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James (Jim) Dontje directs the Johnson Center for Environmental Innovation which serves as a focal point for Gustavus campus and community environmental sustainability efforts. James serves as the chair of the President's Environmental Sustainability Council (PESC) and regularly teaches in the Environmental Studies Program.

He is the inaugural director of the center and came to Gustavus in 2007.  Prior to coming to Gustavus, James was the Compton Chair in Ecological Design at Berea College in Kentucky where he taught in the Sustainability and Environmental Studies Program and supported Berea College sustainability initiatives.  Prior to his undergraduate education at Luther College, James lived on a farm in north central Iowa just south of Blue Earth, MN border. James' graduate work was in Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering at the University of Minnesota, a field chosen because of diverse and multi-faceted connections to environmental issues.  His time in graduate school took place between two terms as a community development worker with the the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC).  From 1988 to 1991, he worked on village level water and agriculture projects in northern Burkina Faso; and from 1997 to 2001, he served as the MCC Program Director in Indonesia's Papua (Irian Jaya) province, guiding community water supply and general community development projects.


Ph.D. Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, University of Minnesota; M.S. Agricultural Engineering, University of Minnesota;B.A. Physics, Luther College


bicycling, poetry, and pottery

Courses Taught

Synonym Title Times Taught Terms Taught
ENV-399 Senior Seminar 10 2019/FA, 2018/FA, 2017/FA, 2016/FA, 2014/FA, 2013/FA, 2011/FA, 2010/FA, 2009/FA, and 2008/FA
ENV-344 ST:Local Food Production 7 2020/SP, 2019/SP, 2018/SP, 2017/SP, 2016/SP, 2013/SP, and 2011/SP
ENV-225 Introduction to Renewable Energy 4 2018/JN, 2014/JN, 2011/JN, and 2010/JN
ENV-244 ST:Local Food Production 2 2020/SP and 2019/SP
GEO-244 ST: Telling the Story 1 2019/SP
ENV-240 Climate Chg-Indonesia 1 2019/JN
IDS-247 Democ/Conflict/Peace 1 2015/FA
IDS-246 Human Rights/Econ Just 1 2015/FA
IDS-245 Religion/Ethics/Socchg 1 2015/FA
IDS-243 Earth Care/Adaptation 1 2015/FA
ENV-268 Career Exploration 1 2009/JN
ENV-110 Introduction to Environmental Studies 1 2008/SP