Jennifer Wells, Professor in the Transformative Studies and Transformative Leadership online MA and PhD at CIIS Jennifer Wells

Transformative Studies
Transformative Inquiry Department
School of Consciousness and Transformation

PhD, University of California, Berkeley

PhD, Sorbonne Paris IV

Jennifer Wells is a professor and author, focused on systems and complex thought for addressing social and ecological crises. Wells is trained in philosophy, sociology, and the environmental arts and humanities, ethics, transition, and flourishing studies. Her research focuses mostly on applying complex thought to address the major challenges of the 21st century. She is focused on a book project, on discourse and praxis that shifts everyday thinking as well as our worldview, towards an emergent more complex, creative worldview for the 21st century. The book uses examples of real utopias as frameworks and inspiration for systems change. Her last book was the internationally recognized Complexity and Sustainability (Routledge), on the contribution of complex thought to global sustainability. Wells was invited to give talks on it in China and France. Her PhD dissertation focused on complexity and climate change (2009). She has done extensive public speaking, particularly around the SF Bay Area and on the topics of climate change, systems and complexity, and transition. Over her career, Wells has visited over 100 sites of ‘real utopias’ over four continents. After college, she served as Director of the Sustainability Education Center in New York, NY, and worked as a writer at the United Nations Association. She also helped found and develop a vibrant small eco village, arts center, and organic farm in Colebrook, Connecticut. Wells has a passion for new sciences as well as humanities and arts, particularly the studies of animal and plant intelligence. Wells has degrees from Yale, the University of California at Berkeley, and the Sorbonne, Paris IV. Since 2020, she has been a Visiting Scholar at the Sorbonne, Paris I, Center for Contemporary Philosophy and the Institute of Legal and Philosophical Sciences, in Paris France.

Wells, Jennifer, 2021. “Towards a Zero Carbon Globalization,” The Thomas Project journal of utopian studies, published online October 2021.

Wells, Jennifer, 2020. “From Covid-19 to COP-21: A Travel Typology for our times,” chapter in Tourism Facing a Pandemic: From Crisis to Recovery, University of Bergamo Press.

Wells, Jennifer, 2020. co-author, “Collaborative Feminist Degrowth: Pandemic as an Opening for a Care-full Transformation.” online at:

Wells, Jennifer, 2018. “Mind the Gap: Bridging the Two Cultures with Complex Thought,” Ecological Complexity journal, 5-year impact factor: 2.402, published online February 2018, published in print July 2018.

“Complexity as a Catalyst for Environmental Ethics: Advancing major ethical theories,” book chapter, L’Ethique Environnementale : Hommage a Catherine Larrere, Ed. Raphael Larrere, Presses Universitaires de France, Paris (in press), 2013.

Complexity and Sustainability, Routledge Press, 2013 (first published in August 2012).

“Classes that Change the World: Synergistic Solutions and Multiplier Effects for Students, Campuses and Communities,” in World Trends on Education for Sustainable Development, ed. Walter Leal, University of Hamburg Press, 2011.

"Melting Ice: Climate Change and the Humanities." Jennifer Wells and Carolyn Merchant, Confluence, XIV, no. 2 (Spring 2009): 13-27.

Complexity and Climate Change : An epistemological study of transdisciplinary complexity theories and their contribution to socio-ecological phenomena, dissertation, UC Berkeley, the Sorbonne, Paris IV, 2009.

Biotechnologies: An Overview, 140 p. book – Ford Foundation publication, co-authored with Dustin Mulvaney (equal authorship), under the direction of Michael Watts, Geography Dept, UC Berkeley, 2005.


Wells, Jennifer. Climate Tech Solutions talk, ManyLabs Event, San Francisco, September 29, 2017.

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