E. Christian Wells, Ph.D.

Department of Anthropology

University of South Florida

4202 East Fowler Avenue, SOC 107

Tampa, FL 33620-8100 USA

ecwells@usf.edu, 813/974.2337





I am Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Center for Brownfields Research & Redevelopment at the University of South Florida, where I have served previously as the Founding Director of the Office of Sustainability and as Deputy Director of the Patel School of Global Sustainability. I currently serve as Advisor to the Board of Directors of the Florida Brownfields Association and as a member of the Editorial Board for American Anthropologist.


I am an environmental anthropologist with an interdisciplinary background in the social and natural sciences. I maintain a diverse portfolio of research projects aimed at improving human and environmental health outcomes of re/development efforts in marginalized communities. My current research examines WaSH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) infrastructure transitions in underserved communities and emphasizes environmental justice, chemical toxicants in the environment, brownfields communities, sustainable and equitable development, landscape legacies, anthrosol formation, water/wastewater management, and science-policy interactions.


Over the past 20 years, I have undertaken social and environmental science research throughout the United States, Central America, and the Caribbean with over $7 million in funding from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and other organizations. My research has been featured by various media outlets including The New York Times and New Scientist, among others. I have written or edited 10 books and journal issues as well as more than 100 scientific articles and essays.


I am a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. I recently received the 2019 Outstanding Faculty Award, the 2018 Faculty Outstanding Research Achievement Award, the 2018 Outstanding Community-Engaged Teaching Award, and the 2017 Global Achievement Award for Outstanding Global Student Success from the University of South Florida. I am also the recipient of the USF Jerome Krivanek Distinguished Teacher Award, the USF Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award, the USF Status of Latinos Faculty Award, and the Black Bear Award from the Sierra Club of Tampa Bay “in recognition of outstanding dedication to sustainability and the environment.”



Recent Articles:


Lehigh, G. R., E. C. Wells, and D. Diaz. 2020. Evidence-informed Strategies for Promoting Equitability in Brownfields Redevelopment. Journal of Environmental Management 261(1):110150. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301479720300876


Wells, E. C., W. A. Webb, C. M. Prouty, R. K. Zarger, M. A. Trotz, L. M. Whiteford, and J. R. Mihelcic. 2019. Wastewater Technopolitics on the Southern Coast of Belize. Economic Anthropology 6(2):277-290. https://anthrosource.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/sea2.12145


Prouty, C., E. S. Koenig, E. C. Wells, R. K. Zarger, and Q. Zhang. 2017. Rapid Assessment Framework for Modeling Stakeholder Involvement in Infrastructure Development. Sustainable Cities and Society 29:130-138. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scs.2016.12.009


Mihelcic, J. R., C. C. Naughton, M. E. Verbyla, Q. Zhang, R. W. Schweitzer, S. M. Oakley, E. C. Wells, and L. M. Whiteford. 2017. The Grandest Challenge of All: The Role of Environmental Engineering to Achieve Sustainability in the World’s Developing Regions. Environmental Engineering Science 34(1):16-41. http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/ees.2015.0334


Wells, E. C., R. K. Zarger, L. M. Whiteford, J. R. Mihelcic, E. S. Koenig, and M. R. Cairns. 2016. The Impacts of Tourism Development on Perceptions and Practices of Sustainable Wastewater Management on the Placencia Peninsula, Belize. Journal of Cleaner Production 111:430-441. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959652614008737



Recent Grants:


Jones, D., and E. C. Wells. 2020-2022. “Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Program for East Tampa.” Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) Program, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; $200,000. https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/applicants-selected-fy20-environmental-workforce-development-and-job-training-grants


Wells, E. C., and S. Combs. 2017-2019. “Brownfields Area-Wide Planning Project for the University Area Community, Hillsborough County, Florida.” Brownfields Area-Wide Planning Grant Program (BAWPG), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; $200,000. https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/national-brownfields-area-wide-planning-grant-selected-proposal-descriptions


Zhang, Q., E. C. Wells, S. Mohebbi, X. Ou, and Q. Lu. 2016-2020. “Integrative Decision Making Framework to Enhance the Resiliency of Interdependent Critical Infrastructures.” Critical Resilient Interdependent Infrastructure Systems and Processes (CRIISP), National Science Foundation; $1,963,542. http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1638301


Mihelcic, J. R., E. C. Wells, M. Trotz, and C. McKayle. 2013-2019. “Context Sensitive Implementation of Synergistic Water-Energy Systems.” Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE), National Science Foundation; $3,920,644. http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1243510