Autumn 2011- Winter 2012
From the Director
“A Change in the Air…or Water?”
I have enjoyed writing these messages over the last 14 years to say hello, give news of major events within the School, and share our sense of deep pride for numerous honors that come to faculty, staff, and students, past and present.
I also have enjoyed thanking you for your extraordinary generosity on an individual basis and as a team, contributing to major campaigns such as our highly successful “Students First” initiative, which continues to allow us to recruit top undergraduates. I am sad to say that relentless state budget cuts continue to reduce our educational financial base. Yet, I am very grateful to say that your sustained generosity endures as a major reason why we can still attract, support, and mentor the very best graduate and undergraduate students from Washington State and around the nation. Your partnership role as contributors to SAFS’ educational and research missions continues to ensure that our School remains one of the top-ranked fisheries and aquatic sciences programs in the country.
To stay competitive in recruitment, SAFS remains steadfast in our policy that all incoming graduate students are assured 1.5–2 years funding. This enables them to focus on developing their research without the additional stress of worrying about funding. While our superb international reputation is a compelling reason for prospective students to select our program, the reality of high tuition and living costs, and the lingering impact of later debt, make essential various forms of financial support, including your gifts. The scope of your giving in providing student support is captured in this newsletter’s “Degrees Awarded” column. Of the 23 people who received MS and PhD degrees, 22 benefited from significant endowment support during their careers with us.
We also continue to provide substantial funding for undergraduates. Last year, SAFS allocated nearly $60,000 to help recruit top students and support those already here in a number of ways, with awards ranging from a few $100s to $7,000. This support may go to tuition, collaborative internships with the NOAA Alaska Fishery Science Center, capstone research projects required of our BS majors, and travel to national conferences to present posters and talks.
So what sense of change is in the air…or more appropriately for SAFS, “in the water?” As much as I’ve enjoyed the 14-year ride as Director, it is now time to turn leadership over to someone with a fresh perspective and unlimited stamina. We are fortunate to have found the perfect person…André Punt! I am pleased that André has agreed to serve as Interim Director for the next academic year while he and the faculty consider who will be the person recommended to Dean Lisa Graumlich for a longer appointment. André has already racked up experience as an administrator, having served as Associate Director since last April. During that time, he has been essential in efforts to balance budgets and plan for strategic initiatives that will keep SAFS at the forefront of emerging fields. André is known the world over for his contributions to fishery management and stock assessment, from key roles with the local NOAA Fisheries Science Centers to membership on international committees. Please join me in welcoming him to this vital leadership role. I can tell you, André, that 14 years pass faster than you imagine.
And please join me in wishing Marcus Duke good fortune in his new position. Marcus has been the composer and editor of this newsletter for many years as well as a core member of the SAFS staff. He has served the School in many different roles over the years, including technical editor, web developer, and information specialist. We have read his name as “MD” in the many interviews with faculty and alumni, and he has been the catalyst who compiles the stories about the School. I suspect after 32 years on the staff, Marcus is as much an institution in SAFS as the veteran faculty. We will miss him, but are glad he moves only a short distance away to expand his career with Washington Sea Grant. Have fun, Marcus, and thanks for the writing, music, and wry humor along the way.
If there is any take-home message in this report to you, it is this: Despite numerous personnel changes in various positions and punishing impacts of state budget cuts, SAFS is still the best academic home in the world for learning, interaction, collaboration, solutions, and stimulation tied to aquatic science and resource management.