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News Release

Rushlow Named Dean of Vermont School for the Environment

Thursday, September 15, 2022


New Impact-Based Public Policy Program Gets a Leader

Jennifer K. Rushlow has been named dean for the newly announced Vermont School for the Environment at Vermont Law and Graduate School.

The environmental public policy school overseen by Rushlow will focus on climate change, environmental justice, sustainable food and agriculture, clean energy, and animal protection.

Degrees with the Vermont School for the Environment include Master of Climate and Environmental Policy (MCEP) and Master of Animal Protection Policy (MAPP), with more to come. These are in addition to the existing Master of Energy Regulation and Law (MERL) and Master of Food and Agriculture Law and Policy (MFALP).

“The new Vermont School of the Environment is teeming with possibility and energy, and I am honored and excited to get to work as its inaugural dean,” Rushlow said. “VSE students will graduate with a full toolbox of knowledge and skills for making change. Environmentalism has changed since its early days, and we need more inclusive and ambitious policy solutions than we’ve tried before. VSE’s degrees are designed to meet the challenges of today by teaching students how to navigate an increasingly divided political system while the clock is ticking. In this time of climate crisis and its disproportionate impacts on people of color and low-income communities around the world, training leaders in environmental protection and community resilience is critical to our future.”

A member of the greater VLGS community since joining the summer environmental faculty in 2015, Rushlow has served as associate dean for environmental programs, professor of law and, most recently, interim graduate school dean; the latter of which she will continue on a temporary basis while VLGS conducts a search for the permanent graduate school dean. Rushlow will also continue in her role as faculty director of the Environmental Law Center.

Before arriving at the Vermont institution, Rushlow was named Massachusetts Lawyer of the Year by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly in 2016 after she argued — and won — Kain v. Department of Environmental Protection, a landmark climate law case in which the Massachusetts state environmental agency was ordered to take concrete steps to address greenhouse gas emissions.

Rushlow holds a Juris Doctor from Northeastern University School of Law and Master of Public Health from Tufts University School of Medicine.

“Jenny is an innovative and creative leader, talented advocate for the environment, and an integral part of the VLGS academic community. Her ability to shape programs that harness law and policy to tackle emerging environmental issues is a perfect fit to be dean of the new Vermont School for the Environment,” VLGS President Rod Smolla said. “At no time in history has the need for well-trained professionals equipped with the intellectual and practical skills to study, design, and advocate wise public policies and practices on matters relating to climate change and environmental protection mattered more to the world and under Jenny’s leadership, our students will be in good hands.”


About Vermont Law and Graduate School: Vermont Law and Graduate School, a private, independent institution, is home to the nation’s premier environmental law program. The school features innovative experiential programs and is home to the Environmental Law Center, South Royalton Legal Clinic, Environmental Advocacy Clinic, Energy Clinic, Food and Agriculture Clinic, Environmental Justice Clinic, and Center for Justice Reform. For more information, visit and follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.