Joseph Dorsey

Joseph Dorsey, PhD

Title: Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
CV:  View CV
Phone: (813) 974-5883
Email: dorseyjw@usf.edu

Dr. Joseph W. Dorsey is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Director of the Food Sustainability and Security concentration and Director of the Academic Capstone Experience (ACE) in the Patel College of Global Sustainability (PCGS) at the University of South Florida (USF), Tampa, and a LEED Green Associate (2014-2016).
Dr. Dorsey holds a B.S. in Human Ecology from Howard University in Washington, D.C., with a major in human nutrition and food. In addition, he conducted graduate research in International Development at Howard University. His Master's thesis was entitled, "Transferability of Hydroponic Technology to Arid and Semi-arid Regions."

Dr. Dorsey earned his Ph.D. in Natural Resources and Environment from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, specializing in environmental policy and behavior. His doctoral dissertation was entitled, "Community-Based Activism Within an Environmental Justice Frame: The Siting of a Waste-to-Energy Facility in Flint-Genesee County." Dr. Dorsey is an experienced educator in the interdisciplinary fields of environmental justice, urban ecology, and sustainability science. He has held faculty positions at Michigan State University, Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and the University of South Florida – St. Petersburg.

Dr. Dorsey has worked extensively with community groups on social and environmental issues in Detroit and Flint, Michigan, Cincinnati, Ohio, and St. Petersburg, Florida. Prior to his doctoral career, Joseph was a Peace Corps Volunteer Nutritionist in West Africa, a Public Health Nutritionist with the WIC Program in the U.S. Virgin Islands in the Caribbean, and a Clinical Nutritionist in Washington, D.C. in the United States.

In the Patel College of Global Sustainability, Dr. Dorsey teaches the MA/MS program's core courses, Concepts and Principles of Sustainability and Research Methods for Sustainability and the food concentration courses, The Future of Food: Environment, Health and PolicySustainable Food Production, and Bio-resources for a Sustainable Future. In addition, Dr. Dorsey has taught other courses at USF as an adjunct professor such as the undergraduate IDH 3350 – Honors Natural Science: The Global Challenge of Sustainable Urban Development (2014-2017) and the graduate level GEO 6116 – Perspectives on Environmental Thought (2019). His research interests include brownfield redevelopment; urban agriculture in developed and developing nations; corporate social responsibility and sustainability management; residential lawn, yard and xeriscaping practices; and community economic empowerment initiatives such as neighborhood gardens, vertical farms, and hydroponic growing operations. Dr. Dorsey was the keynote speaker at the 2018 Growing Community Gardens - Tampa Bay Conference sponsored by the Coalition of Community Gardens - Tampa Bay and keynote speaker at the 2021 It Takes Us Social Justice Series sponsored by Pasco-Hernando State College, Florida.


    • IDS 6233 – Concepts and Principles of Sustainability (3)
      • This course discusses basic concepts and principles of sustainable development, systems integration, and different sustainability perspectives such as local/global and historical/future. Best practices are analyzed through case studies and a research project.

    • IDS 6271 – Future of Food: Environment, Health and Policy (3)
      • This interdisciplinary course will introduce students to food as an operational component of the environment, human health, and public policy throughout the world. The course will discuss historical perspectives, current issues, and future outlooks of food sustainability as well as address the global challenges to food security. The course will take into consideration the role of food in sustainable development and discuss the potential impacts of climate change as an environmental stress food supply and social and political conditions as well. Lastly, the course will look at possible trajectories of food design, availability, access, and sustainability into the future.
      • This course is available on-campus and online.
      • Course number may differ from the USF Class Schedule Search.

    • IDS 6270 - Sustainable Food Production (3)
      • Overview of global food production systems including both traditional and sustainable agriculture, animal husbandry, and aquatic farming practices, their impact on ecosystems and the environment, and solutions for feeding a rapidly growing population.
      • This course is available on-campus and online.
      • Course number may differ from the USF Class Schedule Search.

    • IDS 6210 – Bio-resources for a Sustainable Future (3)
      • In this course, agricultural and biological resources (bioresources) will be explored as an essential means of supporting a sustainable future for the planet. Efficient and sustainable methods for producing food, fiber, bio-based products, and renewable energy will be presented along with their environmental impact and supply chain considerations. Emphasis will be placed on the prospects of plant biomass and algae to serve as renewable raw materials for a sustainable economy. The course will cover topics of global challenges in energy, water, and food security, and the interconnections among the three resources with a nexus thinking approach.
      • This course is available on-campus and online.
    • IDS 6272 - Research Methods for Sustainability (3)
      • This course offers critical guidance and preparation for developing a graduate level thesis proposal and teaches the various methods and procedures that not only satisfy academic requirements but give students hands-on, in-depth experience with the tools and methodologies and the underlying rationale for them so that students are able to responsibly design and carry out original research in their chosen field of study. The course allows the students to apply the methods taught in each of the modules to determine the appropriate research approach and/or strategy for students’ topics, how to use various data gathering techniques to test hypotheses, and provide time to discuss relevant research goals, objectives and questions, and reflect on the rationale for each choice. 
      • This course is available on-campus and online.

