Developing Change Agents: Innovative Practices For Sustainability Leadership


Call For Chapter Proposals

We’ve heard that an exciting new edited book is being planned by Kristi L. Kremers of University of Minnesota, Alexander S. Liepins of McGill University and Abigail L. York of Arizona State University.

We’re super-excited about this and want to encourage our network to think about contributing chapters. Many of our OPEN Fellows work on innovative programs to develop change agents for sustainability, though primarily in a business school context. It seems that the science community is also beginning to see the necessity for training its own future leaders as change agents for sustainability.

We’re also thinking about putting together a co-authored chapter proposal as OPEN, most likely on the topic of competencies for change agents. We would very much welcome co-authors to volunteer to work with us on this.

Here’s what the editors have to say about their plans for the book….


Developing Scientist-Leaders

Given the grand environmental and societal changes we face, leadership development for graduate students is an area of great opportunity to cultivate the next generation of sustainability leaders. This important work of leadership development is often seen as either a natural byproduct of higher education, or a non-essential add-on.

As colleges and universities develop the scientist-leaders of the future, this requires an awareness of how to navigate the complex social and environmental challenges that take transdisciplinary knowledge and creativity. In the scientific disciplines, there is an acknowledgement that leadership training is needed to ensure the success of research projects by knowing how to manage a team and by ensuring productivity which can lead to outcomes that enhance career advancement (Kvaskoff & McKay, 2014; Clayton, 2015). However, there are very few programs that offer such leadership training to scientists, and beyond these programs, even fewer are designed to help scientists-in-training to develop the capacity to address wicked problems.

In response, this book seeks to provide a context for the need for these programs and the practices that can address the gaps from knowledge to action, and action to impact within the context of graduate education. We welcome chapters that address research, theory and are especially interested in innovative practices and models that can be replicated by other organizations and institutions.


Guiding Questions for Proposals:

  1. What competencies are needed for graduate students to move from knowledge to action and action to impact? How do we best prepare graduate students for diverse career paths in an age of accelerated change and uncertainty?
  2. How do we create communities and networks and in turn, empower leader-scientists to co-create communities and networks at the scale needed to address wicked challenges?
  3. What research, theories and practices are important to the work described in your proposal?
  4. How can reflecting on current programs and practices address successes, challenges, lessons-learned, and actionable frameworks to inform and guide other institutions in designing leadership development opportunities for graduate students?

Priority will be given to chapters that unite both theory and practice. The deadline for proposals is Tuesday, May 1st. 


Frequently Asked Questions

1. When are the completed chapters due?
The deadline for submission of completed chapters for successful proposals is August 1st. For those of you in scientific disciplines that have a summer field season, the deadline is October 15th.

2. Can I submit a chapter related to undergraduate education?
No, our focus is on graduate leadership development.

3. I want to submit a chapter about a discipline specific topic, but I think it would be useful for those working on similar issues in other disciplines. Can I submit it?
Yes, we welcome your proposal.

4. What perspectives can be used?
We welcome disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary views, as well as diverse perspectives from various communities, including intersectional perspectives. All voices are needed to tackle complex social ecological questions.

5. What types of training and education programs can be included?
We welcome proposals on all types of education and training programs including workshops, fellowships, courses, certificates, degrees, training embedded in research groups and networks, and any other novel formats for leadership training and education.

6. In what formats will the book be published?
There will be both paperback and digital versions available.

For more information, including the submission form, please visit our website:


If you have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the editors:

Kristi L. Kremers
University of Minnesota

Alexander S. Liepins
McGill University

Abigail M. York
Arizona State University

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