Two University of New Mexico professors, who are also husband and wife, will travel to the other side of the world this summer to teach and do research at the University of Tasmania (UTAS).

One half of this duo is Tema Milstein, a UNM Presidential Teaching Fellow and associate professor in the Department of Communication and Journalism. She has been awarded a Visiting Fellow position at UTAS. Her husband, John Carr, an associate professor in the Department of Geography, will be traveling to Tasmania on a Visiting Scholar award. Both are considered to be very competitive programs designed to benefit areas and activities of strategic priority for UTAS.

“The opportunity to travel with Tema to University of Tasmania is really fortuitous right now,” said Carr. “While we have long been engaged in each others’ scholarship, we have only recently begun to collaborate on research.” 

“Travelling to a place such as Tasmania where our interests overlap so powerfully – including in such areas as ecotourism, sustainable development, ecocultural meaning systems, and environmental policy – provides us a wonderful opportunity to grow our collaboration as we pursue our own research programs,” Milstein added.

              John Carr

As a University of Tasmania Visiting Scholar, Carr will be working within the School of Land and Food’s Geography and Spatial Sciences program. Specializing in urban and legal geography, globalization, critical theory, public space and culture, the UNM associate professor plans on working with UTAS faculty on issues of development, urban planning and governance, and legal studies.

 “One of the things that really drew me to engaging with faculty at the Geography and Spatial Sciences program of University of Tasmania was their real strength in areas of legal geography and environmentally and culturally resilient development,” said Carr.

He also plans on giving two lectures in the program of Geography and Spatial Sciences on political and cultural geography, as well as presenting to UTAS academics and professional staff on how to maximize personal and locational pedagogical assets.

 “This kind of opportunity to learn from and contribute to researchers working on similar projects in very different contexts is really what cross-institutional scholarship should be about,” Carr said.

Milstein’s Visiting Fellow position is with the University of Tasmania’s Institute for the Study of Social Change and the School of Social Science’s Journalism, Media, & Communications program.

Milstein credits UTAS for building an international reputation in environmental communication research and teaching, a field in which she is internationally recognized as a leader.

“I have been interested in extending my research focus to include Australia for several years, and increasingly so since my 2012 Fulbright research in New Zealand. The University of Tasmania is a perfect base from which to do this with its strong focus and reputation in ecological relations and communication,” said Milstein. “And Tasmania itself is a place steeped in environmental politics firsts and experiencing a surge in environmentally based tourism.”

Tema Milstein

Milstein is well known for her research in ecotourism and cultural environmental meaning systems, including her work on cetacean and marine tourism. She said her visit will help UTAS achieve its goals of generating innovative, cutting edge knowledge and addressing the resolution of global challenges, including engaging issues of social-ecological resilience and well being.

Milstein is being hosted by UTAS Professor Libby Lester, another leader in the environmental communication field. The two have worked together on the editorial team of the international journal, Environmental Communication, and as founding members of the International Environmental Communication Association.

“I’m looking forward to working with Professor Lester and other colleagues. Our research interests are highly complementary in that our work crosses cultural and media studies approaches to understanding human relations with/in/as nature. We look forward to creating closer scholarly ties between University of New Mexico and University of Tasmania, and in the process between US and Australian approaches and foci in the field,” Milstein said.

She plans to help enrich learning and teaching techniques at UTAS through a variety of workshops for faculty as well as guest lecturing in undergraduate and graduate courses. She will also collaborate with other researchers on local and regionally comparative matters of human-ecological relations and hold public talks on ecotourism, culture, and sustainability.

Both Milstein and Carr said they’re excited to continue their respective research at the University of Tasmania this summer, to learn from Australian colleagues, and to continue to help UNM make an impact around the world.