Newswise — Wendy Purcell, PhD, FRSA, has joined the Rutgers School of Public Health as a professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health and Justice.

Prior to joining Rutgers, Purcell was an academic research scholar at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where she led research on global leadership and governance for transformational change and co-directed the Sustainable Development Solutions Group. She was lead researcher on the Culture of Health project, a joint initiative of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Business School, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, where she explored health and equity in business and community settings. She served as the president vice-chancellor of Plymouth University - where she is an Emeritus Professor of Biomedicine - establishing new schools of medicine and dentistry and leading the institution to become among the top 1% of world universities and the number #1 ‘green’ university in the United Kingdom.

“I describe my purpose as transforming lives through education and research, helping talent express itself in society, and creating a pathway of discovery towards solutions to societal problems,” says Purcell. “And that’s why I joined the Rutgers School of Public Health – because that’s what we do here! I’ll be focusing on climate, health, and sustainability, making new connections across the school and wider university, and building research projects in the field. It’s an exciting time for public health in the world and the Rutgers School of Public Health is the place to be to help create a world that leaves no one behind.” 

Her teaching relates to change agency with a focus on sustainability and sustainable development as the fuel for adaptive change across sectors.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Purcell join the Rutgers School of Public Health,” says Perry N. Halkitis, dean. “A key effort for Dr. Purcell will be to build and enhance our educational programing on environmental sustainability. Dr. Purcell’s extensive experience in this domain aligns with the tenets of social justice and health equity, which define the work we undertake at our school.”

Purcell has authored over 100-publications, as an academic editor and author. Her book, The Bloomsbury Handbook of Sustainability in Higher Education: An Agenda for Transformational Change, will be out early 2023. She is a series editor of 17-books on Higher Education and the Sustainable Development Goals for Emerald Publishing. She is editor-in-chief of Merits, an international journal focused on contemporary research issues related to enabling people at work to thrive, deputy editor of International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management, and on the editorial boards of International Journal Sustainability in Higher Education, Advances in Environmental and Engineering Research, Leadership and Organizational Development, and Advances in Online Education. She is also a goal advisor to Emerald Publishing on The Fairer Society mission. 

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Purcell join the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health and Justice,” says Helmut Zarbl, department chair.

“She will be a catalyst in our efforts to establish educational initiatives in the sustainability domain,” says Philip Demokritou, Henry Rutgers Chair and Professor, vice chair and concentration director, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health and Justice. “Educational activities in and for sustainability have become very popular for a reason and are expanding exponentially at national and global levels.”  

Purcell is a registered member of Harvard’s McLean Institute of Coaching, Harvard Medical School, and coach and mentor to executive leaders and change agents. She is a council member of the United Nations University, governing board member for the European University EELISA, and member of the American Association of Universities and Colleges. Purcell is also an expert advisor to a range of boards, charities, and not-for-profit organizations advancing internationalization and sustainability leadership.

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