CORVALLIS, Ore. – Mark Abbott, dean of Oregon State University’s College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, has been appointed assistant director for the Geosciences directorate of the National Science Foundation.
Abbott joined the OSU faculty in 1988 and was named dean in 2001. Under his leadership, the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, known as COAS, has become one of the country’s leading marine and atmospheric science programs. COAS offers graduate and doctoral degrees in atmospheric sciences, biological oceanography, chemical oceanography, marine geology and geophysics, marine resource management and physical oceanography.
Last year, Abbott was named co-chair of Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski’s Climate Change Integration Group and was appointed to the National Science Board. He also is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
“Dr. Abbott’s leadership is characterized by hiring the best and brightest scientists in the country in the areas of oceanographic and atmospheric science and by creating mentoring systems that encourage success in our new faculty,” said Sabah Randhawa, OSU provost and executive vice president. “He is a recognized national figure in the field and this appointment to the leadership team at the National Science Foundation is testimony to his personal strengths and professional excellence.”
Abbott holds a bachelor’s degree in conservation of natural resources from the University of California at Berkeley and a Ph.D. in ecology from the University of California at Davis. He formerly held positions with Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.
In his new capacity on the senior team for the National Science Foundation, Abbott will oversee one of six research focus areas for the agency. The Geosciences directorate is concerned with science and research advancements in the atmospheric, earth and ocean sciences and supports research that ranges from stewardship of the earth’s resources, to fish stock fluctuations to predictions about human and natural impacts on the earth from occurrences such as climate change, weather patterns and earthquakes.
In his dean’s position at OSU and as a practicing biological oceanography scientist and policy expert, Abbott worked with scientists in many of the relevant areas of the Geosciences directorate throughout the country and the world and is uniquely positioned for this key leadership post.
“In my time at OSU, I worked with scientists and experts in ocean, atmospheric and earth research who are making a difference in our understanding of natural and human-impacted systems,” Abbott said. “I am thankful for my time in Oregon and for the opportunities I have been given. The OSU College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences continues to be recognized as one of the best in the nation and I am certain that it will continue to grow and thrive.
“I look forward to my new responsibilities and to my future leadership in the leading science agency in the United States.”
Abbott will assume the NSF post on Oct. 1. An interim dean will be identified and named shortly, Randhawa said. Abbott will serve the National Science Foundation through an Intergovernmental Personnel Act appointment, which will allow him to return to his OSU academic position after serving as assistant director at NSF.