James Dontje

Faculty and Administrator

Director of Johnson Center for Environmental Innovation in Johnson Center and Chair and Director of Johnson Center for Environmental Innovation in Environmental Studies

James (Jim) Dontje directs the Johnson Center for Environmental Innovation which serves as a focal point for Gustavus campus and community environmental stewardship efforts.  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-399Senior Seminar72016/FA, 2014/FA, 2013/FA, 2011/FA, 2010/FA, 2009/FA, and 2008/FA
ENV-344ST:Local Food Production32016/SP, 2013/SP, and 2011/SP
ENV-225Introduction to Renewable Energy32014/JN, 2011/JN, and 2010/JN
IDS-246Human Rights/Econ Just12015/FA
IDS-243Earth Care/Adaptation12015/FA
ENV-268Career Exploration12009/JN
ENV-110Introduction to Environmental Studies12008/SP