Dr. Joseph A. Henderson

Associate Professor

Department: Environment and Society


Environmental Studies

Natural Resources Conservation & Management

Natural Resources Conservation (MS)



I grew up playing in the woods and waters of the rural Western New York town of Chipmunk. My father was a mechanic and my mother worked full-time as a stay-at-home mom. I always wanted to be outdoors and developed a strong love for both science and nature as a young boy. This affinity eventually led to an undergraduate degree in environmental geology from Colgate University, where I was a first generation and working class college student.

While at Colgate I also completed New York State teaching certification and worked as a summer environmental educator for the Department of Environmental Conservation. After college I worked in public school as a middle and high school earth science teacher. I completed a master’s degree at the University of Rochester and then a PhD in environmental education.

My doctoral research utilized interdisciplinary environmental social science methods to analyze science learning, sustainability education, and educational policy. My post-doctoral work at the University of Delaware examined the emerging field of climate change education from a learning sciences and educational policy perspective. I am fundamentally interested in how human beings teach and learn about nature and how those social processes influence ecological conditions. I have two kiddos, a wife and two cats, and I spend my free time hiking, skiing, canoeing, reading, arguing about ideas, and playing video games.

Academic Background

  • 2017 Postdoc, University of Delaware
  • 2014 PhD, University of Rochester
  • 2005 MS, University of Rochester
  • 2003 BA, Colgate University

Courses Taught

  • GEO 101 General Geography
  • SOC 101 Introduction to Sociology
  • SOC 200 Social Issues
  • SOC 299 Video Game Culture
  • SOC 300 Cultural Anthropology
  • EST 300 Ecological Change & Society
  • SOC 499 Comparative Policy Analysis
  • ENV 455 Sustainable Development
  • SUS 500 Strategic Communications


I am trained in the environmental social sciences broadly, and as an anthropologist of environmental education in particular. My research investigates how sociocultural, political and geographic factors influence teaching and learning in emerging energy and climate systems. I am especially interested in how humans use political ideology to shape ecological conditions, including here in the Adirondacks.

Selected Publications

Henderson, J., & Drewes, A. (Eds.) (in preparation). Teaching climate change in the United States. New York: Routledge.

Busch, K.C., Henderson, J., & Stevenson, K. (in press). Broadening epistemologies and methodologies in climate change education research. Environmental Education Research.

Drewes, A., Henderson, J., Mouza, C. (2018). Professional development design considerations in climate change education: teacher enactment and student learning. International Journal of Science Education, 40(1), 67-89.

Hufnagel, E., Kelly, G., Henderson, J. (2018). How the environment is positioned in the Next Generation Science Standards: A critical discourse analysis. Environmental Education Research, 24(5), 731-753.

Henderson, J., Long, D., Berger, P., Russell, C., & Drewes, A. (2017). Expanding the foundation: Climate change and opportunities for educational research. Educational Studies, 53(4), 412-425.

Henderson, J., & Zarger, R. (2017). Toward political ecologies of environmental education. Journal of Environmental Education, 48(4), 285-289.

Henderson, J., Bieler, A., & McKenzie, M. (2017). Climate change and the Canadian higher education system: An institutional policy analysis. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 47(1), 1-26.

Hursh, D., Henderson, J., & Greenwood, D. (Eds.) (2015). Environmental education in the neoliberal climate. Environmental Education Research, 21(3), 299-318.

Henderson, J. (2015). Out of sight, out of mind: On global connection, environmental discourse and the emerging field of sustainability education. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 10(3), 593-601.

Henderson, J., & Duggan-Haas, D. (2014). Drilling into controversy: The educational complexity of shale gas development. Journal of Environmental Sciences and Studies, 4(1), 87-96.

Henderson, J., & Hursh, D. (2014). Economics and education for human flourishing: Wendell    Berry and the oikonomic alternative to neoliberalism. Educational Studies, 50(2), 1-20.

Hursh, D., & Henderson, J. (2011). Contesting global neoliberalism and creating alternative futures. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 32(2), 171-185.

Henderson, J., & Drewes, A. (Eds.) (2020). Teaching climate change in the United States. New York: Routledge.

Henderson, J. (2019). [Review] Learning to teach climate change as if power matters. Environmental Education Research, 25(6), 987-990.

Busch, K.C., Henderson, J., & Stevenson, K. (2019). Broadening epistemologies and methodologies in climate change education research. Environmental Education Research, 25(6), 955-971.

Finewood, M., & Henderson, J. (2019). What higher education can bring to resilience: Reports from Pace University’s water resilience conference. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, 9(3), 316-321.