Brenda Bowen Appointed Chair, Department of Atmospheric Sciences

The College of Science and the College of Mines and Earth Sciences (CMES) are pleased to announce that Professor Brenda Bowen has agreed to serve as the next chair of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences, beginning July 1, 2023. She will continue as the Director of the GCSC while serving as chair and will replace John Horel who has been at the helm of ATMOS for five years.

“Brenda Bowen is an internationally prominent researcher and an experienced academic leader,” said Peter Trapa, Dean of the College of Science. “Bowen’s vision will guide the Department of Atmospheric Sciences in exciting new directions.”

Darryl Butt, out-going dean of the CMES, wrote to his colleagues, “As most of you know, Brenda is a dynamic leader on campus who has a collaborative vision of academics and research. I am really looking forward to watching the synergy between departments in our merged college structure as you all continue to break down barriers of academics and, as I like to say, make two plus two equal something greater than four.”

Said Bowen who begins her tour as chair on July 1, 2023, “I am excited for the opportunity to serve as Chair of Atmospheric Sciences.  I look forward to leading ATMOS in a way that creates stronger connections between our departments and the College of Science as a whole. My goal is to build on the department’s leadership in advancing field stations and long-term field-based science, commitment to conducting and advancing community-based research with highly significant societal relevance, and dedication to training students for careers of the future.”

An interdisciplinary geoscientist, Bowen explores the links between sedimentology, geochemistry and environmental change, particularly in extreme environments.  Recent work is focused on how surface process, groundwater flow and geochemical change impact landscape evolution in human-modified systems using field observations, satellite and airborne remote sensing and a range of lab-based analytical techniques including geochemistry and microscopy.

In addition to her geologic research and teaching, Bowen works to facilitate interdisciplinary sustainability research, practice, and academic programs that address critical issues related to understanding global change and creating sustainable solutions related to energy, resources, climate and equity.

ATMOS is the leading program of weather and climate related research and education in the Intermountain West and is recognized internationally for its expertise in cloud-climate interactions, mountain meteorology, climate physics and dynamics, weather and climate modeling, and tropical meteorology. The department, which celebrated its 75th anniversary earlier this year, houses research and teaching endeavors that provide the knowledge and tools needed by society to address the challenges posed by hazardous weather and climate change in the 21st century. The department is a student-centered department with faculty who are dedicated graduate student mentors and classroom instructors. Several of ATMOS professors have won college or university-wide teaching awards. For more information, read the department’s 2023 magazine Air Currents.

This article was originally posted on the College of Science website.

Academic Senate votes to realign U’s endowment toward positive sustainability investments

The University Academic Senate voted to approve recommendations to realign the University’s endowment toward positive sustainability investments. A series of town halls was conducted throughout the 2020-21 academic year to engage the campus community in a dialogue about this issue. Students attending the town halls overwhelmingly supported moving the University endowment away from financial investments that center on carbon-heavy emissions.

The investigation and resulting recommendations were made by the Senate Ad Hoc Committee for Divestment and Reinvestment Investigation, which was organized to inform the Academic Senate with regards to the divestment of its endowment fund on best actions that balance the economic, ethical, community, and environmental concerns of the university.

The report, and more on the committee, can be found at this link.

Incorporating Sustainability More Broadly into the Curriculum

When hearing the word “sustainability,” some people think of things like recycling and saving energy, but at the U, we realize that this term is relevant in a multitude of actions and areas of study. Faculty at the U can now have sustainability attributes flagged in the course catalog.

Faculty who wish to learn how to incorporate the big ideas of sustainability into their courses are invited to apply to attend the Wasatch Experience, which engages educators in a two-day, team-based workshop in August, followed by regular small-group meetings during the school year. Participants design and implement an action plan to integrate the big ideas of sustainability into their courses. Upon program completion, participants are awarded $500 and receive the University Sustainability Teaching Scholar designation.