Profile in Sustainability: Sheila McNamee

Profile in Sustainability: Sheila McNamee

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Sheila McNameeSheila McNamee, communication professor, and UNHSI culture and sustainability faculty fellow, talks about the sustainability. 

What role do you see the UNH Culture and Sustainability Task Force playing on campus?

To me the Culture and Sustainability Task Force (CAST) should become the pivotal catalyst for generating and maintaining a UNH community that is actively and intentionally engaged in sustaining and creating a vibrant intellectual campus. We all know how easy it is to sit in our offices, teach our classes, work with our colleagues and not think much about the larger UNH community. My hope is that this task force will work alongside other ongoing campus initiatives--and facilitate some new initiatives--that strive to create a culture of collaboration and lively interchange. 

How does the scholarship you do in communication relate to sustainability?

In basic terms, my work is focused on building community. Most specifically, I focus on how diverse communities can work together to create new forms of understanding which, in turn, create new forms of practice. In essence, my scholarship is about sustainability: how do we sustain ourselves, our relationships, our communities, and our forms of practice so that we can work together in generative ways.

What motivates you personally to be involved in sustainability?

I am committed (and always have been) to creating contexts that invite people to work together and create new possibilities. I'm particularly devoted to constructing communities where the differences (different people, different values, different belief systems) generate innovation rather than alienation or conflict. As we talk about culture and sustainability, we are talking about how we sustain each other and the multiplicity of values and beliefs our community represents. In addition, I love to work with the Sustainability Institute staff who clearly enjoy what they do and keep the joy and fun in the work they do.