January 15, 2019
Jackson School community,
It has been my honor and privilege to serve as dean of the Jackson School of Geosciences over the last 10 years. Watching the work and growth of the faculty, researchers and students within these halls has been one of my greatest joys, and I will always carry with me the relationships and friendships I’ve forged here. But it is time for me to transition to the next step in my life, and I will be stepping down as dean of the Jackson School and return to the faculty effective Aug. 31, 2019.
This was a difficult decision, but it is the right one for me, and it is wholly my decision. In many ways, this is a very exciting time for me. As many of you know, I have been leading the NSF-sponsored effort to revamp undergraduate geosciences curricula across the nation, and I have recently taken on a similar role in an NSF-sponsored initiative on the skills and competencies needed by geoscience graduate students. Both are vitally important and time-consuming tasks, and I look forward to giving them my full attention, as well as continuing research on the evolution of the Australian/Pacific plate boundary and the Precambrian of Texas and Western Australia.
The Jackson School is a special place. As I prepare to leave, I do so knowing that it is on solid footing and poised to do great things in the future, as outlined in the school’s new 10-year strategic plan. Finances are stable, our reputation is strong, and our rankings (as illustrated by the No. 1 ranking in Geology in the country by the U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 edition of “Best Graduate Schools”) place us among the very best in the nation and the world.
When I started as an assistant professor here 40 years ago, I couldn’t imagine half of what this school would accomplish. As dean, I’ve had the honor of helping integrate three world-class units – the Department of Geological Sciences, the Institute for Geophysics and the Bureau of Economic Geology – to create a scientific institution unmatched in combined scope, impact and direct societal relevance of its Earth and planetary science activities. I’ve seen the school double in size, bringing on and retaining exceptional faculty, research scientists, postdoctoral scientists and research staff, in addition to outstanding graduate and undergraduate students. I’ve seen research collaborations that wouldn’t have been thought possible only a few decades or even years back. The list could go on and on. But most important to me, I have had the privilege of working with and getting to know the great people who have helped make this school a special place. It has been very rewarding and wonderful to work with such outstanding faculty, researchers, scientists and the amazing leadership team and staff at the Jackson School. And one of the most rewarding parts of being dean has been working with and meeting alumni and friends of the school. I’ve particularly loved watching the students that I taught grow and progress in their lives and careers.
I have accomplished all I set out to do when I agreed to take on the role of dean a decade ago. It is now time for me to concentrate on new challenges and hand the mantle to someone who has the vision to lead the school as it takes on the challenges of the next century, and who can continue building the robust research and academic community of the Jackson School.
Sharon Mosher, Dean