Guest column: New Warner dean highlights interdisciplinary approaches to address environmental challenges

A. Alonso Aguirre
Dean A. Alonso Aguirre

Dean A. Alonso Aguirre begins his tenure as dean of Warner College of Natural Resources this fall semester.

At the University, fall is a time full of anticipation and excitement. Welcome to all the new students joining our community and welcome back to all who are returning. There is no better time to pursue a career in natural resource management, conservation and sustainability.

I’m filled with enthusiasm as I begin my position as dean of the Warner College of Natural Resources. I’m returning to my alma mater after spending my career working in wildlife conservation, ecology and health, at the interface of environmental science and policy. I’m coming back during tremendous and exciting times. As I dig in and learn more about the college and University, I’m looking forward to meeting our students and engaging with them.

Throughout my career, I’ve seen the effectiveness of applying transdisciplinary approaches that cut across natural, social and physical sciences when addressing wicked environmental problems. One of the reasons I’m so thrilled to come back to lead Warner College is because of the integration of these disciplines across the college and University, creating an inclusive environment for collaborations that really make a difference in natural resource management and sustainability.

Aguirre with turtleWe are poised to grow our collaborations to create novel and far-reaching solutions to the most pressing environmental issues of our time. Together, we can tackle challenges related to biodiversity conservation, climate change, emerging diseases, water quality and quantity, fire ecology and more, all while addressing equity, diversity, inclusion, and environmental justice. We can accomplish this by deepening partnerships across our college and University, locally and across the globe, breaking down silos to improve the health of species and ecosystems along with our own.

When we care for our environment and steward its resources well, we are caring for one another and the generations still to come. We are here to bring new ideas to solving challenges and to train our students to go to diverse jobs in natural resource management and sustainability and leadership roles that can make a real difference. I can already tell how close our community remains to one another, bonded in mutual passion for these worthy ideals and goals.

It’s an honor to rejoin this community and to be leading the college into a new academic year – I look forward to seeing you around campus!

A. Alonso Aguirre
Dean, Warner College of Natural Resources