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Udall Foundation Congratulates Next Director of the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy

Posted: 12/1/2021 picture of Dr. Andrea Gerlak

The Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation (Udall Foundation) congratulates Dr. Andrea Gerlak, professor in the School of Geography, Development, and Environment at The University of Arizona, on her selection as Director of the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy (Udall Center). Andrea assumed the position of Director on November 1, 2021, after serving as Interim Director since May 2021.

Andrea brings a wealth of scientific, educational, policy, and administrative experience to her role as Director of the Udall Center. Her academic research focuses on institutions for governing water resources, where she examines cooperation and conflict including around questions of institutional change, adaptation to drivers such as climate change, and human rights and equity. She has published over 100 peer-reviewed and professional articles; co-edited two books; served as co-editor for the Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning; and led numerous interdisciplinary research projects with funding from the National Science Foundation, Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research, and Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice, among other sources.

In addition to her scholarly accomplishments, Andrea has built, administered, and taught in interdisciplinary environmental studies programs at three universities. She has supervised numerous postdoctoral, graduate, and undergraduate student research projects and served as the Director of Academic Development for the International Studies Association, where she developed programs to foster junior scholar engagement and program development in international studies. Andrea has also co-led The University of Arizona’s Carson Scholars Program, an interdisciplinary science communication program for graduate students.

“The Udall Foundation is delighted at Andrea’s selection as Director of the Udall Center,” said Udall Foundation Board of Trustees Chair Mr. Charles Rose. “Andrea will provide visionary leadership to the Udall Center that draws on her rich experience in environmental policy scholarship, education, and administration. I am particularly excited about the potential for increased program synergies between the Udall Center and Udall Foundation in the areas of environmental collaboration and conflict resolution and Tribal governance and development.”

Beginning with its establishment by the U.S. Congress in 1992, the Udall Foundation has had a statutory requirement, codified in its enabling legislation, to provide funding to the Udall Center to conduct policy research and outreach on the environment and related themes; support the work of the Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy (NNI), a program of the Udall Center, for research, education, and outreach on Native American and Alaska Native health care issues and Tribal public policy issues; and maintain the repository for the papers of Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall at The University of Arizona Libraries, Special Collections.

“I am honored to take on the role of Director of the Udall Center, and to follow in the legacies of public service set by Morris Udall and Stewart Udall,” said Andrea. “I look forward to growing the impact and profile of the Udall Center’s Environmental Policy Program and Native Nations Institute across The University of Arizona campus, regionally in the Southwest United States, and on a national level.”

Andrea holds Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in Political Science from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and a doctorate in Political Science from The University of Arizona.

For more information regarding the Udall Center’s work, please visit


The Morris K. Udall Foundation was established by the U.S. Congress in 1992 as an independent executive branch agency to honor Morris K. Udall's lasting impact on this Nation’s environment, public lands, and natural resources, and his support of the rights and self-governance of Native Americans and Alaska Natives. In 2009, Congress enacted legislation to also honor Stewart L. Udall for his half century of distinguished national leadership in environmental and Native American policy. The agency is known today as the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation (Udall Foundation) and is headquartered in Tucson, Arizona.

The Udall Foundation is authorized by Congress to:

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