Message from the Head of School
For more information about Prof. Rabinowitz, read our news update about the appointment of the new Head of School.
Unlike universities who choose to incorporate the environmental sphere into an existing department or faculty, Tel Aviv University (TAU) and the Porter Foundation decided to establish a new and independent body, and founded the Porter School of Environmental Studies (PSES). Thus TAU follows some of the leading universities in the world, with a similar model to that of the Center for the Environment at Harvard, The Earth Institute at Columbia University and the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford, to name a few. In our case, it means we function as an independent school that does not belong to any of the nine university faculties, yet collaborates with all relevant factors on campus.
I believe this interdisciplinary model represents the right approach and is appropriate for the universal characteristics of environmental issues. On the one hand, addressing environmental challenges for purposes of rehabilitation, damage repair, recovery and healthier future planning warrants technological solutions, innovation and inventiveness. At the same time, such interventions require a profound comprehension of the background social, economic and political contexts. In order to attain this combination, a separate independent center is needed, to constitute a focal and meeting point for cooperation between researchers from different fields. PSES is committed to the principle of interdisciplinarity in all aspects of its activity, and as Head of School I intend to pursue and further strengthen this notion.
The move to the new Building is a defining moment in the history of the school. The building is the most ecologically advanced in the country, and PSES will undoubtedly be in possession of a unique asset in Israeli academia. The advantages are many and varied: our students will study in novel classrooms in this state-of-the-art green building; and the building's facilities will enable extensive research activity, drawing to us researchers from across the university and other institutions. However we must not become complacent. On the contrary – the Building confronts us with many challenges, and moving in should be a catalyst and an incentive to our future operation. We must make PSES and its outstanding home the beating heart of genuine environmental academic research and public environmental action.
From our new home, with senior faculty members we hope and intend to add to PSES ranks in the coming years and in cooperation with other faculties, we seek to impact the design of the university; to contribute to the formation of ambitious environmental policies by the government of Israel; to improve production processes in industry; and to develop the environmental responsibility of companies and corporations. PSES and its unique home, the Building, have a calling and a mission: to lead the environmental sphere in Israel through groundbreaking paths, toward new unprecedented achievements.
Prof. Dan Rabinowitz
Head of PSES