We welcomed the Center for Geospatial Information Technology (CGIT) to the college in July. CGIT brings intellectual resources to our already strong faculty expertise in geospatial science and technology. While our forestry, fish and wildlife, geography, and Conservation Management Institute faculty have been working in the geospatial arena for decades, all our faculty continue to explore innovative solutions to the many challenges we face in managing and using our natural resources and sustaining the environment, often employing geospatial information. CGIT is a new power tool in our modern toolbox as the college continues to “advance the science of sustainability.”

Joel Snodgrass from Towson University joined us this fall as the new head of the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation. The teaching, research, and outreach activities of the fish and wildlife faculty are exceptionally strong, and we welcome Dr. Snodgrass to this important leadership role.

Our meteorology faculty and graduate students have been working to create a 3-D replica of the May 2013 Moore, Oklahoma, tornado in the “Cube,” a 4-story high experimental space in the new Moss Arts Center on campus and one of the most unique data exploration environments in the world. Watch for more news about this interesting project that is supported in part by our campus partner, the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology. And, yes, I was able to walk through the funnel cloud during a recent demonstration! The possibilities for study seem endless.

We made important renovations to several spaces in Cheatham Hall over the summer. The animal collections room has been completely made over, including a new museum-quality track storage system, and the entire collection has been cataloged in a database. Many thanks to Professor Carola Hass for managing this important project. We also renovated another Cheatham classroom. Creating high-quality learning environments is a priority for us as we recruit and retain the best students. Room-by-room, we are making investments in our physical facility, but we have reached capacity with all available space and need more room for the college to continue its growth and impact.

Some relevant numbers:

  • There are 187 faculty and staff working in the college per a recent census.
  • College research expenditures topped $15 million for the year ending June 30.
  • There are 750 undergraduate students enrolled in the fall semester.
  • We welcomed an additional 50 graduate students to the college this fall.
  • There are nearly 120 meteorology majors and almost 55 packaging systems and design majors.
  • We welcomed our fifth cohort of students in the Leadership Institute.

Many of you have supported the college in various ways this past year. We are most grateful for your engagement with us. Your time, talents, and resources make a significant difference to us and help provide the margin of excellence that sets our programs apart. We send a genuine thank you on behalf of our faculty, staff, and students!

Best wishes to you from all of us as 2014 draws to a close.