Faculty and Staff

As an interdisciplinary program, the EVSS Program is not housed in a single academic department at the College of Charleston. Instead, multiple departments (Biology, Geology and Environmental Geosciences, Mathematics, Physics and Astronomy, Political Science, and Economics) contribute core and elective coursework and faculty time to the program. Faculty from many other departments and off-campus institutes and agencies are an invaluable part of the EVSS Program as well.

Faculty and Staff Spotlights

Wesley Burnett

Dr. Wesley Burnett

Dr. Burnett started at the College in August 2014 and currently teaches three courses: Principles of Microeconomics (ECON 200); Intermediate Microeconomics (ECON 317); Economic Theory for Policy Analysis (EVSS 601). 

He is currently working on a project titled “The differentiated impacts associated with unconventional gas development, wastewater disposal, and induced seismic activity.” This study explores the economic impacts associated with human-induced earthquakes in the state of Oklahoma. Professionals have established that the induced earthquakes are being caused by the State’s wastewater injections, which are a byproduct of shale gas development.

Dr. Burnett is measuring the impacts in the context to the effect on housing prices in Oklahoma County. He and his team have found that, depending on the intensity, the induced earthquakes have led to a one-to-four percent decline in housing values during the period of 2000 to 2015. These impacts translate into an approximate $1100-to-$8050 reduction in property values.

During his time as a professor at CofC, he has served on six thesis committees for the MES program. Of the six, he has served as major professor on three of those committees. Dr. Burnett recently took on the role as Director for the Honors Program in the School of Business and is also in the process of starting a graduate certificate in business analytics for the School of Business. Unfortunately, he is not currently able to serve on any new thesis/internship committees; however, he hopes to have more free time starting in the 2019-2020 academic year.


Professor Zac Hart

Professor Hart graduated from the CofC EVSS Program in 2003 and then spent almost 15 years working in the environmental field, in both nonprofit and federal government workplaces. Currently serving as adjunct faculty, Prof. Hart is teaching the "Ecosystem Services and Human Health" graduate course.

Professor Hart is in the final phase of a Ph.D. program in Environmental Health Sciences at the University of South Carolina. His dissertation research falls in the category of environmental risk communication. Specifically, it aims to identify Charleston residents' needs and preferences related to water quality advisories in our area. This is important because of growing water quality problems in Charleston, combined with significant use of coastal waters for recreation, could be a recipe for public health issues.

Zac considers himself lucky to be involved with the new Oceans and Human Center for Climate Change Interactions headquartered at USC. This organization is funded by a grant from National Institutes of Health and includes a variety of projects focused on understanding how climate change might influence the effects of disease-causing organisms and other pollutants in aquatic systems. Specifically, he is involved in the "Community Engagement" team, which is tasked with translating and communicating the project's scientific findings for various audiences.

His wife, Dr. Leslie Hart, is also faculty at CofC in the Public Health Program. They first met at CofC back in 2001 when they both began the EVSS Program.

Susan Lovelace

Dr. Susan Lovelace

We would like to congratulate Susan Lovelace for being named the Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year at the 2018 ExCEL Awards. Dr. Lovelace serves as an adjunct EVSS faculty member while also working full-time as the Extension leader at the SC Sea Grant Consortium. Dr. Lovelace currently teaches EVSS 611: Graduate Core Seminar. 

Although her primary interest lies in the Cultural Values of Ecosystem services, her work at the SC Sea Grant Consortium draws her in many different directions. She is currently covering topics including estuarine aquaculture, stormwater ponds, working waterfronts, and climate impacts. Her wide variety of interests makes her an ideal advisor for MES students seeking interdisciplinary research topics.  

Dr. Lovelace has served as the primary advisor for 11 students and has served on 9 additional committees since 2012. She is currently available to serve on committees and guarantees to help students write proposals and locate funding. Dr. Lovelace expects students to organize their committee and work very hard to develop literature based proposals. Students are expected to adhere to a milestone chart for data collection, analysis and writing while understanding that there are opportunities and challenges along the way. 

Dr. Lovelace is currently working on multiple projects with EVSS faculty and students. She is working with Dr. Nowlin and EVSS student Lee Bundrick on a project to test the use of deliberative discussion as a way to invest coastal residents in environmental discussion and decision-making. She is also working with Dr. Callahan and his students and Joshua Robinson to develop a project to create a watershed restoration plan for Long Branch Creek.  

Additionally, Dr. Lovelace is wrapping up work with researchers from NC and VA. They are working to develop a susceptibility index for local communities to assess the public health susceptibility of their constituents due to loss of water and waste water systems in flooding conditions. 

Matt Nowlin

Dr. Matthew Nowlin

Dr. Nowlin has been at CofC just over 5 years, since the fall of 2013. He teaches EVSS/PUBA 602: Public Policy each fall and will teach EVSS 651/PUBA 551 Research and Management in Environmental Organization in the spring. This course is new and is required for concurrent EVSS/MPA students who entered the program in the fall of 2017 or later.

His research interests include the policymaking process, stakeholder engagement, and public opinion about energy and environmental issues at the federal, state, and local government level. He has several on-going projects including one with Susan Lovelace from Sea Grant that examines deliberative discussion among stakeholders, including the public, as a way to facilitate decision-making regarding coastal issues. Dr. Nowlin is also beginning a project that will explore stakeholder networks and collaboration at the state and local level.

Since 2013, Dr. Nowlin has supervised 9 thesis/internship projects and has served on an additional 19 committees. He really enjoys working with students in developing their research goals and projects. Dr. Nowlin will be on sabbatical in 2019-2020, and will not be accepting any new students until the fall of 2020. However, he is excited to work with students when he returns.