Dr. Steven Alan Cohen

Director, M.S. in Sustainability Management, Columbia Climate School

Director, M.P.A. in Environmental Science and Policy

Director, Research Program on Sustainability Policy and Management (SPM)

Senior Vice Dean,
Columbia University, School of Professional Studies

Professor in the Practice of Public Affairs
Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs

Affiliation: Undergraduate Program in Sustainable Development

1408 International Affairs Building
Mail Code: 3328
420 West 118th Street
New York, NY 10027


Dr. Steven Cohen is the Senior Vice Dean of Columbia’s School of Professional Studies (SPS) and a Professor in the Practice of Public Affairs at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). He is also Director of the Master of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy program at SIPA, Director of the Masters of Science in Sustainability Management program at SPS, and the Director of the Earth Institute’s Research Program on Sustainability Policy and Management at Columbia University.

He is a graduate of James Madison High School in Brooklyn (1970), Franklin College of Indiana (1974) and the State University of New York at Buffalo (M.A., 1977; Ph.D., 1979). In 1976-77, Cohen was a Ford Foundation Fellow in Urban Environmental Policy; in 1978-79, he was a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow in Public and Environmental Policy and Implementation.

Dr. Cohen was the Executive Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University from 2006 to 2018. He is a former policy analyst and consultant to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Dr. Cohen has served on numerous boards and committees, including the Board of the Pew Faculty Fellowship in International Affairs, the Executive Committee and Committee on Accreditation and Peer Review of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Advisory Council on Environmental Policy and Technology. He is a former member of the Advisory Board of the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment and the former Chair of the Lotos Club Science and Technology Committee. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Homes for the Homeless, the Board of Directors of the Willdan Group, Inc., the Admissions Committee of the Lotos Club, and the Steering Committee for the Porter School of Environmental Studies at Tel Aviv University. Dr. Cohen also sits on the Judging Committee for the Yidan Prize Foundation.

Dr. Cohen is the co-author of The Sustainable City (2017, 2020), Sustainability Policy: Hastening the Transition to a Cleaner Economy (2015), The Responsible Contract Manager (2008), The Effective Public Manager 3rd and 4th editions (2002, 2008), Strategic Planning in Environmental Regulation (2005), Tools for Innovators: Creative Strategies for Managing Public Sector Organizations (1998), The New Effective Public Manager (1995), and Total Quality Management in Government (1993), and the author of Environmentally Sustainable Growth: A Pragmatic Approach (2023), Management Fundamentals (2020), Understanding Environmental Policy (2nd Edition) (2006, 2014), Sustainability Management (2011), The Effective Public Manager (1988), and numerous articles on public management innovation, public ethics, sustainability management, politics and environmental management. Dr. Cohen also was a weekly contributor to The Huffington Post from 2009 to 2018. He writes a weekly piece for Columbia Climate School’s State of the Planet.


May 13, 2024

The Impact of Stalling the SEC Climate Disclosure Rule

Opposition to mandatory climate risk reporting is the result of the failure of some American businesses and lobbying groups to understand that reducing and reporting on environmental risk is an indication of management competence having nothing to do with ideology.

May 06, 2024

Questioning Mayor Adams’ Commitment to Protecting NYC’s Environment

Mayor Adams is a superb advocate for environmental quality and environmental justice, but the city government he runs doesn’t always seem to follow through: New York City’s water infrastructure, decarbonization, and parks need additional staffing and funding if the promises made are to be fulfilled.