Liam Phelan, Adjunct Faculty

Dr. Liam Phelan‘s primary research interest area is environmental studies, and in particular: transdisciplinary research methodologies, complex adaptive systems; political economy; Earth system thresholds and governance; resilience; climate change, and; insurance. He has published extensively in this more-than-disciplinary area and contributes to the development of the field through his role as Associate Editor with the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences’ Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences and through the Editorial Board for Human Ecology Review. Dr. Phelan’s PhD was awarded by Macquarie University, Australia, in 2011.

Dr. Phelan has also developed a secondary research interest in higher education practice. He publishes in this field too and serves the field through the Editorial Board of Distance Education. In 2014 Dr. Phelan completed a Master of Leadership and Management in Education at the University of Newcastle, Australia.

Dr. Phelan’s primary appointment is Senior Lecturer and Online Teaching and Learning Coordinator with GradSchool at the University of Newcastle. He has received several awards for teaching excellence, including an Office for Learning and Teaching National Citation in 2012 for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning. Dr. Phelan is also a Conjoint Senior Lecturer with the School of Environmental and Life Sciences. In 2014 he and a colleague are co-leading a project on behalf of the Australian Council of Environmental Deans and Directors to define threshold learning outcomes for environmental programs offered at universities across Australia.

Prior to joining the academy Dr. Phelan worked as a campaigner with civil society organisations including AID/WATCH and the Australia Tibet Council on international campaigns at the nexus of human rights, environmental justice, development assistance and international finance. He currently serves on the Management Committee of the Hunter Community Environment Centre. In 2005 he was a co-recipient of the international Free Spirit Award for Tibet campaign work.

Prof. Phelan’s JHU email is He teaches 425.645 Global Energy Policy.