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Ecosystem Science and Management at TAMU: Shared Vision and Administrative Philosophy Jianbang Gan June 25, 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Ecosystem Science and Management at TAMU: Shared Vision and Administrative Philosophy Jianbang Gan June 25, 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ecosystem Science and Management at TAMU: Shared Vision and Administrative Philosophy Jianbang Gan June 25, 2012

2 Presentation outline About ESSM – Our vision and mission – Our strengths, opportunities, and challenges – Ways forward About me – Motivation – Qualifications – Administrative philosophy

3 My perspectives of ESSM

4 A question/choice for ESSM To become a leader or follower (or passive defender) during this time of change (in our profession and the environment for our profession)?

5 ESSM vision The Department aspires to be a premier ecosystem science and management program that significantly impacts the science, education, and management affecting ecosystems.

6 ESSM mission Teaching – Educating future leaders in the science and stewardship of rangeland, forest, and wetland ecosystems Research – Advancing knowledge through discovery and translational research Extension – Delivering outreach and continuing education programs that provide pragmatic solutions to diverse stakeholders

7 What sets ESSM apart? “Our vision of science-based problem solving in Ecosystem Science and Management guides our education, research, and extension programs. We're problem solvers who use technology with a fresh approach.”

8 Why science-based? Complexity of natural resource management entails the use of science and technology. Advances and promises of science and technology make it possible.

9 Job outlook for college graduates, 2010-15 Projected shortage in business and science specialists Need strong research and development and efficient business management skills Expected strong job markets for – Biostatistician – Climate change analyst – Computer graphics technologist – Environmental scientist – Green industry products manager – Land use planner and manager – Natural resource conservation specialist – Restoration forester – Water resource specialist Source: Goecker et al. 2010 (sponsored by USDA)

10 Some numbers about our people 47 faculty – 31 on campus (3 major buildings) – 16 off campus (10 AgriLife Research & Extension Centers) 175 undergraduate students in 5 degree programs (17, 20, 27, 55, 56) 94 graduate students (39 PhD, 55 MS) 28 staff Sources: ESSM website for faculty & staff; OISP for student enrollment in spring 2012

11 Our strengths Our people (faculty, staff, students, and alumni) Our programs (quality and diversity) Our strategic plan Our achievements

12 Some recent achievements/initiatives Merger of Forest Science and Rangeland Ecology and Management New unified undergraduate curriculum Increased quantity and quality of graduate students, and ESSM graduate degrees NSF, DOE, NASA, USDA CAP grants Technology applications in extension International involvements etc.

13 Our opportunities Pressing issues in ecosystem science and management at global, national, and local levels Emerging and rising markets for ecosystem services and associated jobs Huge and rich playing field

14 Issues (unsustainability) = Opportunities Resolving the unsustainable is our core business. Fortunately and unfortunately, our business is sustainable.

15 Headings (Keywords) in the MA synthesis report Ecosystems & Human Well-being: Biodiversity Desertification Business & Industry Wetlands & Water Health

16 Payments for ecosystem services Carbon $176 billion (2011) Watershed services $9.25 billion (2008) Biodiversity $2.4-4.0 billion (2011) Sources: Ecosystem Marketplace and World Bank

17 Our playing field The world’s rangeland Source: University of Idaho The world’s forests Source: FAO Forestland, rangeland, and wetland consist of 33% (31%), 26% (40%), and 7% (5%) of total land area in the U.S. (world), respectively.

18 Our major challenges Resource limitations – Budget – Faculty replacement and retention Expanding and changing demand – Higher expectations from our stakeholders – Change in our professions/disciplines and broader fields of science and technology – Change in the industries/stakeholders we serve/interact and the associated markets – Change in demographics All these mean: We must become more efficient and effective. We must take initiatives to lead in the changing environment or at least be better adapted to the changes.

19 Ways forward Integration Innovation We are good at both. Let’s do it!

20 Why integration and innovation? Enhance synergies Improve efficiency Solve complex problems Accommodate changes in funding sources and demand for our products/services Plus, innovation is a prerequisite for a premier department.

21 What and how to integrate or innovate? Teaching + Research + Extension Science + Management + Policy On-campus + Off-campus Biophysical + Socioeconomic (human dimensions) Integration within each subset External collaboration (e.g., 3E = Ecology, Economics, Engineering)

22 Teaching New undergrad curriculum Graduate degrees in Ecosystem Science and Management Student recruitment, advising, and career development Undergrad research, internships, service learning, and study abroad Interaction among students in different majors/disciplines

23 Research We cannot and don’t have to do everything, but we must excel in something important. Potential focal areas (examples): Water, fire, climate change, business and environment, etc. Approaches: Working groups and centers Collaboration between on- and off-campus faculty Collaboration with other departments and institutions Support for seeking funding for large integrated projects (domestic and international)

24 Extension Traditional clients New clients (especially in rural-urban interface areas) Ecosystem services Applications of new technologies Connection with teaching and research Collaboration with TFS and other units

25 Development Connected to our alumni, friends, clients, industries, organizations, and agencies Priorities – Endowed faculty chairs – Graduate and undergraduate scholarships This is external integration and everyone’s job.

26 Some things about me

27 Why do I apply? Compassion for ESSM Motivated by our opportunities and challenges Experience and willingness to serve

28 My experience: Administration ESSM TAMU: Exploratory Committee ADH for ESSM Undergraduate and Graduate Programs Other institutions Undergraduate program coordinator International program coordinator

29 My experience: Teaching Led or involved in curriculum development Taught 14 courses in different subjects Chaired graduate advisory committees in FORS and RLEM Advised undergraduate students and visiting scholars (Fulbright Scholar, Thomas Jefferson Fellows, etc.)

30 My experience: Research PI/Co-PI for 30+ projects including several large integrated projects Grant review panelist for 2 NSF and 7 USDA programs Publications: refereed journal papers, books, online encyclopedia, etc. Associate Editor and Editorial Board International research experience (Africa, Asia, and Latin America)

31 My experience: Extension PI/Co-PI for several extension/outreach projects (Funds for Rural Americans, Farmers Home Administration, EPA, State Agencies) Developed extension/outreach materials (factsheets, brochures, online information, etc.) Presentations at extensions/outreach workshops and farmers conferences Consultancy to the industry Served on a state forestry planning committee and a state forestry education consortium

32 Administrative philosophy Roles/Functions of DH: Visionary Innovator Facilitator Advocator Cooperator

33 Administrative philosophy Administrative approaches: Shared governance Transparency Mission oriented Effectiveness and efficiency Adaptive management Faculty/staff driven Incentive/reward mechanisms

34 My motto Heart, mind, and hands.

35 Final words We are an integrative system. And, only together, we can and will succeed.

36 Thanks!

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