Jenny Kehl

“An Interdisciplinary Approach to Problem-Solving”


Jenny Kehl has been named the Uihlein Endowed Chair at the WATER Institute and School of Freshwater Sciences, and the Director of the Center for Water Policy at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  Prior to joining the School of Freshwater Sciences as the founding director, Dr. Kehl was an associate professor in the Department of Political Science and the Graduate Department of Public Policy at Rutgers University.

Professor Kehl’s areas of specialization are Comparative Development and International Political Economy.  Her research focuses on conflict in transboundary rivers and water systems, and government negotiations with foreign investors in water and natural resource extraction.  Dr. Kehl’s most recent publications analyze global water-use efficiency, water and food security, transboundary water-sharing policies, and corruption and policy capture in the water sector.  Dr. Kehl has worked in Africa and Asia on resolution of water resource allocation issues, with a focus on water scarcity and transboundary dispute resolution.  “Dr. Kehl’s expertise in formulating strategies for cooperation in resource disputes will be invaluable in assisting with water resource allocation issues,” says the Dean of the School of Freshwater Sciences, David Garman.  She has published research in International Negotiation, International Studies Review, Science in Society, African Finance Journal, and other national and international journals, and has forthcoming research from recent fieldwork in Africa and Asia.


The thesis is that the most urgent and pressing problems that challenge the sustainability of our environment need an interdisciplinary approach to problem-solving. Political structures, our economy, infrastructure, and culture each affect how we view problems like invasive-species. Our leaders need the kid of interdisciplinary approach we model in a liberal arts college. When it works well, we have advances like the Great Lakes Compact that help preserve our resources. When it works badly, we get environmental disasters like the Aral Sea.