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Charles Marshall  Letter from the Director

With the start of the new academic year, there is an air of excitement and anticipation within UCMP. As this newsletter attests, there is a lot going on — here, I want to highlight new efforts and initiatives in support of our mission and collections.

In research, seven new graduate students have arrived, and we have posted the ad for the recently approved tenure-track invertebrate paleontologist position. Applications are beginning to flow in and we will begin interviews in the Fall. In undergraduate teaching, beyond the already diverse array of classes being offered, we welcome Cindy Looy's resurrection of the paleobotany curriculum, and I will be teaching a course on Paleobiological Perspectives on Ecology and Evolution in the Spring, replacing Carole Hickman's Principles of Paleontology.

In education and outreach, we have received four additional grants — one from NASA and three from NSF — to support research of new institutional partners. We also hosted our second annual summer Evo Institute and are gearing up for the first ever National Fossil Day, described in this newsletter.

In support of the collections, we submitted two major grants over the summer. The first was an NSF Collections Improvement grant to re-house, reorganize and digitize the remaining two-thirds of the USGS Menlo Park collection recently moved to the Regatta facility. The second was a proposal to the Council on Library and Information Resources, for their "revealing hidden archives" program funded by the Mellon Foundation, to catalog the collection's archival material. If funded, the grants will support a considerable number of undergraduate and graduate students to work in the collections.

We have also been deeply involved in the campus efforts to secure NSF's proposed Environmental Synthesis Center and in the Berkeley initiative in Global Change Biology (BiGCB).

Finally, as I begin to prioritize the needs of UCMP, it is becoming clear that the area where we are in most need is support for graduate student research. UCMP has been incredibly fortunate over the years to have received generous donations to support our students, and the impact on the student's research productivity has been enormous. Raising funds for increasing that support level has become one of my major goals for UCMP. I encourage you all to support this intellectual future of UCMP by becoming a Friend of UCMP, and to those who have already done so, our thanks!

Charles Marshall
Director, UCMP

Photo by Jennifer Skene