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Cultivating new initiatives for the School of Earth and Sustainability
New co-directors exemplify interdisciplinary collaboration
Established in 2016, Griffin served as the founding director of the school and was instrumental in bringing together the ambitious interdisciplinary enterprise. In his role as co-director, DeConto will primarily focus on research, faculty engagement and graduate training. Under the leadership of Griffin and DeConto, SES is preparing to broaden its impact with new interdisciplinary research initiatives.
Both will work alongside the SES steering committee to advance the short and long-term goals of the school; including recruitment of high-quality students and faculty, interdisciplinary collaboration, student success, development and outside investment and excellence in research and teaching.
“We are proud to be a global leader in research, education and outreach in the area of sustainability and our participation in the School of Earth and Sustainability reflects that commitment,” says Tricia Serio, dean of the College of Natural Sciences. “SES facilitates the kind of creative, interdisciplinary, collaborative learning we need to address environmental challenges and the expertise, experience and leadership that Dr. Griffin and Dr. DeConto will bring to this effort will undoubtedly lead us to new heights.”
Rob DeConto is a professor of geosciences. Before joining the faculty at the University of Massachusetts he held research positions at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). He is a recipient of the Tinker-Muse Prize for Science and Policy in Antarctica and a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). “The world is changing at an accelerating pace,” says DeConto. “To me, the School of Earth & Sustainability is about providing sound research outcomes that inform our collective future; and to prepare our undergraduate and graduate students for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, with a long-term view of helping to build a more equitable, healthier and sustainable planet.”
Curt Griffin is a professor of wildlife ecology and conservation, environmental conservation department head. "We are committed to making SES a leader for programs that advance sustainability in the natural and built environments and making UMass Amherst the destination of choice for students, faculty and partners interested in sustainability," says Griffin.