A wildfire expert, Steelman became the Stanback Dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment on July 1, 2018.
She returned to Duke after serving as the first permanent executive director at the University of Saskatchewan’s School of Environment and Sustainability from 2012 to 2017.
A Duke alumna, Steelman earned her PhD in environmental and resource policy from the Nicholas School in 1996. She also holds a Master in Public Affairs from Princeton University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Studies from West Virginia University.Her policy research spans many environmental and resource management issues, including forest management and planning, water security, open space protection, and climate change, but she is best known for her work on community adaptation to wildfires and how communities and agencies can interact for more effective wildfire management. A prolific researcher, she has published four well-known books and 59 peer-reviewed papers or book chapters—including widely cited studies in Sustainability Science, Conservation Biology, Policy Sciences, and the Journal of Forestry.