Great Lakes Research Institute hires five faculty members in effort to 'maintain leadership reputation'



The Great Lakes Research Institute has several new changes including the hiring of five faculty members and course expansion.

According to the Year-End Academic Review, “[CMU] strengthened the ranks of our strong faculty by hiring new tenure-track faculty across the campus, including the hiring of a cohort of five excellent faculty members focusing on Great Lakes research.”

Dr. Deric Learman, Dr. Anthony Chappaz, Dr. Yong Tian, Dr. Hunter Carrick, Dr. Kevin Pangle and Dr. Andrew Mahon were hired last spring and are the newest members of the institute.

Dr. Donald Uzarski, Director of the Institute for Great Lakes Research, said Central Michigan University was looking to build on what the university deems one of its strengths and performed a search for new faculty members. Plans are in the works to add new courses within the program, starting this summer with a class at the CMU biological station on Beaver Island.

“We currently have 21 members in the institute and poised to be internationally recognized in Great Lakes research,” he said. “They are all tenured or tenure-track permanent positions.”

Faculty members were chosen from a large pool of applicants. The institute, composed of faculty members from the geography, biology, chemistry and earth and atmospheric sciences departments, was rewarded with an exclusive grant from the university, part of a 44-percent increase in research funding during the 2010-11 fiscal year.

“We did an international search and received a large amount of applications representing several companies. We are confident, however, that our five new faculty members are of the highest caliber,” Uzarski said.

The new faculty members have varied areas of expertise including geology, biology, chemistry and geography.

“[The faculty] all have similar interests, but we’re looking mainly for efficiency in numbers,” said Associate Professor of Geography Brian Becker. “Rather than having to call another university if I need a specialist in a certain field, it’s nice to be under the same roof. It’s much easier to go next door and request help.”

Goals of the newly-hired faculty include teaching and organizing new classes as well as keeping the reputation of the Great Lakes Institute. Currently, the institute is working on two separate research projects, studying the effects of habitat fragmentation on wetland biota and Great Lakes wetlands as refugees for native fishes.

“We hope to build our strengths in Great Lakes research and to help maintain our position as a leader in this field,” he said.


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