Vanessa Levesque

Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of Southern Maine
Affiliate, New England Environmental Finance Center.

Research Interests:

  • Rural resilience
  • Municipal climate adaptation
  • Environmental planning and policy


  • PhD Ecology & Environmental Sciences, University of Maine
  • MS Natural Resources Planning, University of Vermont
  • BA Environmental & Evolutionary Biology, Dartmouth College


Vanessa is a social scientist interested in rural community decision-making around environmental, social and economic issues. Smaller and more rural communities make up a large portion of the U.S., but are understudied by those interested in building community resilience. This focus on inclusive, interdisciplinary and democratic ideals is mirrored in her teaching. Vanessa strives to give students a voice as they learn how they can make substantive and lasting contributions in their own communities.

Selected Publications:

  • Levesque, V.R., Johnson, E.S., Bell, K.P. 2021. Municipal Capacity to Respond to COVID-19: Implications for Improving Community Resilience in Maine. Maine Policy Review 30.2: 62 -71.
  • Levesque, V.R., Wake, C., Peterson, J.M. 2021. Facilitating use of climate information for adaptation actions in small coastal communities. Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene. 9(1).
  • Levesque, V.R., Wake, C. 2021. Organizational change for sustainability education: A case study of one university’s efforts to create and implement institution-wide sustainability competencies. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education. 22(3):497-515.
  • Leal Filho, W., Levesque, V.R., Salvia, A.L., Paco, A., Fritzen, B. Frankenberger, F. et al. 2021. University teaching staff and sustainable development: an assessment of competences. Sustainability Science. 16: 101-116.
  • Leal Filho, W., Azul, A.M., Wall, T., Vasconcelos, C.R.P., Salvai, A.L., Paco, A., Shulla, K., Levesque, V.R., et al. 2021. COVID-19: the impact of a global crisis on sustainable development research. Sustainability Science. 16: 85-99.
  • Wake, C., Peterson, J., Lewis, C.J., Levesque, V.R., Kaye, D. 2020. Undercurrents: Exploring the human dynamics of adaptation to sea-level rise. Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene. 8(1).
  • Levesque, V.R., Blackstone, N.T. 2020. Exploring undergraduate attainment of sustainability competencies. Sustainability: The Journal of Record. Feb: 32-38.