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Headshot of Megan Mullin.

Megan Mullin

Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring

Associate Professor of Environmental Politics, Political Science & Public Policy


Megan Mullin has been an associate professor of environmental politics at the Nicholas School of the Environmental since 2014, with secondary appointments in the Department of Political Science and Sanford School of Public Policy. She has been the Ph.D. supervisor to 4 students and served on the dissertation committee for 11 students. She has also taught undergraduate and graduate courses on topics ranging from American federalism to U.S. water governance. Additionally, she serves as the director of graduate studies for the University Program in Environmental Policy and on several committees in service to Duke University, such as the Strategic planning Committee for Diversity and Inclusion and the Women and Gender Equity Faculty Advisory Committee.

Her nominations credit her for providing her students with enthusiastic support to develop their own ideas and pursue their fullest potential. Additionally, Mullin’s students noted her willingness to extend herself and her network to help her students reach their personal and professional goals.

Mullin’s current research focuses on the governance and finance of urban water services, public opinion about climate change, and the local politics of climate adaptation. She is a scholar of American political institutions and behavior, with emphasis on environmental policy. She has contributed her work to research journals, public media, and guidance documents for policy makers. Her work has often appeared in prominent journals such as Nature, American Journal of Political Science, and Journal of Politics. Mullin’s book – Governing the tap: Special district governance and the new local politics of water (2009) – received the 2010 Lynton Keith Caldwell Prize for the best book published on environmental politics and policy.


“I really believe that I have a lot to learn from students, so I am very curious about what they have to say. What they have to say can improve my work, improve my life, and improve the academic community.”


Excerpts from Mullin's Nomination

“Megan also has the uncanny ability to know what you’re capable of doing before you actually realize it yourself. She had the foresight to push me to enter the job market during my final year of graduate school, despite my natural inclination to focus solely on finishing my dissertation and starting my family.”

“Megan devotes energy to recruit and retain underrepresented students and faculty. She is quick to recognize talent and steadfastly dedicated to nurturing it, especially in students or faculty who are female, of color, LGBTQ, and first-generation degree-holders.”

“She is readily willing to admit her faults and the limits of her knowledge. If students aim to develop skills outside of Megan’s wheelhouse, she connects mentees with colleagues to support their professional development.”

“Megan cares about her students’ wellbeing and has a reputation for supporting students through both academic and personal challenges. Her perceptiveness creates opportunities for timely intervention.”

“Megan is a scholar we seek to emulate; she demonstrates how high standards and hard work are necessary to succeed. While her external recognitions are impressive and well-deserved, Megan’s day-to-day interactions with students also distinguish her as an exceptional academic. Her commitment to student-defined success is coupled with an uncanny ability to push students to achieve what they are capable of. Megan’s attention improves every idea.”