University of Vermont

Dean's Message October 2013

Welcome to the First Rubenstein School Enewsletter

Mary Watzin, former Dean of the Rubenstein School
Mary Watzin

Welcome to our first Rubenstein School Enewsletter!  We hope this new enews format has something for everyone in our growing School community. 

As the University of Vermont welcomes E. Thomas Sullivan as our new President, the leadership of the Rubenstein School is also in transition.  This is my last RSENR Dean's message as I prepare to start a new chapter in my life. On October 1, I will hand the reins of the Rubenstein School over to Interim Dean Jon Erickson and move to Raleigh to become Dean of the College of Natural Resources at North Carolina State University.

It is a bittersweet goodbye. I came to UVM in November 1990 as a research faculty member in the Vermont Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit, became a faculty member in the School with a research focus on water quality and the health of the Lake Champlain, built and directed the Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory at the Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, and led the School's graduate programs. As Dean of the School since 2009, I oversaw the renovation of the Aiken Center into an exciting, new green building that is a leading educational model of energy efficiency and ecological design, and led a strategic planning process for the future of our School in these challenging and exciting times. It has been a wonderful and rewarding ride.

As you will read inside, this academic year, we welcome two new faculty members, Anthony McInnis, in ecological design, and Gillian Galford, in ecosystem ecology. We also have several new staff members and 133 new first year undergraduate students, 15 new MS students, and 5 new students pursuing PhDs. Our overall enrollment remains strong, and now totals over 700 undergraduate and graduate students! Our Steven and Beverly Rubenstein Charitable Foundation gift will provide new resources for scholarships, faculty enrichment, and strategic interdisciplinary initiatives.

This month, our Lake Champlain Sea Grant program, a collaboration of the University of Vermont and State University of New York Plattsburgh, achieved a new milestone. Lake Champlain Sea Grant's excellent performance has earned it a promotion to Coherent Area Program by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. With its new status and with Professor Breck Bowden as the new director, Lake Champlain Sea Grant can further its efforts to improve the study and management of Lake Champlain, Lake George, and their watersheds for long-term environmental health and sustainable economic development.

As I depart for the south, I leave a School that is strong and diverse. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the School in so many ways. While I will always remember the striking beauty of sunsets on Lake Champlain and my many walks in the Vermont woods, in the end, it is the people that bind you to a place, and it is this community of people that I will miss the most.  Thank you for almost 22 wonderful years! I look forward to seeing what comes next in this special place.

With my very best wishes,

Mary Watzin