Feb. 1, 1996
Vol. 15, No. 10

current issue
archive / search

    Coursey named Dean of Harris School

    Don Coursey, an expert on the financial impact of environmental regulation, has been named Dean of the Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies, effective July 1. Coursey was recently named the University's first Ameritech Professor of Public Policy.

    Coursey has been a faculty member in the Harris School since 1993. He succeeds Charles Glaser, Associate Professor in the Harris School, who has been Acting Dean since 1994.

    "Don Coursey is an outstanding scholar and teacher," President Sonnenschein said. "I have enormous respect for his intellectual judgment and energy, and I am confident that he will be a highly successful Dean. [Provost] Geof Stone and I look forward to working with Don as he leads the Harris School to even greater distinction.

    "I also want to thank Charles Glaser for his superb performance as Acting Dean. We are all indebted to Charlie for the wise and thoughtful leadership he has provided the Harris School as Acting Dean these last two years."

    "I'm very enthusiastic about beginning my work as Dean," Coursey said. "This is an exciting time for the Harris School. More researchers and students are exploring more topics of interest than at any other time in the school's history. A large, but enjoyable, part of my time will be spent sharing these contributions with the school's larger communities."

    Coursey's research has focused on comparisons of demand for environmental quality and on environmental legislation in the United States. He also has examined the preferences people have for environmental improvements when balanced against other social and economic goals.

    He led a recent investigation of environmental equity in Chicago by examining the relationship between the location of older hazardous industrial sites and the racial composition of surrounding neighborhoods. He found that factors such as transportation routes rather than minority residential patterns determined the location of waste sites.

    Coursey has studied the links between financial and environmental decisions, including the relative costs of preserving various species. In a paper titled "The Revealed Demand for a Public Good: Evidence From Endangered and Threatened Species," he wrote that the larger, more popular animals such as panthers, bald eagles and grizzly bears receive more federal support than do spiders, snails or insects, regardless of the role each species plays in the ecosystem. The spending reflects public preferences.

    His other work includes such papers as "The Demand for Environmental Quality," "Competition in Political and Economic Markets," and "Defining Fair Environmental Policy."

    Coursey received his B.A. in 1978 and his Ph.D. in 1982 from the University of Arizona. Before joining the faculty at Chicago, he was a faculty member at the University of Wyoming and at Washington University in St. Louis, where he was the Vernon W. and Marion K. Piper Professor of Business Economics and director of the Business, Law and Economic Center.

    The Harris School was named in 1990 to honor Chicago civic leader and philanthropist Irving B. Harris.

    Since it opened in 1988, the Harris School has brought together researchers from multiple disciplines in the social and biological sciences, law and humanities to address issues of policy in such areas as child and family welfare, education, job training, health-care regulation, the environment, international affairs, housing, community development and urban poverty.

    The school's mission is to prepare graduate students for leadership careers in the analysis, development and implementation of public policy and to conduct research on persistent public-policy problems.

    The school, which has approximately 160 professional master's degree students and 25 Ph.D. students, offers concentrated courses of study in child and family policy, education, environmental policy, health, international relations, public finance and regulation, public management, and urban poverty and inequality.

    Joint degree programs are offered by the Harris School with the College, the Graduate School of Business and the Divinity School. Other joint programs of study are with the Law School, the Pritzker School of Medicine, the School of School Service Administration and the graduate divisions of the University.