A VISION FOR SOMAS SCIENCE, EDUCATION,
AND OUTREACH LEADERSHIP
MESSAGE FROM THE DEAN
Greetings. I am honored and delighted to highlight and celebrate our revised Strategic Plan, "A Vision For SoMAS Science, Education, and Outreach Leadership, 2022 - 2027". This is a revision and update of our Strategic Plan released in April of 2019. It is a positive sign that most of our vision and objectives expressed in that document have not changed, as the objectives conveyed here represent true ongoing passions for the faculty and staff of SoMAS, all of whom are dedicated to our strength and growth. Meeting our objectives will require determination and commitment, and I am pleased that we are rich with these attributes.
There have been a variety of changes and events since 2019 that prompt us to reformulate and express our vision and objectives. Perhaps first, we have lived through a global pandemic, and have hopefully emerged on the other side stronger and wiser. We have learned a great deal about education, and how it best happens, even if to some extent the experience reaffirms some of our convictions about what makes for high quality learning experiences. Since 2019 SBU has recruited some very talented executive leadership in President McInnis, Provost Lejuez, and several new Executive VPs. I am convinced that we are at the beginning of a new era of stable and inspired leadership, and that SoMAS has a great deal to contribute to SBU's growing stature and successes. New York State is in the process of launching bold new initiatives aimed at combating climate change and its associated impacts, and SoMAS is able to provide leadership in many areas relevant to NYS's goals. We continue to expand our network of connections and stakeholders around Long Island, NYS, and the world, and this is reflected in our range of activities and funding sources, as well as in our positive impacts to humans and the non-human biosphere. I am proud to know that we all enthusiastically embrace our motto: Making Scientific Research Count.
We have a variety of important priorities expressed in this Strategic Plan. First is investment in people, our most important asset, and often our driving force for making positive change in the world. We have important challenges to invest appropriately in the SoMAS family, both faculty and staff; an important imperative is to build strength in critical areas related to coastal processes, and to secure our strengths in marine and atmospheric sciences, which will help us lead in several new areas of opportunity. We also reaffirm our commitment to providing unique and enriching experiences for our students, who we expect to be leaders for future challenges to shepherding our planet toward a more sustainable state. We are partners with our students in identifying and implementing solutions to the challenges of climate change and its impacts, and protecting our natural environments. As stated in the previous document's message, we are humbled by the magnitude and urgency of these challenges, yet energized to make lasting contributions through meaningful solutions using our combined talents.
A top priority for SoMAS is the need for state-of-the art facilities for research and education, to support our research leadership goals, to attract the best students and faculty, and to enable and support our interests in broad collaborations and engagement with leaders in disciplines that connect to solving grand challenge problems like climate change and its mitigation. Our current status in 50-plus year old "temporary housing" is not consistent with our goals, and very significantly hampers our growth. The attachment to the section on a new building for SoMAS provides a more substantial expression of our vision for a new building, and the return on the investment that will ensue. SoMAS should have research and education facilities consistent with the NY State investment in us as SUNY's only Marine Science program, and our proven leadership in all aspects of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, and Sustainability Studies.
SoMAS embraces the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion as important characteristics of a healthy home for inquiry that is a fertile area for creative research, education, and outreach to our stakeholder communities. While we have made progress, and have an enthusiastic Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee, we have a long way to go in reaching our diversity goals. Such goals are intimately connected to our ability to recruit and retain the best people, and to ensure that our scholarship reaches a broad range of constituencies. Let us all work together toward the goals expressed in the plan and the vision statement.
Lastly, I want to thank the members of the strategic planning committee for their efforts. Working together, we will continue to make SoMAS a global leader in research, education, and outreach regarding the natural Earth environment.
Paul Shepson, Dean of SoMAS