As my six-year tenure as the college’s associate dean for research draws to a close, I find myself reflecting on what a rich, rewarding, occasionally exasperating and always interesting experience it has been. Bookended by transformative and contentious elections at the state and federal levels, it’s been a time of significant challenge and change for the college.
What drew me to this position was my lifelong passion for biological research, a desire to serve the university beyond my role as a faculty member, and an interest in new challenges. For those, this position has been a perfect fit. I continue to be amazed at the caliber of research conducted in CALS—basic to applied, laboratory to field. I’ve had opportunities to work with very smart, humble and engaging people across campus to advance the UW research mission. And challenges? More and greater than anticipated. Although they continue nonstop, I’ve taken comfort in confronting them alongside bright, committed and resourceful colleagues.
Thanks to all of you for entrusting me with stewardship of the CALS research mission. It was a responsibility I did not take lightly. Indeed, for the last six years, a refrain on continuous play in my mind has been that this position is the Associate Dean for Research (rather than of Research). My job has been to enhance, promote, facilitate and protect the research endeavors of the college. For your service when requested, confrontation when needed, advice when floundering, and overall good humor, I am indebted.
As I return to the full-time faculty ranks, I’m excited to re-engage with research and students. And although I will miss much about my job in Ag Hall, I’m encouraged to know that the CALS administration is more stable and high functioning than ever before in my tenure. And with Bill Barker as my successor, I’m confident it will become even more so.
With profound gratitude for six memorable years, and keen anticipation for what lies ahead,