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Dean's monthly update

December 2005

In my webpage greeting as Dean, I note that “The UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences is a community of scholars that provides opportunities for students and faculty to learn and conduct research in one of the most beautiful locations in the world.”  Our focus is rightfully on our students and I am pleased to report that in November nine (9) of our graduate students turned in their theses for graduation.  They were

Amy Ruehs Childers – Ph.D. in Oceanography
Sang Heon Lee – Ph.D. in Oceanography
John J. Piccolo – Ph.D. in Fisheries
Mikhail A. Blikshteyn – M.S. in Fisheries
Casey William Jones Debenham – M.S. in Marine Biology
Carrie L. Hoover – M.S. in Fisheries
Julie Kristine Nielsen – M.S. in Fisheries
Jamie David Thomton – M.S. in Marine Biology
Shiway W. Wang – M.S. in Marine Biology

Congratulations to these students and best wishes for continued success in your careers.

On November 1, I met with Provost Reichardt to discuss SFOS activities during FY05.  Some of the highlights he noted in our discussion were progress on revamping of the B.S. in Fisheries, solidifying a leadership role for UAF in the Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS), and obtaining funds to complete our Fisheries building at Lena Point.  Our efforts in all these areas will be ongoing during the next year, with the Lena Point groundbreaking in Juneau scheduled for April 20 during the SFOS Advisory Council meeting.

A group from SFOS (Tom Smith, Nici Murawsky, Ruth Post and Denis Wiesenburg) met with UAF Grants and Contracts personnel (Maggie Griscavage, Leah Hines, and Thomas Gleason) on November 3 for “Ship 101.”  The group spent a full day discussing methods for managing the ship operating funds for the R/V Alpha Helix and the planned Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV).  A good time was had by all.

I participated in the Alaska Sea Grant (ASG) Advisory Committee in Anchorage on November 9 and 10.  Sea Grant Director Brian Allee has assembled twenty-seven distinguished individuals to provide advice on ASG activities.  The meeting examined the ASG Strategic Plan and made plans for the September 2006 Performance Assessment Team (PAT) visit. A highlight of the meeting was the luncheon keynote presentation by the eloquent former Lt. Governor Fran Ulmer on “Partnering and Collaboration.”  My task for the meeting was to give the after dinner speech the same evening on the same topic.  Thanks Brian.

On November 10, I met in Anchorage with Diane Kaplan, Executive Director, and Ricardo Lopez, Program Assistant, from the Rasmuson Foundation.  The meeting was to prepare for a visit by Dr. Andy Rosenberg for the University of New Hampshire, a consultant to the Rasmuson Foundation.  Dr. Rosenberg and Mr. Lopez (a UAF biology graduate) visited with us on November 13.  Fisheries Division Director Bill Smoker came to Fairbanks for the meeting.  We presented an outline of the request we have put forward to the Rasmuson Foundation to provide funding to enhance our SFOS academic and research programs and discussed opportunities to improve our programs.  Their visit included a meeting with UA President Hamilton and Vice President Craig Dorman.

The Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS) Governing Board met in Anchorage on November 21 and 22.  Mark Johnson, Rob Cermak, and I attended for SFOS.  Mark and Rob presented their efforts in running the AOOS Modeling and Analysis Group (MAG) and the Data Management and Communication (DMAC) efforts.  SFOS received $1.3M in funding from AOOS in FY05 and anticipates over $800,000 in funding next year.

Many SFOS faculty spent the month of November working on proposals for three major research initiatives.  Proposals in response to the $3.5M Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim Sustainable Salmon Initiative (AYKSSI), the National Science Foundation Bering Ecosystem Study (BEST) and the $5.1M North Pacific Research Board (NPRB) announcement are all due in early December.

The traditional SFOS Thanksgiving Feast was held in 501 IARC on November 23.  The outside air was brisk with an overnight temperature of -20 F, but the inside atmosphere was warm as faculty, staff, students and their families joined in this annual meal. Everyone brought food and the faculty were responsible for the turkeys, room set up and organization.  They managed to pull this off by bringing in Emeritus Professor Jim Reynolds to help prepare the turkeys.  The food was fabulous (especially the desserts) and a truly good time was had by all (seriously, this time).