Diane Dittrick

Senior Associate in Environmental Science
Co-Director of the Environmental Science Laboratory

Diane K. Dittrick, senior associate in environmental science and co-director of the Environmental Science Laboratory, joined the faculty of Barnard in 1996. Her scholarly interests are in environmental ethics, leadership, and sustainable communities.

Prior to joining Barnard, Ms. Dittrick worked as science book editor, writer, and consultant for major publishers in the New York City area, including McGraw-Hill, Macmillan, Academic Press, Wiley-Interscience, Random House, and Columbia University Press.

Ms. Dittrick's interest in college-level teaching began in the department of biological sciences at Pace University in Manhattan where, as assistant professor, she taught the general biology lab course and served as laboratory director for seven years. She also created an innovative biology curriculum for prematriculated students in the Challenge to Achievement Program at Pace's School of Continuing Education.

At Barnard, Ms. Dittrick is laboratory instructor for the yearlong "Introductory Environmental Science" course. She teaches students about the environment through hands-on fieldwork on the Hudson River and its local environment. An important part of this course is the Brownfield Action component, given during the spring semester. Its interactive computer simulation takes students step-by-step through the investigation of a potential "brownfield," a piece of property that is tainted with a hazardous substance or pollutant. Through this experience, students learn how to write an environmental site assessment of the contaminated area.

Ms. Dittrick has recently developed—and is passionate about—an interdisciplinary course entitled "Environmental Literature, Ethics, and Action"(ELEA). This seminar course is part of Barnard's Science and Public Policy Program. It focuses on the impact humans have had in transforming our environment, the ethical aspects of this relationship, and the actions that can be taken to mitigate our negative impacts. The overall goal of the course is to deepen students' understandings of their relationship to the natural world and the moral basis of their actions.

Ms. Dittrick was nominated by students for the Emily Gregory Teaching Award in 2007. She is currently working on a lab manual for Brownfield Action and handbooks for the climate and senior seminar courses.

Selected Publications

The New Wiley-Interscience Encyclopedia of Environmental Pollution and Clean-Up, 2 volumes, editor (New York: Wiley-Interscience, 1999)

Misnomers, co-author (New York: Collier, 1986)

No Uncertain Terms, co-author (New York: Facts on File, 1984)

The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia, contributor (New York: Columbia University Press, 1983)

Science Reference Book Editorships:

The Random House Unabridged Dictionary (New York: Random House, 1996)

Dictionary of Theories (London, 1993)

McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, 20 volumes (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1992)

McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Science and Technology (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1989)

McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1989)

Funk and Wagnalls New Encyclopedia, 28 volumes (New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1983)

Academic American Encyclopedia, First edition, 21 volumes (Princeton, N. J.: Arete Publishing Co., 1980)

Academic Focus: 

Environmental advocacy
Curriculum design and development
Laboratory management


SCPP 3335x, Environmental Leadershipm Ethics, and Action
Student Final Panel: Awareness into Action 2:  Speaking Out on the Environment, December 7, 2011

EESC BC1001x, Introduction to Environmental Science Lab
Video Fall 2010

Awards & Honors: 
Professional Affiliations: 
Presentations / Recent Lectures: 



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