The Insider: College of the Environment Newsletter

From Dean Graumlich

Dean Graumlich

Fall has come to the UW campus, as signaled by bright foliage and an abundance of campus events.  Overflowing weekend festivities around the stadium and innumerable evening lectures and discussions fill our schedules, not to mention the yearlong 150th birthday celebration for UW, which pivots around November 4 (wear purple!).  For many in the College of the Environment, fall quarter signifies another kind of abundance—of data, freshly harvested from field season.  Tending to happen while the days are longer and class loads lighter, field research is one of the hallmarks, and most enjoyable aspects, of environmental science. 

As a researcher I spent many summers at upper treeline in some of the most spectacular mountains of the world.  I relished the chance to work with fellow scientists, exploring the hows and whys of what we observed, always starting the next academic year with a renewed commitment to uncovering the stories within the data.  This summer I had the great fortune to join many of you on your field campaigns, to partake in the delight of discovery and the challenge of rigorous research in the real world.

In August I spent over a week on the R/V Thompson, where faculty, staff and students worked around the clock to map the seafloor, note new features and creatures, and communicate the whole experience through live streaming video, Twitter, and online discussions with ship-board scientists, all while keeping the vessel and equipment operational. 

I also spent a week at our fish camps in Alaska, participating in the ongoing salmon counts.  The rich diversity of the systems in which we worked was surpassed only by the dinnertime conversations about the complexities of fish ecology and fisheries management.  I saw how the immersion – often literally – into the environment we study, with all its nuances that preclude simple answers, is vital to scientific understanding – and definitely one of the reasons why our fishery scientists are foremost in the world in guiding sustainable fisheries.

This summer’s field experiences inspired me.  I was struck by the commitment of our faculty, staff and students to stellar research, under challenging or even tedious conditions.  Moreover, I am proud of how we bring the fruits of field research to our communities, through journal articles, classes, workshops, and social media.  As we in the College are called upon to provide solutions to the complex environmental challenges our society is facing, our ability to share our fieldwork in ways most useful to our communities is crucial.

This quarter’s College events highlight our ongoing efforts to bring our science to our communities.  I hope to attend as many as I can - like our Meet, Greet, Teach events, our inaugural College donor/scholar luncheon, and the opening of Poplar Hall Sustainable Living Community. I look forward to ‘keeping the field season alive’ through recounting the summer’s adventures, with those of you who I got to spend time with in the field, and to all in our community who share our excitement for understanding our environment and how we fit into it.

Lisa Graumlich Signature

Lisa Graumlich
Dean, UW College of the Environment



2011 Outstanding Community Collaborator Award

We are pleased to announce the winner of the 2011 College of the Environment Outstanding Community Collaborator Award! In honor of their outstanding service and dedication, this year's recipient is:

Junior Faculty Development Program Established

The Dean's Office is pleased to introduce the new Junior Faculty Development Program. This opportunity is aimed at supporting junior faculty in their professional development as they build their scholarly and teaching careers. Each tenure-track Assistant Professor is eligible for the award, granted by the College of the Environment in partnership with its departments and schools. The award consists of one faculty development quarter (one quarter with no assigned teaching responsibilities) and one month of summer salary or the equivalent in research support. Details on how to apply for the award can be found in the College's Administrative Gateway.


USDA Grants $40 Million to UW for Biofuels Research

Biofuels Announcement
From left to right: Mayor McGinn, UW President Young, USW President Floyd, Port of Seattle CEO Yoshitani, USDA Secretary Vilsack, Representative Inslee

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on September 28th an award of $40 million to fund UW research in the development of biofuels. The project lead is Professor Rick Gustafson (School of Forest Resources), who will collaborate with multiple public and private partners on an ambitious project emphasizing both the commercialization and sustainability aspects of producing biofuels.  The five-year award is one of the two largest biofuels awards announced by USDA. The other large award ($40 million) is to Washington State University, and also includes UW collaboration, with Ivan Eastin (School of Forest Resources) serving as a co-investigator. To read more, click here.


CoEnv Awarded $3 Million IGERT Grant

The College of the Environment has been awarded a $3 million National Science Foundation (NSF) Integrative Graduate Education Research Traineeship (IGERT) grant to develop an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program for students interested in studying the societal and environmental issues of ocean changes brought about by climate change. Terrie Klinger (School of Marine and Environmental Affairs) is the Principal Investigator on this grant, which was only one of 18 selected by NSF out of 400 submissions. The traineeship program is meant to help create leaders among doctoral scientists and engineers by helping them understand not only the biological and ecological responses associated with ocean acidification, but also the impacts on human institutions and governments. Click here to read more.


News Blog Launched: CoEnv Currents

CoEnv Currents

The Dean's Office has created a news blog, "CoEnv Currents", as a location for curated news, papers and multimedia reflecting the interests and work of the College of the Environment. It represents one of our first steps in embracing social media to build community, both within the College and among friends of the College and the general public. As an example of online curation, CoEnv Currents is based on ongoing identification, selection and sharing of timely, relevant and high-quality content regarding environmental issues, environmental science, and academia. Stories are gathered by members of the Dean's Office, from sources including UW News, local to international news outlets, Web of Knowledge, and social media. We hope to eventually host, in this blog or elsewhere, CoEnv-created content such as guest posts from CoEnv and peer academics, multimedia and interactive content, and synthetic discussions about current relevant environmental science and issues.  

The blog provides an RSS feed and a daily email digest of posted stories, and is available through the "News & Events" pull-down menu off the home page or by following this link.


New Name for the School of Forest Resources

Interim Provost Doug Wadden has recently approved the proposal that the School of Forest Resources change its name to the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (SEFS), effective January 1, 2012. The name change was proposed in order to capture the expanded scope of curricular and research initiatives being undertaken in the School and to more accurately refltect the School's mission:


The School of Forest Resources is dedicated to generating and disseminating knowledge for the stewardship of natural and managed environments and the sustainable use of their products and services through teaching, research, and outreach.

The name change will not affect the School's degree offerings, which will remain the Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, two Master of Forest Resources degrees (in professionally-accredited Forest Management, and the Peace Corps Masters International program), Master of Environmental Horticulture, and Ph.D.




Save the Date

Hoffman2011 Mindlin Lecture: Future Climate, the Perspective from Extreme Climates of the Past

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Location:Kane Hall, Room 120

The discovery by 19th-century geologists that northern Europe and North America had been buried beneath dynamic ice sheets in the geologically recent past triggered a scientific crisis from which modern theories of climate change and geodynamics slowly emerged. Today, there is growing evidence that the entire ocean was once capped by a dynamic sea-glacier for long periods, followed by ‘greenhouse’ climates in which today’s highest surface temperatures were the global average. Paul Hoffman (Sturgis Hooper Professor of Geology, Emeritus, University Center for the Environment, Harvard) will speak to the importance of developing a sound intellectual framework of the dynamic nature of earth’s changing climate: past, present and future. The lecture is free and open to the public, though advanced registration is requested.



Conversations on Defining Diversity: Teaching and Family Planning

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011 from 4:00-5:00 p.m.

Location: Fishery Sciences Building, Room 203

Diversity, equality, engagement, opportunity - these are words laden with value and individual meaning.  The College of the Environment is committed to creating and supporting a diverse academic community representing a full range of cultural, ethnic and disciplinary sectors – one way to achieve that goal is by talking.  Conversations on Defining Diversity is a public forum within the College exploring the issues, roadblocks, challenges, and opportunities the College faces, as the first step towards brainstorming solutions.  Each conversation will focus on a particular aspect of diversity, and will feature College faculty, staff, and students speaking about their experiences, often from very different points of view.  Come listen, share, and learn. 

Defining DiversityThe inaugural Conversation is a taboo subject facing many faculty across campus, with analogies for staff and students: Teaching and Family Planning will explore the consequences to people and units of not having permission to talk about when you want to have children.  Join our conversation with: Kate Huntington (Assistant Professor in Earth and Space Sciences, new mom, and recent invitee to the White House re research and family intersections) and David Armstrong (Director of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, father, and grandfather).  Attendees are asked to RSVP by Wednesday, November 23.  Coffee and sweets will be served.


For & About Students

College Partners with Program on the Environment to Offer "Meet, Greet, Teach" Series

Meet, Greet, Teach is an evening series offering graduate students and postdoctoral fellows with an interest in interdisciplinary, environmental education a chance to interact with faculty from across campus who are willing to share their enthusiasm and their experience. Attendees have a chance to mix and mingle before settling down to a 30-minute "fast panel" of four faculty, each delivering thought- and conversation-provoking insights. With time for both structured and social interaction, MGT presents an opportunity for everyone to have a say, make a contact, find a shared direction, and learn something new. Science that Matters, the first event of the series this year, was held on Wednesday, October 26 in the Program on the Environment Commons. For more information or to sign up for event e-mails for the series, contact


New ESS Degree Track: Applied Geosciences

The Masters in Earth and Space Sciences, Applied Geosciences (MESSAGe) builds on the current
curriculum for the MS degree within Earth and Space Sciences while offering a new specific focus
to serve students who plan to pursue a career in the private sector focused on geology, geophysics, environmental engineering and engineering geology. The new program is unparalleled in the Northwest, bridging theory and practice to offer an innovative blend of classroom and field experiences. The program is directed by Professor Juliet Crider, and advised by an external committee of geoscientists and employers. To learn more, visit the program page.


College Partners with Housing and Food Services to Launch Sustainable Living Community

Poplar HallThe College of the Environment is partnering with Housing and Food Services to offer a new residential community for students interested in sustainability and the environment located in the new LEED-certified residence hall, Poplar Hall. This year, 59 students are part of the Sustainable Living Community (SLC), which offers residents the opportunity to explore environmental impacts and live and learn with other students interested in sustainability.

As the Campus Partner for the new community, the College of the Environment will collaborate with Housing and Food Services to offer activities designed to connect SLC students to CoEnv programs, faculty, students, and staff. This autumn, the SLC students will join Dean Graumlich for “Dinner with the Dean”; tour the UW Farm; and meet CoEnv advisers and students at panels and events highlighting environmental majors.

The College’s very own Jessica Randall, a junior majoring in Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, is the Resident Advisor working with the SLC community to organize activities for the students.


Exploring Environmental Majors Seminar

CoEnv advisers, along with advisers from other environmental programs across campus, are facilitating a freshman seminar entitled “Exploring Environmental Majors at the UW.” The majority of the 125 students enrolled in the course are Freshmen who are still finalizing their plans for a major and who are registered for a Freshman Interest Group (FIG) within the CoEnv. Each week, the students interact with a different faculty member from an environmental program, ranging from Dargan Frierson (Atmospheric Sciences) presenting on “Computer Modeling of the Global Climate System” to Deb Kelley (Oceanography) discussing “Volcanoes and Life in the Deep Sea.” Co-Instructors Michelle Hall, CoEnv Dean’s Office, and Michelle Townsend, School of Oceanography, work with students to reflect on and plan ahead for their academic career as they learn about the range of environmental majors and opportunities at the UW.



SACNAS ConferenceSociety for Advancement of Chicanos/Latinos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) – UW Chapter Award and 2011 Conference

The Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Latinos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) has awarded the UW SACNAS Chapter the 2011 Chapter of the Year Award specific to graduate chapters. This is especially impressive given that our UW chapter was also awarded both the 2010 Role Model Chapter Award for Outreach Excellence and the Chapter of the Year Award in 2009.

This year the CoEnv sponsored a booth at the annual SACNAS conference, October 27-30, 2011, in San Jose, CA. Representatives from CoEnv who attended the conference include: Julia Parrish (Associate Dean and Professor, Aquatic and Fishery Sciences), Amanda Davis (Counseling Services Coordinator, Forest Resources), Amanda Bruner (Research Scientist, Oceanography), and Daniel Hernandez (Graduate Student, Aquatic and Fishery Sciences). The 2011 conference focused on "Empowering Innovation & Synergy Through Diversity" and featured keynote presentations by leading scientists and researchers, scientific symposia, and research presentations by undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs. Seattle has been selected to host the 2012 SACNAS conference, so stay tuned to find out how you can be involved!


News from Advancement

The College’s many alumni, friends, and partners continue to provide significant and much appreciated private support benefiting our faculty and students. Read on to learn about two such recent commitments:



Global Fishery Database Created With Support From Industry Partners

Led by Arctic Storm, a pollock fishing fleet based in Seattle, the trade associations representing pollock, groundfish and crab fisheries of Bristol Bay, Alaska, have pledged $200,000 over two years in support of a global fishery database at the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. This database has presented a novel way of analyzing and interpreting the data used in assessing the health of fish populations worldwide. The lead conveners of this database are SAFS faculty members Trevor Branch and Ray Hilborn.


Department of Earth and Space Sciences Receives Generous Estate Distribution

The Department of Earth and Space Sciences has received a $50,000 distribution from the estate of a long-time friend of the department, who passed away this spring. The bequest will be used to provide scholarships for students with financial need who are studying geological sciences. We are grateful for the donor’s generosity and honored to be a part of the philanthropic planning of her and her late husband (an alumnus of the department).


In the Media


Sierra Magazine


The University of Washington was recently ranked first in the Sierra Club's Top Ten: American's Coolest Schools for its leadership in energy efficiency, conservation research, and clean energy technology.



Career Services


NEW: College of the Environment Careers Blog

The College of the Environment Career Center has created a blog for career opportunities (including job postings, internships, and volunteer positions). Subscription includes an RSS feed or an option to receive daily emails batched in a digest. To suggest CoEnv Careers Blog postings, please send position descriptions or opportunity announcements to

The UW Career Center offers a range of services including access to job listings, workshops and feedback on resumes and interviews, and information on preparing for graduate school.


Graduate Student Research Awards Competition – North Pacific Research Board

In May 2012, NPRB will award up to six Graduate Student Research Awards (GSRAs) of $25,000 each to three qualified masters students and three doctoral students for the opportunity to address scientific, technological, and socio-economic issues relating to the research themes identified in the 2005 NPRB Science Plan. Students must be enrolled in or accepted by a graduate degree program at an accredited university or college by February 10, 2012. Online submission begins December 5, 2011, and the application deadline is February 10.

Opportunity: Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Arctic Fellow

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (GBMF) is seeking an Arctic Fellow for the Foundation’s Marine Conservation Initiative (MCI). Reporting to the Program Director of MCI, the Fellow will be responsible for investigating opportunities to advance marine spatial planning that balances human use and conservation in the Arctic, specifically in the Beaufort Sea and cross-boundary in the United States and Canada. The Fellow will build on initial scoping conducted by MCI team members and will work closely with the MCI team throughout the investigation.  The Fellow should be an accomplished individual with experience, expertise in, and knowledge of the Arctic and other fields relevant to marine conservation, with substantive experience as a strategic thinker and passion for the work of MCI.  The Arctic Fellowship is an intensive, two-year commitment. A full position description and application directions can be found at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.



Funding Opportunities

This month brings several grant opportunities associated with private foundations,  listed below in order of application deadlines.  Faculty interested in applying should contact Chris Thompson, the College’s Associate Director for Corporate and Foundation Relations, at 206-221-6372 or



Save the Redwoods League Forest Ecosystems Research Fund

The League's research grant program supports basic and applied hypothesis-driven research that expands the understanding of ecosystem function, community interactions, rare and threatened species, and the impact of climate change on redwood forests. Proposals welcomed on all topics that can advance the understanding of these ecosystems, with a special current interest in projects that focus on the effectiveness of forest restoration techniques; the impact of climate change on forest biogeochemical cycling; the effect of forest management on wildlife; and the impact of fire on young and old-growth forests. Grant requests should not exceed $15,000.  Deadline: November 4, 2011.  For more information, click here.



The Washington Women’s Foundation (WWF) Annual Pooled Grants

Each year, Washington Women's Foundation awards large impact grants of $50,000 to $100,000 in each of five areas: arts and culture; education; environment; health; and human services. The Grant Committee looks for opportunities that provide a response to critical and urgent needs; initiate bold new ventures; and foster new approaches to ongoing problems.  WWF will accept up to 6 LOIs from the University distributed across the 5 pooled grants categories. Letters of inquiry should be emailed to Chris Thompson by 5 p.m. on Monday, November 7th.  For those selected, full proposals will be due in February 2012. For more information, click here.



Fisheries Innovation Fund Invites Pre-Proposals for Second Grant Round of 2011

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's Fisheries Innovation Fund (FIF), created through a partnership among NOAA, the Walton Family Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, is seeking to award $1-2 million for projects focused on sustainable fisheries.  The program is designed to foster innovation and support the efforts of fishermen and fishing communities working to create sustainable fisheries in the US. Successful proposals will offer innovative approaches to building the capacity and sustainability of fishing communities; promoting full utilization of annual catch limits and minimizing bycatch of overfished and endangered species; and improving the quality, quantity, and timeliness of fisheries-dependent data used for science, management, and fishermen's business purposes. All persons, organizations, and agencies (excluding employees of the federal government) are eligible to apply.  The majority of awards will fall in the range of $50,000 to $200,000 (upper and lower award limits are not specified). Projects may run for up to two years and matching contributions are preferred but not required.  Application deadline:  November 10, 2011.  Grant recipients announced in April 2012.  For more information, click here



National Forest Foundation Announces 2012 Matching Awards Program

The National Forest Foundation, nonprofit partner of the U.S. Forest Service, works to engage America in community-based and national programs that promote the health and public enjoyment of the National Forest System. NFF is currently soliciting proposals for its Matching Awards Program, which provides matching funds for direct on-the-ground and citizen-based monitoring projects. MAP funds can be used to support conservation and restoration projects in the areas of wildlife habitat improvement, recreation, watershed health and restoration, and community-based forestry. NFF requires projects to show a strong commitment to civic engagement and community involvement through on-the-ground conservation, restoration, and monitoring projects. Past awards range from $500 to over $100,000. Organizations new to NFF should keep their first proposal to a moderate sum. All MAP awards require at least a 1:1 cash match of non-federal funds and all projects must be completed within one year. MAP projects are selected for funding through a two-stage process. Those that successfully complete an online questionnaire will be invited to submit a proposal for consideration. Deadline round 1:  January 17, 2012.   For more information, click here.




Earth and Space Sciences Assistant Professor Kate Huntington, along with Gina Schmalzle, who recently completed a NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship in ESS, were among 14 scientists nationwide recently invited by First Lady Michelle Obama and the National Science Foundation to attend a White House ceremony announcing the NSF Career-Life Balance Initiative. The new initiative is to be applied foundationwide to help postdoctoral fellows and early-career faculty members balance caring for dependents with continuing successfully in their careers. To learn more, click here to read about the ceremony, or here to view video coverage of the event.


Women of Color EmpoweredWomen of Color Empowered! recognized two members of the College of the Environment at their recent “Eco Women Making a Difference in the Environment” luncheon on September 23, 2011: Amanda Bruner (Research Scientist and Outreach Coordinator with SoundCitizen, School of Oceanography) was honored for her work with the public to research how chemicals from everyday household products travel into Puget Sound, and Lekelia “Kiki” Jenkins (Assistant Professor, School of Marine and Environmental Affairs), was honored for her work in the invention and adoption of marine conservation technologies. Jenkins and Bruner were among 18 accomplished “Eco women” across the Puget Sound area honored at the event. To learn more, visit: Eco Women Make Their Footprint in the Environment.


The Ecological Society of America's Sustainability Science Award is given to the authors of a scholarly work that "makes the greatest contribution to the emerging science of ecosystem and regional sustainability through the integration of ecological and social sciences." This year's recipients of the award are the authors of Rebuilding Global Fisheries (published in Science in 2009), including School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences faculty members Ray Hilborn and Trevor Branch.


The American Meteorological Society (AMS) has announced that, at its annual meeting in January, Chris Bretherton (Atmospheric Sciences) will be awarded the Jule Charney Award, in recognition of his "fundamental contributions to our understanding of atmospheric moist convection, particularly the discovery of mechanisms governing the transition from stratocumulus to shallow cumulus convection"; Amy Snover (Climate Impacts Group) will receive an Editor's Award for contributing to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society a "detailed and thoughtful review that helped the authors restructure and strengthen their manuscript"; and Mike Wallace (Atmospheric Sciences) will be welcomed as an elected Honorary Member of the Society.


The Western Society of Naturalists has named Friday Harbor Labs resident scientist and Biology research professor Megan Dethier as the 2011 Naturalist of the Year. This award recognizes "those unsung heroes who define our future by inspiring young people with the wonders and sheer joy of natural history".


The College of the Environment is pleased to be able to acknowledge the contributions and high level of scholarship of many of our faculty through the support of endowed professorships and chairs. Since the end of the last academic year, the UW Board of Regents have approved the following new appointments:


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