Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences

Breaking News

Congratulations Chris, Virginia, and Leslie!

ESS faculty members Chris Bacon, Virginia Matzek, and Leslie Gray were recently awarded tenure and/or a promotion.

The Department of ESS is very pleased to announce that Virginia Matzek and Chris Bacon have received tenure and a promotion to associate professors, and Leslie Gray received a promotion to full professor. The department is very proud of the outstanding teaching, research, and service these wonderful colleagues have contributed to the university community.

Chris is teaching his engaging ENVS 155 Food Justice course this spring. He has received a multi-year National Science Foundation grant to work on food and water security issues under climate change in Nicaragua, and he also recently co-edited a new book on Agroecology.


Virginia is currently teaching her popular Restoration Ecology class, taking students to field sites for wetland delineation and bird banding. She recently published a paper in the journal Restoration Ecology, which is co-authored by two former SCU undergrads, Shawn Warren ’14 and Colleen Fisher ’14. Her next project is a study of non-herbicidal methods for control of the invasive grass Brachypodium sylvaticum, slender false brome, in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Leslie has been on sabbatical from teaching this year and conducting research on urban agriculture in Santa Clara County. Her work is examining issues such as access to urban agricultural land, health benefits and social impacts of various urban agricultural programs. She has also been preparing for field research with colleagues from USF and Ghana to examine the impacts of GM technology on the gendered dynamics of labor in the cotton sector in Burkina Faso.