The University Record, May 21, 2001

Senior White House science adviser named dean of SNRE

By Kate Kellogg
News and Information Services

Rosina M. Bierbaum, acting director of the president’s Office of Science and Technology, has been recommended as the new dean of the School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE). President Lee C. Bollinger and Provost Nancy Cantor made the announcement May 16.

Her appointment will be effective Oct. 1, pending approval by the Board of Regents. Bierbaum also will be appointed professor of natural resources and environmental policy, with tenure.

Bierbaum has been acting director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) since Jan. 20. She previously served as the associate director for environment in the office (July 1998–2001). As associate director, Bierbaum was the administration’s senior scientific adviser on environmental research and development on a wide range of issues, including global change, endocrine disrupters, air and water quality, endangered species, biodiversity, ecosystem management, environmental monitoring and cleanup, and energy research and development.

“Dr. Bierbaum’s experience working with environmental science and policy at the national level will be of enormous value to the School,” Cantor said. “She has a remarkably broad command of the environmental landscape. Her intelligence and expertise are perfectly suited to the interdisciplinary scholarly and educational profile of SNRE. Dr. Bierbaum will lead the School superbly in expanding collaborative activity, both on our campus, and nationally and internationally.”

“We are delighted that Dr. Bierbaum has accepted this deanship,” said Bollinger. “In her roles as policy analyst and senior science adviser in Washington, she has worked tirelessly to advance sound environmental policy based on scientific values. Her energy and commitment will surely infect faculty and students within the School and throughout the University.”

Bierbaum worked closely with the President’s National Science and Technology Council and co-chaired its Committee on Environmental and Natural Resources. She is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program at the Department of Defense, and she serves as the OSTP liaison to the National Ocean Research Leadership Council. She was the head of the U.S. delegation to several plenary meetings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (1996–2001).

“Coming home to the academic world as dean of SNRE and faculty member at this world-class university is indeed an honor and privilege,” Bierbaum said. “For two decades, I left scholarly life to work at the interface of science and policy as a translator, assessor and user of knowledge. I learned a great deal about how science can serve society. Now I would like to help educate the next generation of environmental scientists, managers and policy-makers.”

Before moving to the OSTP, Bierbaum worked for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, where she ultimately was named senior associate in the Environment Program. Bierbaum has published widely in professional journals and continues to lecture frequently on natural resources management and global change.

Bierbaum is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and serves on the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable of the National Academy of Sciences. Her awards include the Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Protection Award (1999) and the Waldo E. Smith Medal (2000) from the American Geophysical Union in recognition of her extraordinary service to geophysics.

Bierbaum received a B.S. in biology and a B.A. in English from Boston College, and a Ph.D. in ecology and evolution from the State University of New York, Stony Brook.

“Rosina Bierbaum is a superb choice to be the next dean of SNRE,” said J. David Allan, professor of conservation biology and chair of the search advisory committee. “Dr. Bierbaum combines an unusually broad grasp of environmental science issues with a deep understanding of how science issues translate into policy options. She brings enormous expertise and credibility.”

In welcoming the incoming dean, Barry Rabe, interim dean and professor of environmental policy, said, “Dr. Bierbaum has firsthand knowledge of the challenges inherent in developing environmental policy for the nation and the world. She contributes wisdom from the trenches as well as scholarship to help our faculty and students grapple with these issues.”