Plaxedes Chitiyo

Assistant Professor
Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences
Center for Environmental Research and Education

339E Fisher Hall
Phone: 412.396.4094


Ph.D., Environmental Resources and Policy, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, 2014
M.S., Biology, Tennessee Technological University, 2006
B.S., Agriculture and Natural Resources Management, Africa University, Zimbabwe, 2001

Dr. Plaxedes Chitiyo, née Makweche, is currently an Assistant Professor at the Center for Environmental Research and Education at Duquesne University. Her research interests are in the areas of sustainable agriculture, community gardens, environmental policy, environmental justice, sustainability, and urban green space development.

Publications and Presentations

Chitiyo, P.T. and L. Duram (In Review). The role of NGOs in promoting certified organic agriculture in Zimbabwe. Journal of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences.

Butaumocho, B. and Chitiyo, P.T. (2017). A Comparative analysis of household food security measures in rural Zimbabwe. International Journal of Food and Agricultural Economics, 5(2): 41-58.

Chitiyo, P. T. and L. Duram. (2017). Characteristics of Alternative agriculture in Zimbabwe. Journal of Geography and Earth Sciences, 5 (1):41-49.

Chitiyo, P.T. (2017). The Invention of Nature: Alexander Von Humboldt's New World. The Pennsylvania Geographer, 55 (1): 60-61.


Chitiyo, P.T., Coates, K., Manley, L. (2018, April). Green space assessment for community garden expansion in low income neighborhoods of Pittsburgh. American Association of Geographers annual meeting, New Orleans, LA (April 9-13).

Coates, K., Manley, L. Chitiyo, P.T., and Stolz, J. (2017, July). GIS Mapping of open spaces
for community garden development in Pittsburgh's Low-Income Neighborhoods. Duquesne University Undergraduate Summer Research Symposium, Pittsburgh, PA

Chitiyo, P.T. and Duram L. (2016, November). The key characteristics of alternative agriculture in Zimbabwe. Paper presented at the Middle States Division of Association of American Geographers annual meeting Altoona, PA (November 4-5).

Makweche, P. T. (2011, November). Assessing the Contribution of Organic Farming to Food Security in Africa. Paper presented at the conference of the Association of American Geographers, at West Lakes Region De Paul University, Chicago, Illinois. (November 10-12, 2011).

Makweche, P. T., Paudel, S., Looft, J., Schmale, G. D., Ernat, D. R. & Battaglia, L. L. (2008, May). Fire suppression effects on a coastal floating marsh ecosystem. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Wetland Scientists Washington, DC (May 27- 30 2008).

Makweche, P. T., & Battaglia, L. L. (2008, April). Fire suppression effects on a coastal ecosystem floating marsh. Paper presented at the Illinois State Academy of Science in Urbana, Champaign, IL. (April 4-5, 2008).

Stearman, G. K., George, D. B., & Makweche, P.T., (2007 April). Simazine Removal Using Peat Moss Comparing Batch Adsorption and Field Studies. Paper presented at the 17th Tennessee Water Resources Symposium Montgomery State Park, Burns Tennessee (17-19 April 2007).

Stearman, K. G., Makweche, P. T., & George, D. (2006, November). Simazine removal comparing peat moss and gravel in Mesocoms. Paper presented at the International Meeting of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America 2006 International Meetings in Indianapolis, IN (November 12-16 2006).

Professional Affiliations

American Association of Geographers (Member)

Pittsburgh Urban Agriculture / Immigrant & Refugee Working Group (Member)

Pittsburgh Food Policy Council Project Team Member: Greater Pittsburgh Food Action Plan Project

Interim Research Chair: Black Environmentalist Network Pittsburgh

Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers of Pittsburgh Co-op (Member)

Pennsylvania Association of Sustainable Agriculture


UCOR 126: Foundations of Energy and the Environment (Fall and Spring) 3 credits
This course explores the link between energy and the environment. The natural environment is a complex system within which physical, chemical and biological processes interact. However, as humans we have impacted the natural environment through resource extraction, processing, and the waste generated. Understanding these systems and environmental issues associated with changes in these systems is through environmental science framework. Science is vital in understanding of global and local environmental issues. The course uses both the scientific principles which operate in the environment and the knowledge of policy measures that are meaningful and provide real solutions to environmental problems, while recognizing the importance of a sustainable and strong economy.

AFST 323/ENVI 323: Environmental Justice (Fall only) 3 credits
This course satisfies the University Core Social Justice and Global Diversity theme area
requirements and will examine how meaningful and fair treatment of people, despite
different backgrounds, race, or culture, can help to protect them and their environment from
environmental hazards. We live in a globalized world where different nations are more
interconnected than before and are engaged in different enterprises across the globe. These
interactions have resulted in the spread of inequality, exploitation, and environmental injustice
across the world threatening the health and well-being of current and future generations as well
as ecosystems that humans depend on. There is therefore, a need for environmental justice in
order to protect natural resources, human health, and promote sustainability.

ENVI 403/503: Sustainable Agriculture (Fall only) 3 credits
This course will explore the origin, forms, policies, and challenges to sustainable
agriculture across the globe paying attention to urban agriculture systems. In addition, the course will examine the significance of sustainable agriculture in the conservation of earth's biodiversity through protection of species and their habitats as well as restoration of degraded ecosystems. Class discussions will explore different management practices being used to uphold ecological integrity, reduce costs, protect human and animal health, and promote environmental sustainability. Case studies, peer reviewed articles, and videos will be used to help students better understand issues being discussed in class. The course has a lab component where students get hands on experience in urban farming systems in Allegheny County.
* ENVI 472/672 Environmental Biology is a pre-requisite for ENVI 503

ENVI 402/502: Plant Biodiversity (Spring only) 3 credits
This course examines the contribution of plants to the overall biodiversity on Earth as well as the importance of plants in promoting the sustainability of ecosystems. Issues to be discussed in class include benefits derived from diverse plant communities, ecosystem services (e.g., nutrient cycling and storage), biological resources (e.g., food and medicine), and social benefits (e.g., recreation and tourism). The course will also cover energy and trophic structures, global biomes, biodiversity loss and its impacts on human welfare. Prerequisites: BIOL 112 (Diversity, Ecology and Evolution) or BIOL 117 (Advanced General Biology) or BIOL 212 (Cell and Molecular Biology)

ENVI 544: Environmental Policy (Spring) 3 credits
Environmental policy is policy that pertains to human interactions with the environment. Its main goals include regulating use of resources and reducing pollution such that earth's natural systems and human welfare is protected. The course will examine the role of government and politics, political institutions, interest groups, private sector, citizens, and scientists in environmental policy formulation.

AFST 150: Introduction to African Studies (Spring Only) 0-3 credits
This is an introductory course to African Studies will provide a general overview and important aspects of the African continent. This online course will focus on Sub-Saharan Africa exploring political, social,
cultural, and environmental aspects that have shaped the region and other regions beyond it. Because of the increasingly interconnectedness of the region to other parts of the globe due to globalization,
significant time will be spent examining environmental issues such as agriculture, conservation, and
sustainability. Interactions between Sub-Saharan Africa with other regions of the world has yielded both
positive and negative impacting the health and well-being of current and future generations as well as
ecosystems that humans depend on. The course will incorporate tools such as voice thread, online
discussions, and documentaries to keep students engaged as well as grasp important concepts highlighted in the course better.