Double the SoMAS research enterprise and pursue excellence through disciplinary and
Our approach to excellence is based on three strong interconnected pillars in Marine,
Atmospheric, and Sustainability research. Our research encompasses grand topics that
directly engage society, such as climate change, air and water pollution, sea level
rise, storm surge, extreme weather, radar meteorology, waste management, ocean acidification
and deoxygenation, environmental and public health, sustainable fisheries, and coastal
resilience. The intersection of these areas of research will become increasingly integrated.
The coast, for instance, is where the oceans, atmosphere, land, and society intersect,
where climate-related changes are most acute, and where our research will have increasing
relevance. The responsibility of our research is to guide balanced development and
operating practices that do not jeopardize the life-supporting systems of the Earth
and the quality of life for future generations. Our collective expertise addresses
these challenges in a variety of ways. To secure the resources to make a significant
difference addressing these issues, we will work to double our research enterprise
over the next five years.
OBJECTIVE 1.1: Grow the SoMAS research enterprise by strengthening and facilitating
interaction among the three pillars to maximize our effectiveness.
Ensure that the three pillars of
research have consistent organizational structure, leadership and strength, and promote
interaction. Appoint a Director of
and increase the number of tenure-track
faculty in Sustainability.
- Identify and foster collaborations that explore interconnections among ocean, atmosphere,
land, and society.
- Regularly evaluate and discuss ongoing research, funding opportunities, strategic
initiatives, and future projects.
- Bolster our research enterprise by actively pursuing interdisciplinary research projects
and grant opportunities and building relationships with the private sector and other
Geographic Information Systems
(GIS) and geospatial analysis, an integrative field with relevance to Marine, Atmospheric,
OBJECTIVE 1.2: Enhance the impact of research through innovative engagement outside
Our research can only be more impactful when we communicate effectively. Effective
communication depends as much on active listening as it does on relatable and articulate
speaking across a variety of platforms. To increase the impact of our research, we
will enhance the dialogue among faculty, students and staff with the community, state,
nation, and world.
- Stimulate interdisciplinary research collaborations with other schools, colleges,
and departments within
Stony Brook University.
- Establish a task force to develop more collaborative research programs with
Brookhaven National Lab
Stony Brook Medicine.
- Continue to raise the national and international profile of faculty members by leading
large-scale collaborative projects.
to participate in relevant national/international panels, advisory boards, and in
the organization of national and international conferences, workshops, and symposia.
- Form partnerships with (inter)national organizations, universities and the private
- Encourage faculty to seek international collaborations and sabbaticals to seek new
perspectives and enhance visibility.
- Host short courses and certifications in areas of our expertise that attract international
- Engage with
more effectively by hosting and participating in alumni events to enhance the visibility
- Highlight content on the SoMAS webpage and
social media channels
for the local community to find guest speakers on a variety of topics and information
of general interest.
- Host and make a concerted effort to participate in campus-wide events to foster interactions
with other colleagues at Stony Brook.
- Utilize a public relations staff member to help with communicating SoMAS research
to the outside world.
- Develop a promotional video using resources in the School of Journalism.
- Enhance interactions with other federal and state organizations (e.g., NOAA-National
Weather Service, NYS DEC).
OBJECTIVE 1.3: Integrate our pillars of strength to become the leader on coastal challenges.
SoMAS is internationally recognized for its leadership in Earth system sciences, where
the greatest advances in science happen at the intersection of multiple disciplines.
Nowhere is this more true than in coastal research.
- With the guidance of the
Associate Dean for Research, create working groups to investigate integrative research
questions and environmental solutions, and identify funding opportunities to support
- Target large, multi- and trans-disciplinary funding opportunities.
and/or centers of excellence in areas such as Human Health and the Environment, Climate
Change Research and Solutions, and Fisheries Science and Management.
- Convene workshops within SoMAS around broad integrative research themes for which
research faculty meet regularly (e.g., GIS, human health).
- Encourage increased interactions among our diverse range of faculty by supporting
informal brown bag discussions, creating new social spaces (such as an area in MASIC),
and providing other opportunities that bring the community together.
OBJECTIVE 1.4: Establish a strategy to coordinate and promote faculty and staff hiring
in order to reinforce areas of historic strength, develop new capabilities and strengths
in emerging areas, and build connections among existing and future areas of strength.
