I am passionate about the value of an environmental liberal arts education. The challenge of becoming a sustainable society will dominate our next century, and I am excited about helping to craft a new model of education that can meet this challenge. I am also passionate about being in nature. I am an avid hiker and cross-country skier, and I love to work on my family’s farm, where our gardens, sheep, cattle, and chickens keep us rooted in this beautiful landscape.
Dr. Bill Throop specializes in environmental ethics, theory of knowledge, and sustainability education. Trained in philosophy of science and epistemology at Brown University, his approach to teaching emphasizes careful analysis of arguments and focused discussion about big cultural questions. His interests are broad ranging, as are the sources on which he draws for his research and teaching. In his thirty years at small liberal arts colleges, he has taught courses across the philosophical spectrum, including the philosophy of mind, value theory and the meaning of life, philosophy of law, philosophy of science, eastern philosophy and courses in the history of western philosophy. Bill has also co-taught numerous interdisciplinary courses, a fifteen credit block course on The Northern Forest, courses on Wilderness in Vermont, Renewing Civil Society, and The Promise and Perils of Biotechnology.Bill edited the first book on philosophical issues in ecological restoration, and he has published widely in this area. He also co-edited Reason and Culture, an introductory philosophy text. His is currently working on a book project about how we can flourish amid the age of climate change. This research examines the character traits we need to have in order to successfully address our sustainability challenges and the role that higher education can play in cultivating those traits.
Bill served as provost at Green Mountain College for twelve years, during which he helped to build the national reputation of the College for sustainability education and led the creation its graduate programs. At the national level, he served on the board of directors of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) for six years, and was elected chair of the board for his last two years. He has been on the editorial boards of Restoration Ecology and Environmental Ethics. He is currently on the executive committee of Solution Generation, a national network of higher education leaders committed to creating a path to climate solutions.
B.A. (summa cum laude) in Philosophy, Lehigh University
Ph.D. in Philosophy from Brown University
Reason and Culture: An Introduction to Philosophy, (edited with John Arthur and Amy Shapiro) Prentice Hall, 2001.
Environmental Restoration: Ethics, Theory and Practice. Humanity Books: Prometheus Press, 2000..
“The Changing Role of History in Restoration Ecology” (with multiple authors) Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 2014.
“From Environmental Advocates to Sustainability Entrepreneurs: Rethinking a Sustainability- Focused General Education Program” in Sustainability in Higher Education: Stories and Strategies for Transformation, Barlett and Chase (eds.), MIT Press, 2013
“Environmental Virtues and the Aims of Restoration” in Ethical Adaptation to Climate Change: Human Virtues of the Future, Thompson, Allen and Bendik-Keymer, Jeremy (eds.) MIT Press, 2012.
“Wilderness Restoration: The Paradox of Ecological Restoration” (with Rebecca Purdom), Restoration Ecology 14, 2006.
“Autonomy and Agriculture” (with Beth Sanderson) in The Autonomy of Nature, T. Heyd (ed.), Columbia University Press, 2005.
“The Impact of Sustainability Education: The 2011 and 2013 NSSE SEC Data, AASHE AnnualMeeting, Oct. 2014.
“Restoring Our Land – Restoring Ourselves: Flourishing in the Age of Climate Change” Society for Human Ecology, October, 2014.
“Designing Curricula for Environmental Issues: Building on Our Strengths” Martin Methodist College, October 2013.
“Social Capital and Philosophy in the Anthropocene” University of Buffalo, March 2012.
“The NSSE Sustainability Education Consortium: a First Year Report 2011” AASHE Annual Meeting, October 2011.
“From the Tower to the Garden: One College’s Search for Sustainability Education,” United Methodist Church Institute for Higher Education, June 2011.
“Whose Minds?: Academic Neutrality and the Transition to Sustainability,” Society for HumanEcology, April 2011.
Honors and Recognitions
- 2014 Green Mountain College Alumni Distinguished Service Award
- 2004 Philosophy, Politics and Law Visiting Scholar, Binghamton University
- 2004 Distinguished Leadership and Contributions Award, Society for Human Ecology
- 2000 Robert W. Leonard Teacher of the Year Award
- 1999 – Present, Executive Board member of the Society for Human Ecology
- 1993-95 Elected President of the North Carolina Philosophical Society
- 1989 Prize for Best Paper by an Assistant Professor, North Carolina Philosophical Society
- 1981 Dissertation nominated by the Brown Philosophy Department for the Johnsonian Book Award