Research Interests

Publication in peer-reviewed journal, Ecological Modelling. Title of paper: "Sustainability Factors in Dynamical Systems Modelling: Simulating the Non-Linear Aspects of Multiple Equilibria." (2018) Co-author: Dr. Leon C. Hardy, Physics Professor, USF St. Petersburg.
Ecological Modelling (2018) with Leon Hardy
Publication in peer-review journal, Sustainability. Title of paper: “Breastfeeding: A Cornerstone of Healthy Sustainable Diets.” (2019) Co-author: Marian E. Davidove, MA, RD (PCGS Alumna).

Sustainability (2019) with Marian Davidove
Developing: The Food Resource Research and Development Program
Being a globally focused and innovation oriented college, our goal is to become the premier Food Resource Research and Development Program in the nation within the next five years.

To achieve this goal, PCGS plans to conduct cutting-edge, forward-thinking food systems research, develop ground-breaking food resource technologies, and foster and strengthen partnerships with corporations, businesses, academic institutions, and non-profit organizations in local, regional, national and global food systems networks.

We have four food resource focused tracks that allow student and faculty researchers to pursue relevant and timely research projects that apply sustainability principles and techniques to real world problems and develop valid and sustainable solutions and/or products.

(4) Tracks:

Food Production Projects

1. Organic Agriculture (permaculture, food forests, edible landscapes, Kyminasi plant technology)
2. Community Supported Agriculture (neighborhoods, schools, churches, botanical gardens, farmers markets)
3. Water-base Agriculture (drip irrigation, hydroponics, aeroponics, aquaponics, aquaculture)
4. Controlled Environment Agriculture (greenhouses, brown-fields, warehouses, vertical farms)
5. Environmental Shell Agriculture (green roofs, green walls)

Food Supply/Security Projects

1. Food Supply Chains (wholesale, retail, stores, groceries, supermarkets)
2. Eateries (restaurants, carry-outs, delivery services, food courts, catering, fast food, etc.)
3. Food Security (hunger reduction networks, food banks, food pantries, shelters, disaster relief)

Food and Nutrition Projects

1. Human Nutrition (personal diets, food and fitness, biochemistry and nutrients)
2. Food Safety (microbiology, epidemiology, genetic modified organisms)
3. Health and Disease (probiotics, nutraceuticals) 

Food Waste Projects

1. Conservation Behavior (psycho-social consumption patterns to prevent food waste)
2. Composting (converting food waste to soil fertilizer)
3. Biomass Use (using bio-digesters to transform food waste into bio-gas and liquid fertilizer)
4. Food Waste Management (operationalizing the 4 R's: Reduce, Recover, Repurpose, Replace) 
5. App Development (Web-based smart technology for food resource inventory, tracking, monitoring and reporting)
6. Food Policy and Politics (policy analysis, social commentary, recommendations)
7. Food Waste Metrics (develop scales, indicators and measuring tools to create a "Sustainability Food Print" metric system)


Research Projects

  • Rosebud Continuum Sustainability Education Center, Land O’Lakes, Florida (Hydroponic Farming)
  • Municipal Solar Energy Feasibility Studies, USF Community Sustainability Partnership Program:
    1. City of Dunedin, Florida (2018)
    2. Manatee County, Florida (2020)
  • Food Resource Research and Development Program, Food Waste Management Project, PCGS
  • Earth Month Advocacy Global Initiative Center (EMAGIC) – (In formation at PCGS)


Rosebud Continuum – Board Member: The Rosebud Continuum Sustainability Education Center is a newly formed 501 C (3) non-profit organization established to be an eco-farm and demonstration site for green technologies and sustainability operations. Based in a 20-acre plot of land and lake in Land O'Lakes, Florida. The Rosebud Continuum features native plants & wildflower meadows, biodigesters & biochar projects, aquaponics & hydroponics, agroforestry & regenerative agriculture, apiary & beekeeping, and have several solar & wind energy projects. Non-profit SolarCities' on-site bio-digesters will supply bio-gas for energy and substrate for fertilizer.

Other Media and Links

“Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders in Urban Agriculture.” 6th Annual Grow Gardens Conference. Tampa, FL. April 6, 2024.

Expert Panelist. “Climate Change Impact on Urban Agriculture: Water Conservation and Usage.” Kansas State Gaining Ground Webinar Series. April 3, 2024.

 Tampa Bay Times August 2023 


Urban Agriculture/Hydroponics Video – Presentation by Dr. Joseph Dorsey in collaboration with Innovative Education, University of South Florida (12 minutes)

“Urban Agriculture and Food Security in the Age of Climate Change” by Dr. Joseph Dorsey TEDx Talk PHUHS (YouTube video/13 minutes) 

“The Future of Food” radio session with Dr. Joseph Dorsey – Sustainable Living WMNF 88.5 FM (07/19/2021)

"Know Before You Go-GNSI Policy Dialogues: Hunger as a Weapon"

Harvesting Love | Greater St. Petersburg