John J. Gutrich, Ph.D., Hawai’i Pacific University Associate Professor of Environmental Science, has been awarded the University’s 2008 Trustees’ Award for Teaching Excellence. The announcement was made at HPU’s spring commencement ceremony on Tuesday, May 13, at the Waikīkī Shell. This annual award is given to a faculty member — nominated by students and chosen by a committee representing the entire HPU community — who best exemplifies the ideals of distinguished teaching.
Gutrich, who grew up in Chicago and now resides in Kailua, is an ecological and environmental economist whose research efforts include the valuation of non-market ecosystem goods and services, restoration wetland ecology and mitigation, the economics of invasive species, ecological risks of genetically engineered marine organisms, and efficient economic solutions to the environmental regulation of rivers.
Those who nominated Gutrich describe him as “interesting,” “inspirational,” “supportive,” “challenging,” “very knowledgeable,” and “passionate about sharing his knowledge.” His students say he is a mentor who instills within them confidence and inspires better environmental stewardship. Some of Gutrich’s former students have gone on to help Native Hawaiian ecosystems with the Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources, Kualoa Ranch, and the Audubon Society.
Joining HPU as an assistant professor in 2001, Gutrich’s colleagues praise him for his tireless service both to the University and to the local community. While teaching conservation biology, environmental science, environmental policy, ecological modeling, environmental economics, ecological economics and sustainable development, and natural resource management in the classroom fulltime for HPU, he has been working on three main research projects.
Gutrich is working to outline the value of carbon sequestration in forested ecosystems of the northeastern United States and establish ecological substitutability of constructed inland freshwater marshes for natural sites and the estimation of least-cost economic approaches for mitigation of wetlands. He recently completed an evaluation with a multi-disciplinary team of scientists on the potential ecological and economic impacts of the spread of the red imported fire ant in Hawai’i.
Prior to joining HPU, Gutrich held various teaching and research positions at the East-West Center, Ohio State University, Dartmouth College, Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, and Maryland Biotechnology Institute. He also worked as an environmental economic consultant for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. In 2004, the Hawai’i State Senate honored Gutrich as an “outstanding professor.”
Gutrich earned Bachelor of Science degrees in Accounting and Ecology, Evolution, and Population Biology from Purdue University. After studying in the Master of Science degree program in Sustainable Development and Conservation Biology at the University of Maryland, he transferred to Ohio State University where he earned a doctorate degree in Environmental Science.
Hawai’i Paciﬁc University is the state’s largest private university with more than 8,000 students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries.