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Dean's monthly update

March 2005

A quick review of the News section of the SFOS web site reveals the vitality of our programs around the state this past month.  I was pleased to be able to announce this week that sixteen (16) of our support staff have received university informal recognition awards for their efforts in the past year.  Our outstanding staff members contribute significantly to the success of our teaching, research and outreach efforts.  The list of those recognized can be found at http://www.sfos.uaf.edu/news/story/?ni=122.  The Sea Grant staff asked that rather than being considered for awards, any award money they might be eligible to receive be directed to student support.

The National Ocean Science Bowl (aka the Tsunami Bowl) was a tremendous success again this year.  Juneau-Douglas High School (Team Stellar) took home the top prize, but in a way every participant is a winner as their awareness of the ocean and its resources increased.  Susan Sugai, Phyllis Shoemaker, Carol Kaynor and all faculty and staff who helped make the Tsunami Bowl successful are to be congratulated for making the Tsunami Bowl one of the best in the nation.  Information on the participants and winners can be found at http://www.sfos.uaf.edu/news/story/?ni=117.

I continue to work on several major SFOS issues including reducing our deficit with financial help from the Provost, obtaining funding for our Fisheries Division building at Lena Point in Juneau, seeking federal funding for the Alaska part of the ocean observing system, improving our academic programs, and developing the proposal to build and operate (when funded) the Alaska Region Research Vessel.

During the past month, I traveled to Seattle on February 9 and 10 to attend a reception that UAF Chancellor Steve Jones hosted for members of the Pollock Conservation Cooperative.  The PCC provides support to our PCC Research Center and has endowed our Ted Stevens Chair in Marine Policy.  The search committee is now reviewing applicants for that position. 

I don’t recommend the 2:00 a.m. flight from Fairbanks if you intend to work in Seattle that day.  I only pretended to be awake that morning when Gordon Kruse chaired the Scientific and Statistical Committee meeting of the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council. Sit in the back of the room if you take the 2:00 a.m. flight.

While in Seattle, I had an opportunity to meet with SFOS Advisory Council members Knut Aagaard and Chris Mitchell and to visit SeaBird Electronics in Bellevue, Washington, to discuss new instrumentation for ocean observing.  One of the highlights of the trip was the opportunity for Chancellor Jones and me to visit with Dr. Arthur Nowell, Dean of the School of Ocean and Fisheries Science at UW.  We had an opportunity to tour their facilities, including the 100,000 sq. ft. Fisheries and Aquatic Science Building.  I told the Chancellor we needed one like that in Juneau and another in Fairbanks.

On February 16-18, I was in Juneau to meet with UAS Chancellor John Pugh and UAF Chancellor Steve Jones to discuss our requirement for the new facility at Lena Point.  When both Chancellors got stuck in the elevator of the Anderson Building everyone gained a higher appreciation of the need for a new facility.  We are working with our legislators on this. Chancellor Jones held a reception at the Hangar in Juneau for state legislators and other supports of the Fisheries Division on February 17.  Turnout was great and included three Fairbanks legislators.  Many thanks to Bill Smoker and his staff for hosting this event.

We learned in February that funding for the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV) had been moved to the FY07 NSF budget.  Apparently NSF requested the funding for next year (FY06), but the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) moved it to FY07.  I am off to Washington, DC next week to meet with NSF program managers and some of our Congressional staffers to discuss the prospects for funding the ARRV, among other issues.  I return just in time for the SFOS Advisory Council which meets in Fairbanks March 12 and 13 (yes we are working on the weekend).

Other trips I will make in March include the North Pacific Research Board meeting in Anchorage March 15-17 and the Fishery Industrial Technology Center (FITC) Policy Board meeting in Kodiak on March 18.  The following week I will be in Anchorage again (March 22) for the Rasmuson Fisheries Research Center Board meeting before heading to Washington, DC again March 28-31 for the UNOLS Council meeting.  If you would like me to visit one of your program managers at NSF or another federal agency during my late March trip, please let me know.

Catch me if you can!

Denis