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Former EPA official Janet McCabe to lead IU Prepared for Environmental Change initiative

New appointment for faculty member at IUPUI includes leadership of university’s Environmental Resilience Institute

Aug 21, 2019

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana University has appointed faculty member and former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency official Janet McCabe as the next director of the Prepared for Environmental Change Grand Challenge initiative, the second project developed and funded through IU’s Grand Challenges Program.

Janet McCabe
Janet McCabe.Photo by Eric Rudd, Indiana University

In this role, McCabe will direct the Environmental Resilience Institute, where she currently serves as assistant director of policy and implementation. The Environmental Resilience Institute was launched in 2017 as part of the IU Prepared for Environmental Change initiative.

McCabe will report to IU Vice President for Research Fred H. Cate. She succeeds Ellen Ketterson, Distinguished Professor of Biology at IU Bloomington, who has led the initiative since its inception. Ketterson will remain as a science advisor to the Environmental Resilience Institute leadership team.

“We owe an extraordinary debt of gratitude to Ellen Ketterson for designing and launching the Prepared for Environmental Change Grand Challenge,” Cate said. “Ellen’s vision and leadership have made the Environmental Resilience Institute the go-to provider of environmental data and research in our state.

“We are indeed fortunate to have as Ellen’s successor someone with Janet’s extensive expertise and state and national network. Janet is ideally suited to move the initiative forward, expanding ERI’s efforts to partner Hoosier communities and businesses to deliver practical solutions to the environmental challenges we increasingly face.”

Current Prepared for Environmental Change and Environmental Resilience Institute projects include partnering with the EPA to launch the Environmental Resilience Institute Toolkit, a digital resource that provides data, research and case studies to help Midwestern communities reduce and address the consequences of environmental change. The institute is also conducting the Hoosier Life Survey, a comprehensive statewide survey of Hoosiers’ values and attitudes toward the environment and extreme weather that will inform policies and strategies specific to Indiana.

“I’m honored to take on this new role and to continue working with partners throughout Indiana and beyond to provide informed and actionable solutions to address the obstacles our farmers, businesses and communities are confronting due to severe weather and our changing climate,” said McCabe, who is also a professor of practice at the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law at IUPUI. “Climate change affects us all and requires a truly interdisciplinary response. The Grand Challenge makes that possible, and I look forward to continuing the good work.”

Since joining the Prepared for Environmental Change initiative, McCabe has been consulted frequently for her expertise in environmental policy, being quoted in outlets such as The Hill, The New York Times, NPR, The Indianapolis Star and Indianapolis Business Journal. From July 2013 through January 2017, McCabe served as the acting assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation at the EPA.

Before joining the EPA in 2009, McCabe was executive director of Improving Kids’ Environment Inc., a children’s environmental health advocacy organization based in Indianapolis, and an adjunct faculty member at the IU School of Medicine and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. From 1993 to 2005, she held several leadership positions in the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. She graduated from Harvard College in 1980 and Harvard Law School in 1983.

Environmental Resilience Institute

The Environmental Resilience Institute, founded as part of Indiana University’s Prepared for Environmental Change Grand Challenge initiative, brings together a broad, bipartisan coalition of government, business, nonprofit and community leaders to help Indiana better prepare for the challenges that environmental changes bring to our economy, health and livelihood. Announced in May 2017, Prepared for Environmental Change is working to deliver tailored and actionable solutions to communities across the state of Indiana.

IU Research

Indiana University’s world-class researchers have driven innovation and creative initiatives that matter for 200 years. From curing testicular cancer to collaborating with NASA to search for life on Mars, IU has earned its reputation as a world-class research institution. Supported by $680 million last year from our partners, IU researchers are building collaborations and uncovering new solutions that improve lives in Indiana and around the globe. Visit IU Research Impact to learn more.


Office of the Vice President for Research

Nicole Wilkins

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