Letter from the Director
UCMP, as always, is a very busy place. Among the diverse array of activities, I wish to highlight five that I feel are of special significance. Though the first two are already highlighted on page one, their significance deserves additional recognition:
First is the much deserved SPORE award for UCMP's Understanding Evolution and Understanding Science web projects. Congratulations to the UCMP team responsible for developing these resources, Roy Caldwell, Dave Lindberg, Judy Scotchmoor, Anna Thanukos, Josh Frankel, and Dave Smith. I think the response from the Dean of the Biological Sciences, Mark Schlissel, captures the significance of these achievements: "Congratulations on this award. When I first heard about Understanding Evolution I went right to my browser, looked it up, and was amazed. This is a fantastic public service in terms of educational outreach on a topic of central importance in the world of biology. Truly, the Best of Berkeley."
The second is the three-year CLIR $236,000 award from the Mellon Foundation to catalogue our collections archives. Our project was one of only 17 selected from a total of 92 applications and the grant provides a most welcome source of fresh funds to support graduate and undergraduate student work in the collections.
Third, one of my long-term goals is to increasing support for our students and for our collections. While grant support is one of the major ways of achieving this goal, so also is support from Friends of the Museum. We are most grateful to all of you who have supported the Museum this year, with special thanks to Maria Cranor for her very generous donation of $10,000.
The fourth is the search for a tenure-track position in Invertebrate Paleontology. We had a very good pool of applicants and have short-listed five really excellent candidates. The first interviewed in December, while the final four candidates will have interviewed by the end of February. We are very much looking forward to re-invigorating our invertebrate paleontology program with this new hire.
Finally, I am very pleased to announce that in addition to our diverse graduate student courses, we are once again offering a full palette of undergraduate paleontology courses this academic year, with Cindy Looy's new and very successful Paleobotany course, Tim White's Human Paleontology, Kevin Padian's Evolution of Vertebrates, my own Paleobiological Perspectives on Ecology and Evolution, as well as courses that serve broader audiences, including Leslea Hlusko's 290 student course on Human Biological Variation, Introduction to the Oceans taught by Ivo Duijnstee to 475 students, Tony Barnosky's Morphology of the Vertebrate Skeleton plus his freshmen seminar on extinction, and David Lindberg and Brent Mishler's Principles of Phylogenetics.
UCMP is most definitely an energetic place!
Photo by Jennifer Skene