The research areas of SoMAS have changed over the last 50 years and many of our world-renowned
faculty will be retiring in the next few years. It is critical to have a strategy
to hire the next generation of faculty and staff to ensure that we advance the goals
of the SoMAS mission including SoMAS and Stony Brook University’s common mission of
diversity and inclusion.
- Establish a standing strategic hiring committee, whose first task will be to develop
and implement a staff and faculty hiring plan for the next five years. The charge
of this committee will be to ensure that the hiring plan is faithful to the strategic
plan as our workforce evolves. The committee will identify growth areas in research,
and evaluate the current makeup of SoMAS
personnel, SBU more broadly, and the
Brookhaven National Lab
in order to identify critical gaps in expertise and opportunities for research, collaboration
and growth. A major goal of this committee will be to identify the proper balance
of hiring staff and faculty in order to provide support new capabilities, provide
“connective tissue” among existing areas of expertise, and to realize the goals of
the strategic plan.
- Current priorities for faculty hires include the following areas: Conservation Ecology,
Geological Oceanography, Physical Oceanography, Environmental Economics, Environmental
Justice, Ecosystem Modeling, Aquaculture and Food Security, Public policy, and Fisheries
Science. Within these fields, scientists with expertise in GIS and geospatial analysis
and those with expertise in statistics, and integrative fields with relevance to marine
science, atmospheric science and sustainability, should be priorities. In addition,
experts in marine conservation, policy and management within these fields should be
pursued to support the
Marine Conservation and Policy MA program.
- Priorities for staff hires include experts in public relations, outreach, and online
teaching support in order to help scientists in SoMAS reach broader audiences and
to effectively communicate their research to the general public.
- Target faculty across the country with superlative credentials and aggressively recruit
- Increase financial support of existing
to reduce internal rates for cost centers.
- Develop a mentoring program for staff in order to provide improved opportunities for
learning and professional development and to develop leadership, communication, critical
thinking and professional skills that are central to goals of the Strategic Plan.
- Train search committees to reduce implicit bias in recruitment.
- Consciously and actively seek diversity hires.
- Evaluate faculty teaching assignments and teaching loads at both the undergraduate
and graduate levels to ensure that our human resources are being used as effectively
OBJECTIVE 1.5: Develop the facilities needed to enhance our leadership on coastal
SoMAS is internationally recognized in all areas of coastal issues. However, our continued
growth depends upon having facilities that enhance our capabilities, foster our collaborative
spirit, remove limitations to large multidisciplinary projects, and inspire creativity
to address the most important problems of our time. The core of this endeavor is to
revitalize our research platforms.
- Ensure research vessels and facilities provide a safe and efficient work environment
for faculty, staff and students.
- Conceptualize a new building on the main Stony Brook University campus that maximizes
productive interactions between faculty and staff in SoMAS, is equipped with
that enhance research (e.g., environmental chambers), is designed with the most advanced
LEED-certified sustainable techniques and is strategically placed to facilitate interactions
with other departments.
- A new building on the main campus would:
- more readily connect us to existing and prospective students
- facilitate collaborations with researchers in other units
- provide modern facilities for our researchers, enhancing recruitment and retention
of faculty, students, and staff.
- save money on utilities, as our existing buildings are not insulated
- energize the faculty and staff.
- Evaluate research vessel needs to accommodate our growing research enterprise and
fundraise, plan and design as appropriate.
- Leverage our own computing facilities with those offered through Stony Brook University
(e.g., at the
Institute for Advanced Computational Science) and federal agencies.
- Improve the affordability of technical services.
scientific infrastructure to increase use by our faculty, and by surrounding high
schools, universities and community colleges.
- Maximize use of
, teaching, and outreach facilities.
- Enhance and modernize the existing SoMAS Teaching Laboratory to provide an even better
experience for our undergraduates through fundraising. Revise the course fee structure
of each class that uses the lab to maintain the quality of the facility.
- After increasing the research enterprise, establish a small competitive grant to fund
technical services with preference shown for early career faculty.
OBJECTIVE 1.6: Strengthen our support and mentoring program for faculty.
