Dr. Brooke Hansen - Director of Sustainable Tourism

Dr. Brooke Hansen is a sustainability focused anthropologist with specialties in tourism, food, farming, indigenous studies, transcultural health care, service learning, and gender and women's studies. Her work for the last fifteen years has focused on sustainable tourism in Hawai’i and Florida. The Sustainable Tourism program focuses on training students for careers in sustainable tourism, ecotourism, consulting, and sustainable tourism certifications. The program was designated in 2019 as an Academic Affiliate of the Center for Responsible Tourism (CREST) headquartered in Washington, D.C., where PCGS interns have been placed.

In Florida, Dr. Hansen is engaged with research on sustainable tourism, climate change impacts on tourism, virtualization technologies in cultural heritage tourism, food sovereignty, and community- based agriculture. She is a member of Sustainable Florida, the Tampa Bay Network to End Hunger, the USF Urban Food Sovereignty Group and is on the Hillsborough County Farm Bureau Women's Leadership Committee. She is also a member of Sustainable Florida, the Sustany Foundation, Tampa Bay Women in Tourism, and the Florida Agritourism Association. She has been a featured speaker at numerous conferences and events, including the 2019 World of Taste and Travel Exhibition where she promoted the sustainable tourism paradigm and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Dr. Hansen participated in the first annual Synergy Summit for Cultural and Heritage Tourism in Ft. Lauderdale (2018) sponsored by CHAT (Cultural Heritage Alliance for Tourism) and she was a featured speaker at the second Synergy Summit in 2019. She collaborates with Ocean Allies to promote Ocean Friendly Certifications in Florida and led the charge to get Patel College of Global Sustainability certified as the first Ocean Friendly college at USF.

Before coming to Florida, Dr. Hansen worked inHawai`i for over fifteen years where she developed and taught sustainability themed service learning courses onO'ahu andHawai'i Island. The winter field classes taught through Ithaca College, where she served as Associate Professor and Chair of the Anthropology Department, focused on the connections between cultural revitalization, island food security, heritage interpretation, and the economic engine and environmental impact of tourism. Working with cultural practitioners, Dr. Hansen and her students planted endangered palms, weeded traditional taro patches inWaipi'o Valley, learnedoli (chants) to enter cultural landscapes, and assisted with revitalization projects ofkānaka maoli (Native Hawaiian) agricultural systems. As an affiliate associate professor at the University ofHawai'I from 2014-2017, Dr. Hansen conducted research and taught classes on cultural, culinary, and agricultural tourism inHawai'i. She served on the Sustainability Committee at the University ofHawai'i atHilo as the curriculum coordinator and she was the faculty director of the campus food waste composting program led by Students of Sustainability. In the community, she was an Aloha Ambassador for DestinationHilo and served as a member of the planning committee for the first internationalHawai'i Agritourism Association (HATA) Symposium in 2016.
Research Projects
  • Egmont Key Project: Virtualization Technologies for Heritage at Risk and Sustainable Tourism in Tampa Bay

Seminole Tribe, USF Sustainable Tourism and 3D Access Lab preserve history at Egmont Key

USF Sustainable Tourism team reframes visitor experience to help save Egmont Key

  • Egmont Key Project
    Dr. Hansen co-directs the Egmont Key Project in collaboration with Dr. Laura Harrison (Director, Access 3D Lab, College of Arts and Science, USF), the Egmont Key Alliance and other community partners. The goal of the project is to utilize digital humanities and virtualization technologies to assess sustainability, model climate change and anthropogenic activities, and raise awareness of heritage at risk at this remote tourist site in Tampa Bay. The project aligns with United Nations Sustainable Development Goal # 11, Sustainable Communities, particularly target 11.4 which aims to strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage. In 2019, the project received a grant for an interactive touch screen table from the Florida Humanities Council. In April 2020, Drs. Hansen and Harrison received a USF Creative Scholarship Grant to develop a virtual reality experience of the many histories of Egmont Key, including the internment camps where Seminoles were held in the 1850s. Their co-taught Maymester 2020 class, Applied Heritage and Sustainability Research, worked on sustainable tourism development, funding, heritage monitoring, and the use of geoinformatics in preserving and educating about heritage at risk.

