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Dean's monthly updates

November 2006

November 1st found me at the downtown Marriott Hotel in Anchorage where I attended the first morning of the three-day Minerals Management Service (MMS) Workshop on Chukchi Offshore Monitoring in Drilling Area (COMIDA).  Associate Professor Tom Weingartner gave one of the keynote presentations on Chukchi Physical Oceanography while Professor Emeritus Sathy Naidu spoke about Chukchi Sea Metals/Sediment Chemistry.  The purpose of the workshop was to develop a plan for a $6.0M multi-year, multi-disciplinary research initiative to be undertaken in 2008-2011.

Later that day, I met in Anchorage with Todd Vanhove, Area Planner for Alaska Department of Transportation (DOT) along with Tom Smith and Nici Murawsky (UAF Seward Marine Center), Willard Dunham from the Seward City Council, and Kristin Erchinger, Seward Finance Director.  Gregory Kaplan from Congressman Young’s Anchorage office also attended.  We discussed the plan for building the dock for the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV) with Mr. Vanhove, as DOT is managing the design and engineering funds ($2.5M) for the dock in Seward. At the end of the month, we are still waiting to hear back from DOT concerning the dock funds.

SFOS participated in the UAF Natural Resources/Natural Sciences Career Day on November 8.  Katie Murra, Recruiting and Retention Coordinator, organized our career information booth to provide students information about job opportunities in fisheries and marine science.  I made a brief presentation to the students and the panel of potential employers at the evening festivities.  Earlier that day at Provost Council, we learned that UAF carry forward funds in the amount of $37,200 will be provided to SFOS to support graduate students this year.  Bill Smoker and Tom Weingartner are deciding how to allocate the funds.

I spent November 9-15 in Texas.  My activities included visiting with research scientists and faculty at Texas A&M University (College Station) who are involved in ocean observing.  The Texas A&M Department of Oceanography has developed a master’s level certificate program in ocean observing.  I also attended the National Association of State University and Land Grant Colleges (NASULGC) annual meeting in Houston where I participated in the Board of Oceans and Atmospheres meeting.  UAF Chancellor Steve Jones and Vice Chancellor for Research Buck Sharpton also attended the meeting.  I must admit that while the meeting was interesting and I enjoyed discussing issues important to state universities, the highlight of the trip was the Texas A&M - Nebraska football game that I attended along with 83,000 rabid fans.  Nebraska won 28-27 by scoring a touchdown in the last 21 seconds.

The work on the proposal to capture the Alaska Region Research Vessel (ARRV) accelerated this month as Terry Whitledge and the proposal team ramped up their efforts to complete the proposal before the end of December.  Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services Ro Bailey has been a big help in moving the construction management part of the proposal forward.  Gen. Bailey was involved in contracting during her career in the U.S. Air Force and brings significant insight to the effort.  Please remember that UAF is preparing a competitive proposal for this vessel. The National Science Foundation (NSF) will award the vessel construction and operation based upon this open competition.  To help assure our success, our proposal writing effort started almost two years ago, and we are working diligently to assure our proposal will be the best received by NSF.

As the month of November ended, SFOS had three active faculty job searches.  We are seeking a Marine Advisory Program faculty member (term) for a new position in Nome that is funded by the Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation.  Our chemical and geological oceanography positions (Fairbanks) have yielded 30 applicants and the search committee should begin the review process in December.  We anticipate bringing candidates to Alaska during January or February to make sure they can handle the Fairbanks winter.

Denis