We seek to nurture a culture of inclusiveness that retains all
faculty, and supports women and under-represented groups. We also want our early-career
faculty to do more than achieve tenure; we want them to be efficiently promoted to
full professor and grow into distinguished professors. While our mentoring program
focuses on incoming faculty during the critical time in which they strive to achieve
tenure, mentorship does not end there. Continuing to mentor faculty as they aim to
achieve the rank of full professor is no less important to growing our research enterprise
and impact. Strengthening our mentoring program is critical to being a world-class
- Solve financial barriers for new hires by supporting spousal hires, providing competitive
salaries and working with Stony Brook University to find creative ways to help new
faculty with housing costs.
- Institute written family-leave guidelines for faculty (in compliance with University-wide
- Formalize a mentoring program for all levels of faculty and train the mentors, leveraging
resources, and consistent with mentoring guidelines within the Office of the Provost.
- Provide a guidebook for new faculty on successfully navigating the promotion and tenure
process at Stony Brook University and SoMAS.
- Provide funding for graduate student support for assistant professors as part of their
startup, so junior faculty can begin quickly, focus on research, and have a graduated
student at tenure evaluation.
- Encourage faculty to write early career award proposals (e.g., NSF CAREER, DOE Early
Career Research Program) within the first three years of their arrival. Not only are
such awards prestigious, but such proposals require new faculty to outline a strategy
for their research program early in the tenure process.
- In the interest of enhancing visibility, actively encourage junior faculty to present
their research at high profile inter/national conferences and provide travel funding
within the first four years of their arrival on a competitive basis.
- Provide funds and actively encourage new faculty to travel to meet with project managers
at various funding agencies.
- Help arrange/encourage one-on-one meetings within their first year between new faculty
and senior faculty in SoMAS, relevant faculty in other departments, and other local
agencies such as
NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
NY Sea Grant.
OBJECTIVE 1.7: Lead efforts to organize and develop a high-impact University-wide
Center in Earth Systems Research, Education, and Outreach at Stony Brook University.
Stony Brook University scholars address the most urgent questions of our time in human
health, environmental change, sustainability, materials science, energy management,
engineering, economics, geopolitical stability, planetary evolution, and the origins
of life. They have expertise in theory, instrumentation and observations, communication,
and practical applications and solutions for society. And they individually explore
problems that inextricably contribute to and depend upon the state of our planet.
There is a need to create a hub that will synergistically facilitate key discoveries
at the intersections of all of these fields by better engaging the broader community
of scholars at Stony Brook University, Stony Brook Medicine, and Brookhaven National
Laboratory in our environmental research and education enterprise. We seek to invest
in a deliberate set of research and education activities that will connect those who
share our vision to recruit and involve students, and connect students, staff, and
faculty with decision-making for a sustainable future. We aim to immediately pursue
the development of a Center for Earth Systems, Research, and Solutions that would
bring together collaborators across campus, to build capacity and success, develop
productive partnerships, and enable this vision to develop in the most constructive
way. An intended ultimate potential outcome for the Center is the development of a
new cross-campus College that serves as a crucible for interdisciplinary research
efforts on Earth system problems, as well as a home for new cross-campus education
programs, nominally, a College of Earth Systems.
- Develop and nurture a campus-wide (or larger) Center for engaging all relevant and
interested individuals and units in a holistic program for the study of all Earth
systems and their interactions and processes, human and ecosystem impacts, and pursuit
of potential solutions to related challenges, along with integrated educational programs.
We will start this process of campus-wide engagement on such a Center through an appropriate
scoping workshop that we will lead.
- Begin the effort by identifying specific new opportunities for collaborative grants,
e.g. those being pursued with the NSF “CoPe” or STC opportunities as targets of opportunity,
as part of such a Center.
- Lead and develop other concepts for new cross-School/College research endeavors.
- Reserve several SoMAS seminars each semester for relevant colleagues from Stony Brook
University, Stony Brook Medicine, and Brookhaven National Laboratory.
- Host social events that foster new relationships and creative exchanges with prospective
colleagues from other campus units and institutions.
- Host workshops with the goal of writing a special issue in a journal focused on the
interdisciplinary state of knowledge of the most important problems/questions in contemporary
studies of the Earth (see list in paragraph above).
- Fundraise for new seed grants to explore high-risk high-reward collaborations across
campus that could lead to larger-scale proposals to major funding sources.
- Create cross-school undergraduate programs (e.g., Environment and Human Health; Pathways
to Sustainable Urban Systems).
- Create cross-school certificate programs for MS and PhD students to develop interdisciplinary
skills and advance the professional careers of our students.
- Find ways to co-advise students across relevant academic units.