To be the interim director of the School of Natural Resources (SNR) in the year 2020 has been quite an experience. Most days, a survey of the news has revealed the scope of challenges that Mother Nature and humanity have to offer. In the midst of a pandemic, social justice issues, and budgetary woes, the SNR staff and faculty have stepped up to all challenges, true to form, and continued to create much to celebrate.
To begin, we’ll meet the pandemic head on. In case you missed it, Dr. Chung-Ho Lin has partnered with faculty across campus to work on enhanced detection of coronavirus in wastewater. This is important work related directly to the pandemic, with SNR and other MU labs conducting weekly tests on wastewater samples from across Missouri. While more lofty scientific discoveries will surely come from these efforts, they also highlight one of the things that we do best in SNR: giving back. Such applied science efforts may not always be glamorous, but in this case MU researchers, in SNR and elsewhere, are directly assisting public health officials and very likely helping to save lives in the process.
In February of this year, Dr. Chris Daubert, the Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, named SNR faculty member Dr. Samniqueka Halsey as the College’s first faculty Fellow for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity. Dr. Halsey’s scientific work is already making positive contributions to SNR. Her leadership in this Fellowship capacity underscores her strengths as a role model for students and faculty alike.
There have been quite a few awards bestowed upon SNR citizens in the last year. A few of the more recent ones are highlighted here:
- Laura Hertel – Dana Brown Haynes Distinguished Service Award
- Dr. Charles Nilon – The William J. Rucker Professorship in Fisheries and Wildlife
- Dr. Anthony Lupo – SEC Faculty Achievement Award
- Dr. Randy Miles – Thomas Jefferson Award
- Dr. Chung-Ho – President’s Award for Economic Development
The first half of 2020 has been marked by a number of arrivals and departures. In 2020, we have welcomed faculty members Dr. Michelle Brimecombe, Assistant Teaching Professor of Sport Management, and Dr. Morgan Davis, Assistant Professor of Soil Biogeochemistry and Ecological Sustainability, as well as new staff members Tammie Gross, SNR Business Manager, Tavair Tapp, Office Support Assistant in the SNR Academic Offices, and Ashley Newson of the National Parks Service. In 2020, we also said so long to faculty members Dr. Peter Motavalli and Dr. David Vaught due to retirement, and Dr. Matt Gompper, Dr. Todd Wilkerson, and Dr. Laura Browning due to other opportunities. Our departing staff members were Angela Carey, Julie Forsyth, and Sarah Humfeld, all to other opportunities.
Our student numbers remained strong through the last academic year, with 702 undergraduates and 115 graduate students in SNR. Current predictions for Fall 2020 show those numbers holding steady in spite of external pressures. Also, our faculty continue to be quite successful in delivering instruction to our students as well as creating new knowledge from external grants and contracts. In fact, SNR grant submissions were $13.1M in FY2019, up from $12.8M in FY 2018. Clearly, we have a bright and driven group.
If you have questions or comments, please feel to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interim Director, School of Natural Resources