University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Press Release

Environmental Law Professor Named Director of UWM Center for Water Policy


By - Sep 22nd, 2020 12:45 pm
Melissa K. Scanlan. Photo from UWM.

Melissa K. Scanlan. Photo from UWM.

MILWAUKEE — Melissa K. Scanlan has been named the new Lynde B. Uihlein Endowed Chair in Water Policy at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In this position she also directs the Center for Water Policy at UWM’s School of Freshwater Sciences.

Scanlan currently is a visiting professor at Boston College Law School and a professor at the Vermont Law School, where she co-founded and directs the New Economy Law Center. She was previously the associate dean of the Environmental Law Program. In the last year she has served as a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Spain, researching cooperatives that are sustainability leaders. She begins her duties at UWM on Jan. 8, 2021.

Both the Center for Water Policy and the endowed chair position are funded by a $2.6 million gift Lynde B. Uihlein gave in 2011. At that time, Scanlan worked as a consultant to Uihlein in designing and launching the center. From 2011-2013, she was the Water Law and Policy Scholar at the UW Law School, a position, also funded by Uihlein, devoted to interdisciplinary water law and policy research in collaboration with UWM’s School of Freshwater Sciences.

“Policy and science are intertwined, a key rationale for creating our center,” said Val Klump, dean of the School of Freshwater Sciences. “Melissa will bring a terrific combination of solid experience and a unique set of perspectives – including a deep understanding of the center’s vision – to our students, faculty and community.”

Scanlan has extensive experience in launching and stewarding social enterprises to advance research, teaching and service.

From 1999-2010 she used funding from multiple private donors, including two fellowships – the Equal Justice Works Fellowship and Echoing Green Fellowship – to establish Wisconsin’s first environmental law firm, Midwest Environmental Advocates. The firm provides legal representation to community groups, local and tribal governments, to protect their air, water and land.

Scanlan earned a joint Juris Doctorate and Master of Science degree in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management from the University of California-Berkeley. She has written numerous book chapters and law review articles on a variety of environmental and new economy law topics, and has been quoted widely in the media on environmental policy issues. Her first solo-authored book, “Prosperity and the Fossil Free Economy,” is forthcoming from Yale University Press in 2021.

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