these places, at multiple scales, facing a diverse array of challenges, including wildlife conflict, invasive species, energy development, climate change, migration, and many others.
- Bugden, D., and R.C. Stedman. 2021. Unfulfilled promise: Social acceptance of the smart grid. Environmental Research Letters 16(3): 034019.
- Sward, J, R.S. Nilson, V.V. Katkar, R.C. Stedman, D.L. Kay, J.E. Ifft, and K. M. Zhang. 2021. Integrating social considerations in multicriteria decision analysis for utility-scale solar photovoltaic siting. Applied Energy 288: 116543
- Gottwald, S., and R.C. Stedman. 2020. Preserving one’s meaningful place or not? Understanding environmental stewardship behaviour in river landscapes. Landscape and Urban Planning 198:103778.
- Pomeranz, E.F. and R.C. Stedman. 2020. Measuring good governance: a pilot instrument for evaluating good governance principles. Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning 22(3):428-440.
- Stedman, R.C., N.A. Connelly, T.A. Heberlein, D.J. Decker, and S.B. Allred. 2019. The end of the (research) world as we know it? Understanding and coping with declining response rates to mail surveys. Society and Natural Resources 32(10): 1139-1154. DOI: 10.1080/08941920.2019.1587127
- McWethy, D., R.C. Stedman, et al. 2019. Rethinking resilience to wildfire. Nature Sustainability 2:797-804.
- Masterson, V., J. Enqvist, R.C. Stedman, and M Tengo. 2019. Sense of place in social–ecological systems: from theory to empirics. Sustainability Science 14(3):555-564.
- Ingalls, M., A. Kohout, and R.C. Stedman. 2019. When places collide: power, conflict and meaning at Malheur. Sustainability Science 14(3):625-638.
Awards & Honors
- 2019 Rural Sociological Society Excellence in Research Award
- 2017 Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, Faculty in Residence Award.
- 2015 Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Rising Star Alumni Award.
- 2014 William R. Freudenburg Research Award of Merit (Rural Sociological Society, Natural Resources Research Group)
- 2011 Cornell University David J. Allee and Paul R. Eberts Community and Economic Vitality (CEV) Award.
- 2005 Penn State University, College of Agricultural Sciences, Joan Luerssen Faculty Enhancement Award in Agricultural Sciences.
- 2004 Penn State University, College of Agricultural Sciences, Roy Buck Award, 2004. (best social science paper in the College authored by a pre-tenure faculty member).
- 2001 Rural Sociological Society Innovation Award
- NTRES 2201 Society and Natural Resources
- NTRES 4320 Human Dimensions of Coupled Systems
- NTRES 6201 Community, Place, and Environment
101 Fernow Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
rcs6 [at] cornell.edu
Richard in the news
As New York prepares for a carbon-free energy future, public support for utility-scale solar farms is much lower than support for smaller solar projects, says new Cornell research.
- Natural Resources and the Environment
One survey respondent reported persuading a local planning board to limit development on a 52-acre parcel with significant wetlands, preserving forest canopy and a biodiversity corridor for animals. Another negotiated a proposed 150-unit...
- Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
- Department of Global Development
- Natural Resources and the Environment