Grace Wang

Professor and Department Chair


I grew up in the Seattle area, only to move away for college and graduate school. The great Wallace Stegner once wrote that “some people are born in their place, some find it, some realize after long searching that the place they left is the one they have been searching for.”  So I’m back in the Northwest, and enjoying the abundant natural resources and recreational opportunities. My childhood included lots of camping and fishing with my family. Partly because of that, both my personal and professional lives have revolved around conserving natural resources. In my spare time you'll find me hiking, running, and enjoying other outdoor pursuits. When I'm not outside, I'm pursuing other cerebral interests such as reading.  (Favorite non-fiction book of the last five years: The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan.)

Research Interests

My research activities throughout my professional career fall into three interrelated themes of research and involvement. These are the human dimensions of natural resource management, community-based resource management, and cultural resources management. In my human dimensions research, I've focused on stakeholder issues and attitude identification. Using different social science approaches -focus groups, key informant interviews, sample surveys and questionnaires - I have coordinated research which has implications for the management of natural resources.  I’ve been involved in research with colleagues about traditional ecological knowledge and the implications for management of public lands. 

My teaching includes courses in environmental policy, sustainability, and natural resources.  WWU is implementing new curriculum in Sustainability Studies, and I have taken a lead in shaping that.