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Rebecca Purdom

Photo of Rebecca Purdom.
Assistant Dean of Environmental Programs, Director of Distance Learning, and Associate Professor of Law

JD, Vermont Law School, 1996;
MSEL, Vermont Law School, 1996;
BS, Linfield College, 1992

Phone: 802-831-1000


Professor Rebecca Purdom is known for her work in water and natural resource management, environmental human rights, nonprofit management and policy, and sustainability education. She currently serves as the assistant dean of the Environmental Law Program at Vermont Law School, where she chairs the Distance Learning Program, works with the Center on Agriculture and Food Systems, and teaches in the environmental program. Professor Purdom chairs the Working Group for Distance Learning in Legal Education, a national group of law school faculty and practitioners focused on promoting reform in legal education.

She received her BS degree in science journalism from Linfield College in 1992 and her JD and MSEL degrees from Vermont Law School in 1996, where she also served as managing editor of the Vermont Law Review.

From 1996 to 1998, she served as a clerk to the Hon. Judge J. Garvin Murtha of the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont, and in the chambers of Judge James L. Oakes, Second Circuit Court of Appeals. In 1998, she went into private practice and over the next decade worked in land use, environmental permitting, as the director of a 3000-acre conservation organization, and as a consulting attorney for nonprofit organizations and environmental litigators. In 2001, she joined the faculty of Green Mountain College, where she chaired the Division of Environmental Studies and Management. She was instrumental in designing the college′s environmental liberal arts curriculum, which received the American Association of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Campus Sustainability Leadership Award, and was recognized by Sierra Magazine and the top Green College in 2010 when the college became the first college in the country to go climate neutral without use of carbon-offsets. In 2004, she was the recipient of the United Methodist Church General Board of Higher Education and Ministry Award for Exemplary Teaching. From 2006 to 2010 Professor Purdom taught in the Vermont Law School Summer Session, and designed and launched Vermont Law School's Certificate in U.S. Environmental Law.

In addition to her work in undergraduate sustainability curriculum design, Professor Purdom helped launch two master's programs—a master of science in environmental studies and a sustainable master of business administration. In 2008, she served as a visiting professor of environmental law and business at Universidade Metodista de Piracicaba in Piracicaba, Brazil. where she continues her affiliation through research on water allocation and environmental human rights. She is a member of the Vermont Bar Association.