A native Pennsylvanian, where he taught high school, Dan moved to Arizona in 1980 and earned his PhD from Arizona State University. He joined the Arizona Humanities Council in 1984, and was named executive director in 1989, a position he stepped down from in 2003. At AHC he developed several award-winning projects on environmental history and community building. Dan has served on nearly 50 boards and commissions, including the Grand Canyon Association and Maricopa Association of Governments. Since 2005, he has taught a seminar at ASU on sustainability, and in that same year he received ASU’s Distinguished Alumnus Award for his service to the state. From 2004 until 2007 Dan directed a project on place-based tourism, which resulted in his book, Civic Tourism: The Poetry and Politics of Place. In 2009, he co-directed a summer institute on ecologist Aldo Leopold for 25 university professors. In 2011 he co-directed another month-long institute on Aldo Leopold's connection to sustainability. Another recent project is a book on the humanistic dimensions of sustainability, for which Dan received fellowships from ASU and Texas Tech University. He lives in Phoenix.
Environmental literature, philosophy, and history; place-based tourism; restorative economics; sense-of-place and sustainability research.