Ecologist Indy Burke Named F&ES Dean

Ingrid C. “Indy” Burke, an accomplished ecosystem ecologist and director of the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Wyoming (UW), has been appointed the 16th Dean of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES).
 
Burke, who is also the Wyoming Excellence Chair of Ecology at the University of Wyoming, will join F&ES on Oct. 1, Yale President Peter Salovey announced in a message to the community. She will be the first female Dean in the School’s history, and her initial term runs through June 30, 2021.
ingrid burke
University of Wyoming
Ingrid C. “Indy” Burke
“Professor Burke brings to Yale significant leadership skills and a dedication to education and research,” wrote Salovey in his announcement. “A biogeochemist whose work focuses on semiarid rangelands and on the effects of land management and climate on these systems, she is a respected intellectual leader in the United States and internationally, with a particular interest in fostering interdisciplinary scholarship.”

The Haub School is among the top institutions in the western United States for research, teaching, and outreach in natural resources, and during Burke’s eight-year tenure, it has developed an international reputation. Under her direction, the school has grown dramatically in enrollment, joint degree programs, philanthropic donations, and engagement in state- and region-wide land management and policy.

“She has a personal passion for promoting diversity and inclusion that she has brought to her leadership role,” noted Salovey.

Burke’s appointment concludes an eight-month search for a new dean that began last fall. She will succeed Peter Crane, who, after seven years as Dean, left Yale in June to become president of the newly created Oak Spring Garden Foundation in Virginia.
 
“I am incredibly thankful to the search committee and the entire F&ES community, which provided such valuable input throughout the process,” said Karen Seto, a Professor of Geography and Urbanization Science at F&ES and Chair of the Dean Search Committee. “In the end we had a strong and diverse set of candidates from across the world.”
 
“In recommending Indy Burke, we were particularly impressed by her academic background and accomplishments as a distinguished ecosystem ecologist and her proven track record of leading a diverse interdisciplinary environment program,” Seto said.      
She has a unique mix of doing innovative science with award-winning teaching and commitment to outreach and stakeholder engagement.
— Karen Seto
“She has a unique mix of doing innovative science with award-winning teaching and commitment to outreach and stakeholder engagement. And her management and leadership experience will be strong assets for the School.”

Burke earned her bachelor of science (in biology) from Middlebury College and her doctoral degree (in botany) at the University of Wyoming, beginning her career at Colorado State University in 1987 before returning to Wyoming to join its faculty in 2008. She has received extensive grant funding and published more than 150 peer-reviewed articles, chapters, books, and reports; developed undergraduate and graduate interdisciplinary environmental programs; and served on numerous committees and boards for national scientific organizations. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

When she assumes the deanship, Burke will be joined at Yale by her husband, William (Bill) Lauenroth, currently a professor in the Department of Botany at the University of Wyoming. Lauenroth is an ecologist with expertise in dryland ecosystems, climate change, and eco-hydrology. He has conducted research in the United States, South America, and Asia, and has mentored more than 30 graduate students who now are established in the field. His work examines the impact that climate change will have on drylands in the western United States. Like Burke, he is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Burke and Lauenroth have two adult children, both of whom live in the Rocky Mountain West: Amelia, who earned her B.A. in Spanish from the University of Wyoming, and Ben, who graduated from the Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Indy is an exceptional scholar with an international reputation and an inspiring teacher who has thought deeply about interdisciplinary environmental education and program development.
— James Saiers
Until Burke assumes the deanship in October, the School will continue to be led by Interim Dean James Saiers, the Clifton R. Musser Professor of Hydrology at F&ES and former Associate Dean of Academic Affairs.
 
“Indy is an exceptional scholar with an international reputation and an inspiring teacher who has thought deeply about interdisciplinary environmental education and program development,” Saiers said. “She has a collaborative leadership style, experience in directing major schools and programs, and has succeeded admirably in advancing these programs through cooperation with faculty, students, staff, and alumni alike.
 
“And very importantly, Indy has a proven track record in promoting diversity in the sciences through outreach and engagement of various stakeholders. We are delighted and very lucky that Indy has agreed to take the helm of F&ES. And I know she can’t wait to get started.”
– Kevin Dennehy    kevin.dennehy@yale.edu    203 436-4842
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PUBLISHED: July 21, 2016
 

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