Portrait of Holly Parker

Holly Parker, Ph.D.

Director UNE North- Institute of North Atlantic Studies


On campus

Holly Parker brings a broad range of experience and perspective to her work at UNE. An educator for more than 20 years, Holly has worked in traditional, experiential and digital classroom settings.  She has collaborated with school systems in Alaska and the USVI to develop standards-aligned, interdisciplinary digital curricula, taught high school English for 14 years in boarding school settings, and directed a boat building program for at-risk youth in Maine.  An area of significant interest for Parker is collaborating with industry, educational institutions and nonprofits to deliver integrated, transformational learning opportunities to the underserved in Northern New England.  A lifelong mariner, Holly is also passionate about maritime and ocean issues impacting Maine and beyond. Holly has represented UNE and Maine three times at the Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik, Iceland. She represents UNE on the Maine North Atlantic/Arctic Education Consortium and served on the state-sponsored Host Committee for the Arctic Council in 2016. 

Holly is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, where she focused her studies on successfully addressing learning challenges in the integrated classroom. She holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy from the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine; her research focuses on education for sustainability leadership. 



B.A., English Literature
Dartmouth College
Harvard University
Ph.D. Public Policy
Muskie School of Public Service, University of Southern Maine


Selected publications

Parker, Holly E. (2021). “Tell me a story – why climate change communication needs to embrace our childlike curiosity.”Transform 21. International Science Council, Paris. 

Parker, Holly E. (2021). “While Washington Ignored Its Responsibilities to Address Climate, Mainers Embraced Ours.” Journal of the North Atlantic and Arctic. February.

Page, G.; Parker, H.; Trusty, M.; Woods, C.; & Matey, S. (2021). “A Transformations Transect as Social Innovation: COBALT Network Forms in the Gulf of Maine to Develop the Concept.” Journal of Social Innovations. April.

Parker, Holly E. (2019).  Leadership of Heart and Mind: Examining the Mind and Skill Sets of Students Sustainability Leadership. Muskie School Dissertations. University of Southern Maine. 

Other scholarly activity

Invited Presentations

Sustainable Development and Global Education, for Education Leaders Experience, Educate Maine. May, 2021.

Maine Companies as Global Sustainability Actors, with Maine International Trade Center and U.N. Global Compact. April, 2021.

Innovation for Sustainable Development an Interactive Workshop. For Think Rural, Think Digital, Think Ahead Hackathon hosted by NORA, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, UNE, MENADO, and Cooperation Council of Ontario. March, 2021,

Panelist for Covid-19 Response and Digital Health in the Rural North. For SENDoc Project at University of Ulster. December, 2020.

Building a Bioregional Macroscope. For the Sustainable Resilient Coasts Seminar, Project, Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme. November, 2020.

Pandemic Reflections: Protecting Public Health from Covid to Climate Change: What can we learn from Covid 19 to strengthen public health preparedness for climate change? A panel discussion hosted by UNE’s Center for Excellence in Collaboration Education and the Planetary Health Council. October, 2020,

Maine and the Arctic: Building bridges to the future. For the Camden Conference, hosted by the Portland Press Herald. October, 2020

Sustainable Development in the Arctic: Communication and Ethical Challenges— An Interactive Workshop. Arctic Circle Assembly, 2019

Leveraging Abundance: A Mindset and Framework to achieve the UN SGDs in the North. Arctic Circle Assembly, 2018

Catalyzing Planetary Health Engagement at University of New England. Co-authored with J. Gunderman, MPH. Planetary Health Alliance Conference, Edinburgh, 2017. 

Research interests

Sustainable development leadership and education
Systems mapping and bioregional planning
Science communication

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