Dr. W.J. “Rocky” Rohwedder is an Emeritus Professor and former Chair of the Department of Geography, Environment and Planning at Sonoma State University where he taught courses in sustainable community development, energy policy and design, and educational leadership. At Sonoma, Rocky received the Outstanding Teacher Award and led the construction of one of the very first green university buildings, known as the Environmental Technology Center. He has a baccalaureate degree in Social Ecology (University of California, Irvine), a Master of Science in Resource Policy and Management (University of Michigan), and a Ph.D. in Environmental Planning (University of California, Berkeley).
Outside of academia, Rocky has served as a consultant to a wide range of international projects and innovative non-profits. He was the lead trainer for the first group of Peace Corps volunteers to serve in the former Soviet Union (Baltic nations), a facilitator in the Middle East Peace Process (Amman, Jordan), a Visiting Scholar at the George Lucas Educational Foundation, and a Scholar in Residence at Lincoln University (Christchurch, New Zealand). He currently serves on the Editorial Review Board of the International Journal of Applied Environmental Education and Communication as well as the Advisory Board of the Lexicon of Sustainability.
Rocky recently published an interactive eBook entitled “Ecological Handprints: Breakthrough Innovations in the Developing World.” His book and related TEDx talk highlight success stories from around the world where entrepreneurs and local communities are meeting basic human needs in ways that are both ecological and affordable. The book also highlights his work in village-level projects, from the Tibetan Highlands to Lombok, Indonesia.
Rocky will be joined by his wife Shawn and 13-year-old son Ryder, who have been with him on all seven of their previous voyages with Semester at Sea. The family enjoys an active outdoor lifestyle of kayaking, mountaineering, scuba diving, and surfing. They have been living in Costa Rica for the past four years where Ryder attends an international school while parents chase Pura Vida