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e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry

ESF Launches ‘Discovery Challenge’

SUNY to invest yearly in several new initiatives

Green Roof on Gateway Center with Jahn Laboratory

The College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) has begun to plan its future with the "ESF Discovery Challenge."

The Discovery Challenge will engage the ESF community in identifying three to five cross-cutting initiatives that will be supported by SUNY funding; each project would receive up to $200,000 annually for three years.

"We are going to build on ESF's strengths, assets and partnerships to position the College for future growth, enhanced prominence and increased funding streams," said Interim President David C. Amberg. "We will identify ways to build new academic, industry and government relationships, so we can have a true global impact. Ultimately, the goal is to further distinguish ESF asthe College of Environmental Science and Forestry - a premier destination for environmental scientists and the best students interested in becoming tomorrow's visionary leaders in environmental, conservation and sustainability research, education, practice and policy."

ESF's process is modeled after the "Framework for the Future" that was designed and implemented by SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson while she was the provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Johns Hopkins University.

"My staff and I have worked over the last two months to design a process that models the chancellor's Framework process but makes it specific to ESF's needs," Amberg said. "We are asking the campus to build off the large body of work already performed in recent rounds of strategic planning."

The ESF Discovery Challenge establishes three advisory groups to the president: The Discovery Advisory Group, The People Advisory Group, and the Ways and Means Advisory Group.

The Discovery Advisory Group will identify and describe the three to five initiatives that will receive SUNY funding. The college will work with the ESF College Foundation Inc. and Chancellor Johnson to seek additional funding for the strategic priority areas. Consideration will be given to impact, relevance and importance to ESF and its constituents, with a focus on global impact.

The People Advisory Group will focus on ESF's human resources - faculty, students and staff - and how to empower them to reach their full capacity to perform and support cutting-edge research, education and outreach with a global impact.

The Ways and Means Advisory Group is charged with mapping a pathway to a sustainable financial future for ESF that simultaneously invests in and empowers the faculty, staff, and students to engage in innovative research, education and outreach.

The advisory groups will be led by nine co-chairs:

  • Discovery Advisory Group: Dr. Donald Leopold, chair of the Department of Environmental and Forest Biology (EFB); Dr. Christopher Nomura, vice president for research; and Dr. Timothy Volk, senior research associate in the Department of Forest and Natural Resources Management (FNRM).
  • People Advisory Group: Dr. Nosa Egiebor, provost and executive vice president; Dr. Jacqueline Frair, associate professor in EFB; and Dr. Lindi Quackenbush, chair of the Department of Environmental Resources Engineering.
  • Ways and Means Advisory Group: Dr. David Newman, professor in FNRM; Joseph Rufo, vice president for administration and chief financial officer; and Dr. Gary Scott, professor in the Department of Paper and Bioprocess Engineering.

The advisory groups are expected to complete their work by May 1.