  • Tarpon Springs: Turn the Tide for Tarpon
    Tarpon Springs
    Dr. Hansen has been working with the citizens’ group Turn the Tide for Tarpon since 2018 to facilitate sustainability solutions in the city, especially related to increased flooding in the main tourism area of the Greek Sponge Docks. She assisted in developing an ordinance to establish a citizens’ sustainability advisory committee for the City of Tarpon Springs and she helps to place interns working on tourism, climate change, business, and storm water management in Tarpon Springs. The Greek Sponge Docks are surrounded by Greektown, one of the largest group of Greeks living as a community in the US. This unique cultural and heritage area has been designated as the nation’s first non-indigenous Traditional Cultural Property listed by the National Register. Continued research includes designing better flood monitoring with citizen science, promoting sustainability education, and implementing sustainability certifications with tourism businesses.

  • IDS 6237 - Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Management (3)
    • Ecotourism is a relatively new branch of global tourism defined as “Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.” Since this 1990 definition by the International Ecotourism Society, the concept has been used in a variety of ways to market travel to natural sites, promote conservation, fuel sustainable development, and spawn a plethora of certification programs and ecolabels. In this course we will critically evaluate ecotourism and assess the role it has played in conservation, economic development, stakeholder empowerment, and sustainable tourism. Key organizations, leading scholars, global case studies, and approaches to developing ecotourism operations will be explored.

    • *This course is available on-campus and online.
  • IDS 6236 - Sustainable Tourism Development: Principles & Practices (3)
    • This course focuses on environmentally and socially responsible tourism strategies and innovations, including initiatives such as the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. Using interdisciplinary lenses, this course explores the global, national, regional, and local fields of sustainable tourism with a focus on policies, stakeholders, best and worst practices, research methods, certifications, grant funding, careers, and more. The triple bottom line will be the primary perspective used to evaluate tourism and its impact on culture, environment, and economy. The food-energy-water nexus will also be examined at multiple sites in the tourism industry, from hotels and restaurants to local tours and shared economy platforms.
    • *This course is available on-campus and online.

  • IDS 6216 - United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (3)
    • This course provides an understanding of the challenges and pathways to sustainable development through the lens of the SDGs – a widely recognized, holistic and universal framework for achieving sustainability. We will explore the complex interconnections between the SDGs using interdisciplinary lenses and theories from medical anthropology, climate science, gender studies, political science, public health, urban planning, critical race studies, environmental studies, political ecology and more. Class projects include assessing SDG integration and reporting at USF, including the Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings, and applied research for the USF SDG Action Alliance housed at the Patel College of Global Sustainability.
    • *This course is available on-campus and online.

  • IDS 6938 Applied Heritage and Sustainability Research (3)
    • This course explores the latest virtualization technologies being used to assess sustainability and heritage-at-risk at locations around the world, with a focus on visualizing and digitally preserving Egmont Key's endangered heritage in Tampa Bay. Student learning objectives include understanding the fields of cultural heritage management, digital archaeology and participatory research and how these can be applied to both tangible and intangible heritage at risk at Egmont Key, especially related to Seminole perspectives about their internment on the island in the 1850s during Indian Removal. The fundamentals of tracking changes to at-risk archaeological sites will be covered with the Florida Public Archaeology Networks' Heritage Monitoring Scouts program. The integration of UN Sustainable Development Goals 11.4 (cultural and natural heritage) and 8.9 (sustainable tourism) will be explored. Professional development opportunities including certifications, workshops, and internships for building careers in heritage conservation and sustainability research will be covered.
    • *This course is offered during Maymester on-campus and online with a field/lab component.
Research Interests
  • Sustainable cultural and heritage tourism
  • Tourism and resiliency in the face of climate change and pandemics
  • Food sovereignty and community food systems
  • Sustainability reporting in higher education
  • Implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals