The GCSC was developed to facilitate interactions among social scientists, natural scientists, engineers, and policymakers interested in understanding the complex challenges and dynamics in both natural and human-built ecosystems.
In 2009, united by a shared interest in interdisciplinary research and graduate training, faculty from four colleges founded the Global Change and Ecosystem Center. Membership has since expanded to represent a broader spectrum of faculty interested in sustainability, dynamics and adaptation in ecological systems, climate systems, and how global changes impact society. To better reflect the range of interests, in April, 2012, the name was changed to The Global Change and Sustainability Center. The center promotes interdisciplinary research by faculty and students on the structure and functioning of both natural and human built systems and on the impacts of global changes on these systems.