My graduate education in Sociology and my experiences at U. C. Berkeley were profound influences on my life and work. Having grown up in the dense, congested, and largely humanly-constructed environment of New York City, the sheer beauty, color, and quality of life in Berkeley intrigued me from my first moments there. It did not take long for a group in the class of 1971 to begin meeting regularly; we grappled, of course, with the big questions of sociology and life. And many of us from that group, started over thirty years ago, are still friends in frequent contact today. The thought-provoking, critically-incisive, and substantively rich environment in which we posed questions, did our research, and worried about the world, are formative still.
Questions that emerged for me at Berkeley are still central concerns: the nature of community in America, how to understand our common interests, the role of discussion, participation, and deliberation in discovering our values, and how democratically-derived ethics can be translated into policy commitments. This culminated for me in a forthcoming book, Community, Democracy, and the Environment: Learning to Share the Future (Rowman & Littlefield, 2003.) I have spent almost all of my professional life at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. SPEA is a multi-disciplinary school located on six campuses of Indiana University. From here I have been fortunate enough to be involved in local, regional, and national issues related to the concerns I developed in graduate school, which still motivate me today.