Dr. Carla Norris-Raynbird to deliver April 12 Honors Council Lecture

BEMIDJI, Minn. (April 10, 2012) — Severe and repetitive storms in America’s Gulf Coast region have brought into critical focus the need to build knowledge and to build local capacity to manage coastline challenges.

Dr. Carla Norris-Raynbird, assistant professor of sociology at Bemidji State University, will discuss the effectiveness of Louisiana’s Local Coastal Program and how it has impacted the perceived vulnerability of the Gulf Coast at an Honors Council Lecture Series presentation entitled “Putting a Number on Vulnerability.” Her lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 12, in Hagg-Sauer Hall room 112 on the Bemidji State campus.

Raynbird’s lecture will present qualitative findings from a recent study entitled, “CZM: Capacity Pre- and Post-Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike: A Comparison Study.” The study was designed as a natural experiment and was a followup to a pre-Hurricane Katrina study on the effectiveness of Louisiana’s Local Coastal Program in building the capacity of local decision-makers to manage the local coastal zone. In both studies, “capacity” is defined as an agreement with regulator ideology that lends support to Louisiana Department of Natural Resources policies and regulations. The lecture will compare the perceived vulnerability of the area in 2005 to the same perception in 2011.

Norris-Raynbird is an assistant professor of sociology in Bemidji State’s Center for Environmental, Earth and Space Studies, Economics and Sociology. She chaired Bemidji State’s Student Scholarship and Creative Achievement Conference for the past two years, is active on the university’s Honors Council and serves on the committee overseeing the renovation and “greening” of the university’s Laurel House. She represents BSU in work with the Rural Sociological Society Diversity Committee and is president of the Sociologists of Minnesota.

Her research interests and publications focus on building human and organizational capacities in the social management of natural resources, the coastal zone and disasters.

Norris-Raynbird earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Winnipeg and holds master’s and doctorate degrees from Texas A&M University. Prior to joining the Bemidji State faculty, she worked for three years as a research scientist on an Environmental Protection Agency-funded climate change project at the University of Louisiana.

The Honors Council Lecture Series is hosted by the Bemidji State University Honors Council. The council is the advisory group to the Honors Program comprised of 12 faculty members from all three of the University’s colleges. Student representatives also are elected to the council by their cohorts for one-year terms.

For more information about the Honors Council Lecture Series, please contact the honors program at (218) 755-3984.