Professor Scott Denning

Teaching: Science of Global Climate Change

Scott Denning is Monfort Professor of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University, where he leads a large research group using many kinds of observations and models to understand the metabolism of the Earth’s biosphere. A key contribution of his research is the identification and prediction of sources and sinks of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere using new satellite instruments. In addition to using global satellite imagery, his research has included extensive fieldwork in the great north woods of Wisconsin, the farms of Iowa, and the Amazon rainforest.

He served for 10 years as Director of Education and Diversity for a major climate modeling center, working to enhance understanding of global climate through K-12, undergraduate, and graduate study, as well as, informal education and public presentations.

Professor Denning author of more than 100 publications in the peer-reviewed climate literature, a former editor of the Journal of Climate, and was founding Science Chair of the North American Carbon Program. He has served on advisory panels for NASA, NOAA, the US Department of Energy, and the National Science Foundation, and several nonprofits.

His undergraduate degree, from the University of Maine, is in Geology. Following a brief career in the oil industry, he worked on biogeochemistry of a high mountain watershed for several years before earning his Ph.D. at Colorado State University.

Denning joined the faculty of the Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1996 and returned to Colorado in 1998 where he joined the faculty at his alma mater.

Scott is passionate about explaining the Three S’s of Climate Change (Simple, Serious, and Solvable) to public audiences of all kinds. He lives in Fort Collins Colorado with his spouse of 29 years, a Chocolate Lab, an old cat, and a small fish. An avid amateur astronomer, Scott spends clear moonless nights photographing the galaxy from a mountain cabin.

Professor Ursula Quillmann

Teaching: Oceanography

Dr. Ursula Quillmann is an associate professor at the Warner College of Natural Resources (WCNR) at Colorado State University. Ursula earned her Ph.D. in Geological Sciences at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Her research focus has been on paleoceanography with emphasis on past abrupt climate changes. The ocean is a key player in the Earth’s climate system by storing and transporting heat. As human actions continue to change the Earth’s climate at an alarming rate, it is important to understand past climate changes prior to human influence.

Ursula is very passionate about our ocean planet and she decided to share her passion by teaching oceanography and environmental systems courses. She joined WCNR in fall 2011 and has taught over 9,000 undergraduate students at CSU since then. In 2019, she received the Harry E. Troxell Distinguished Service-to-Students Faculty Award, an award given to a faculty member in the WCNR who has given outstanding service to students. The award acknowledges faculty members who stimulate the curiosity of students by motivating and challenging them.

Ursula sailed on the Spring 2017 Semester at Sea voyage and embraced full-heartedly the experiences Semester at Sea offers and enjoyed watching students as they became global citizens and became inspired to tackle global issues. Visiting a traditional fishing village in Ghana with her students, Ursula felt overwhelmed by the plastic that had accumulated on the shore and by the plastic that was caught in fishing nets. For the first time in her life, Ursula experienced first-hand that humans had created a new geologic layer that she termed the flip-flop layer. She returned to CSU and became part of a team working to raise awareness of plastic pollution.

It is with enthusiasm that Ursula will join the Spring 2022 faculty at Semester at Sea and teach Oceanography on Summer at Sea 2022's Segment II. She is looking forward to inciting discussion with her students on the future of our ocean and its ecosystems as the ocean warms, wind patterns and current regime change, sea level rises, the ocean acidifies, and is overfished, and is polluted, especially by plastic.