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Professor and Director of the Center for Water Policy, School of Freshwater Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Melissa K. Scanlan is the Lynde B. Uihlein Endowed Chair in Water Policy and the Director of the Center for Water Policy at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences. She is a Professor in the School of Freshwater Sciences and affiliated faculty at the University of Wisconsin Law School. She has been a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Alicante, Spain, a Visiting Professor at Boston College Law School, and an Associate Dean of the Environmental Program and Professor of Law at Vermont Law School.

Scanlan is the author of "Prosperity and the Fossil Free Economy" (Yale University Press, 2021), which compares Spanish and U.S. cooperatives to reveal insights about legal design for the triple bottom line. She has written and edited books, book chapters, and law review articles, on a variety of environmental, water, climate, and new economy law topics.  State Supreme Court opinions have cited her law review articles and conservation groups have republished them.

Scanlan is the founder of a variety of enterprises in the social economy. Infused with clear vision and longevity, she has raised millions of dollars to capitalize these enterprises and designed their governance documents, establishing the mission, purpose, and day to day direction.

She is based on the shore of Lake Michigan (Michigami) on traditional Potawatomi, Ho-Chunk and Menominee homeland, where the Milwaukee, Menominee and Kinnickinnic rivers meet and the people of Wisconsin’s sovereign Anishinaabe, Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Oneida and Mohican nations remain present.


  • –present
    Professor and Lynde B. Uihlein Endowed Chair in Water Policy, UW-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences; Director of the Center for Water Policy; Affiliate Faculty, University of Wisconsin Law School, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


  • 1999 
    University of California, Berkeley, JD and MS in Environmental Science, Policy and Management