Our Vision

The mission of the Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communities is to promote an integrated approach to sustainability through education, public visioning, partnership, research, demonstration, and coordination. Sustainable design is the promotion of human systems in balance with the natural environment. The Institute was established to promote an integrated approach to issues of sustainability and to facilitate this process. In our educational programs and pilot projects, the Institute provides an opportunity to explore the broad concept of ‘sustainable development’ and look further at specific applications on a project-by-project basis. Each project is different in order to cover a range of issues.

W. Cecil Steward, Our Founder

The Joslyn Institute was founded in 1996 by W. Cecil Steward, an extraordinary individual whose visionary understanding of Earth, its resources, its inhabitants, and the interrelated, interconnected, interdependent nature of it all informed every aspect of the work we do. Cecil’s work and ideas had global influence, and new generations are being exposed to his concepts of sustainability, equity, and quality of life for future generations. Cecil was one of those rare people who, upon waking each day, focused on what must be done to make life on this planet better for all. We mourn the loss of Cecil in November 2021. But his legacy lives on in the Joslyn Institute and our determination to do the work Cecil envisioned for us. You can read more about his singular life and accomplishments: CLICK HERE

Staff & Board of Directors




Board of Directors

Sharon Kuska, Ph.D., P.E., LEED A.P., Vice-President
University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Lincoln, Nebraska

Jay Leighter, Ph. D., Vice-President
Creighton University
Omaha, Nebraska

Donna Woudenberg, Ph.D., Secretary
Environment, Drought, and Food Systems Expert
Lincoln, Nebraska

Mary Ferdig, Ph.D.
Sustainability Leadership Institute
Omaha, Nebraska

Joe Francis
Nebraska Department of Environment & Energy, Retired
Lincoln, Nebraska

David Ochsner
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, Texas

Nicholas You
Citistates, UN-Habitat, and Guangzhou Institute
Italy, Kenya, and China