Dr. Charles Epifanio has been appointed associate dean of the University of Delaware College of Marine and Earth Studies — the former College of Marine Studies. The college was renamed in July 2006 when the Department of Geological Sciences moved from its academic base in the College of Arts and Sciences to the College of Marine Studies.
As associate dean, Epifanio will be responsible for the academic programs of the college and the day-to-day activities of the Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes. He will work closely with Dean Nancy Targett.
Epifanio succeeds Dr. David Kirchman, Maxwell P. and Mildred H. Harrington Professor of Marine Studies, who served as associate dean for the past five years. Targett notes that Kirchman served the College of Marine Studies with distinction and played a significant role in laying the groundwork for the college’s transition to the College of Marine and Earth Studies. Kirchman will return to full-time teaching and continue his research at the college on the role of bacteria in marine environments.
One of Epifanio’s first tasks in his new role will be to coordinate the integration of the Department of Geological Sciences into its new home in the College of Marine and Earth Studies. “The inclusion of the Department of Geological Sciences has not only expanded the academic breadth of the college to include the Earth sciences, but also added a different kind of academic structure,” says Epifanio.
Epifanio explains that the college now has two kinds of academic programs — the non-departmental, focused graduate programs that it has always had and a more traditional, departmental one, complete with an undergraduate curriculum. This added structure and focus will help the college better equip its students to become knowledgeable scientists in the years ahead.
A member of the college’s faculty since 1971, Epifanio conducts research on the biology of the larval and early life stages of ecologically and commercially important fish and crustaceans, such as the blue crab. He is particularly interested in the physical and biological factors that drive year-to-year variations in the populations of these species. A leading researcher in this area, he has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles.
Epifanio also has a record of excellence in teaching. He has taught various courses in marine biology and biological oceanography and has, to date, advised more than 50 students in obtaining their graduate degree. In 2002, Epifanio was honored as the first recipient of the University of Delaware’s Outstanding Graduate Student Mentoring and Advising Award. This award was granted on the basis of his dedication and commitment to excellence in graduate training and his contribution to the quality of life and professional development of his students.
In addition, Epifanio serves as associate director of the University of Delaware Sea Grant College Program, which was established in 1976. As associate director, he administers the research activities of Delaware Sea Grant. He also is on the Board of Trustees of the Delaware Museum of Natural History in Wilmington.
Epifanio earned his doctorate in zoology at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and his bachelor’s degree in biology at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.