Skip to main content

Our Dean

A Message from Dean Gaines

Steve Gaines

Welcome to the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

I invite you to familiarize yourself with the school and all that distinguishes it — from our location on the edge of the Pacific Ocean to our outstanding students and faculty, our superb facilities housed in the “greenest” laboratory building in the United States, and, above all, our richly integrated multidisciplinary academic programs, which place primary emphasis on application and solutions. It is my hope that you will experience the school as a dynamic and exciting place that makes a powerful contribution to the world.

The environmental plight of our planet is perhaps the single most important issue of our time; how we manage its resources and natural systems, as well as our own linked human actions will largely determine the quality of life to be enjoyed by our children and the generations beyond. There is, accordingly, a great need for leaders who are highly trained not only in the physical sciences, but also in policy-making, economics, law, business, and management. The world needs people who can harness knowledge, technical skills, and analytical ability to a vision capable of ensuring that living well means living sustainably. Those leaders are being trained at the Bren School.

The school’s faculty comprises distinguished professors who are leaders in their respective fields and hold prominent positions on science advisory committees and other working groups that are engaged in developing environmental policy at the state, national, and international levels. Further, the school's student-to-faculty ratio ensures that students in both the master's programs and the mentored PhD program have extraordinary access to their professors. And because the school is embedded in a university offering nationally ranked programs in an array of related disciplines, students can extend their specializations with classes in areas that reflect their particular interests.

Finally, the Bren School offers a superb location where the mountains meet the sea and such issues as ocean conservation, land use, and water-quality management are front and center. More than a pleasing place to learn, our campus provides an inspiring context for those who have the intellect, the skills, the vision, and the commitment to make a difference.

Thank you for visiting, and please contact me with any questions you might have.

Steven D. Gaines, Dean
Bren School of Environmental Science & Management

About Dr. Steve Gaines

Steven Gaines' research focuses on marine ecology and conservation, sustainable fisheries, the design of marine reserves, and the impact of climate change on ocean ecosystems. His research explores the design of marine reserve networks, climate change impacts on ocean ecosystems, and more sustainable fisheries management using market-based reforms. He has received numerous awards, including a Pew Fellowship, the inaugural Marc Hirshman Award for excellence in student mentoring, election to the American Association for Advancement of Science, and the Peter Benchley Prize for Ocean Science. He has more than 190 publications, including four books, and his collaborative work on sustainable fisheries was named a top scientific contribution of 2008 by the journal Nature

Prior to his appointment as Dean, Steve has served as Director of the UC Santa Barbara Marine Science Institute, and as UCSB Acting Dean of Science and Acting Vice Chancellor for Research. Steve serves as Director of the Latin American Fisheries Fellowship program, where he mentors fellows on group projects, directed research, and PhD research. He is a founding principal investigator of the Sustainable Fisheries Group, working closely with other researchers to seek market-based solutions for sustainable fisheries management around the world. Steve earned a BS in Biology from the University of California, Irvine, and a PhD in Ecology from Oregon State University.

arrow up icon