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Dean's Letter

Dean Lisa GraumlichThis week we find ourselves in the middle of that annual rite of passage, graduation. Our Class of 2014 should be proud of their accomplishments, and feel genuine excitement to use their education as a cornerstone for a successful and productive career.

At the College of the Environment, we recognize that the keys to a successful career look substantially different than they did a generation ago. Not only do you have to be deeply conversant in your chosen discipline, you must also command a suite of “soft skills” that are ever more important to potential employers. These skills include the ability to collaborate across areas of expertise, work effectively in teams, and communicate about your work with non-scientists. They include knowing when and how to lead, and when to listen and follow. You must also be ready to assess not only how your own field of expertise is evolving, but also how the world around you influences the success of your work. Our professors are committed to preparing our students to meet these challenges in the workplace, and to excel in their midst. 

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Faculty ProfilesNew College of the Environment faculty profiles

The College of the Environment launched an engaging and interactive new faculty section of our website earlier this spring, and we invite you to have a look around. The webpages offer numerous search options to help the user visualize and learn about the spectrum of research happening in all of our units. You can read individual bios of faculty members, and link to their own lab website for further information about their research and teaching. Check it out!

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GraduateGraduation gift to the Class of 2014

The end of spring means graduation and many opportunities to shine a light on our graduates’ accomplishments. In appreciation of their contributions to the College of the Environment and in celebration of their achievements, the College has purchased and retired 400 carbon allowances for the more than 400 graduates in the Class of 2014.  Recognizing our students as the next generation of leaders in environmental science and decision-making, we believe this is a contribution that showcases our collective commitment to the sustainability and well-being of our society and our planet.

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Scientists learningNew degree offered: Master of Science for science teachers

The College of the Environment’s newest degree program, the Master of Science in Science for Teachers (MSST) is now accepting applications for the upcoming academic year. MSST is a graduate degree in science developed specifically for science teachers, and provides a unique opportunity to conduct scientific research alongside world-renowned research professionals. Skills developed in this program will give teachers returning to their classroom a deeper knowledge and understanding of conducting fundamental
or applied scientific inquiry. Learn more and apply on
the College of the Environment website.

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Awards & Acknowledgements

Several faculty this year at the College of the Environment have retired or will retire over the summer. We wish to recognize their rich contributions to the University of Washington over the span of their career, and gratefully acknowledge their commitment to teaching and service, and innovation in research. We look forward to continuing to work together in new capacities in the future.  Retirees include:

Congratulations to Eric D’Asaro on his election to the National Academy of Sciences, recognized in particular for his innovative observations of the ocean.

Congratulations to Jerry Franklin on his election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, where he has been recognized as a leading visionary in forest ecology and conservation.

Congratulations to Darrel Cowan on receiving the 2014 Geological Society of America Structural Geology and Tectonics Division Career Contribution Award for his work towards advancing the understanding of structural geology and tectonics.

Congratulations to our 23 Dean’s Office Scholarship and Fellowship Award recipients for the 2014-15 Academic Year. Funds are given to deserving students to help offset the costs associated with a higher education.


Kate AllstadtKate Allstadt, self described "present-day geologist"

Spotlight is an ongoing series that will introduce you to the many members that make up the College community. 

What would you do in a big earthquake? Do you know how your neighborhood would fare? Would the ground beneath your house hold firm, or turn into liquid, or break loose in a landslide? If you had a few seconds or minutes warning, how would you prepare knowing a devastating earthquake was about to be unleashed? 

In the wake of the nearby Oso landslide, these are the kinds of questions researchers like Kate Allstadt ask with increasing urgency. Her hope is to make places like Seattle and other places in the Pacific Northwest more resilient in the face of a natural disaster. 

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Philanthropy: Making a Difference

Private gifts and grants make all the difference in opening doors for new research and expanding educational opportunities for our students. We are grateful for our numerous donors’ generosity. 

The College would like to especially thank James and Marsha Seeley for their support and funding for oceanography, biodiversity, and wildlife research in the South Pacific; and both the Packard Foundation and the Lenfest Program for their recent grants for efforts to support ecosystem based approaches to fishery management.

There are numerous ways to help support research and students at College of the Environment—please consider making a gift to the fund of your choice, including:

  • School of Marine and Environmental Affairs Graduate Student Fellowship Fund
  • Friends of the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences Fund
  • Alaska Salmon Program Fund

To learn more about these funds and others, please visit the College of the Environment website.

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Save the Date

The Friday Harbor Labs have two dates coming up soon that are sure to entice islanders and mainlanders alike. Jazz at the Labs, which supports the Labs’ K-12 Science Outreach Program will take place on June 14. Reservations are strongly advised. The 2014 Illg Distinguished Lecturer will be Lisa Levin, speaking at the San Juan Community Theater on August 12 in a talk titled Deep-Ocean Industrialization and Biodiversity Challenges in the 21st Century. Find out more about these events on the Friday Harbor Labs’ webpage.

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May /
June 2014

In the Media

One Key Question on Obama's Push Against Climate Change: Will It Matter?

UW students restoring portal into Lake Washington’s past

Marine apprenticeships give UW undergrads role in animal-ancestor breakthrough

West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapse is under way

UW Climate Impacts Group plays major role in newest National Climate Assessment

UW launches effort to prepare region for major quake

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