Targett in her Robinson Hall office. Photo by Kathy Atkinson
Nancy Targett has been a member of the University of Delaware faculty since 1984. In 2006, she became dean of the College of Marine Studies, which, with the addition of the Department of Geology, became the College of Marine and Earth Studies (CMES) that same year. Effective July 1, CMES becomes the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE), which Targett will oversee. During a recent interview, she discussed the new college.
Why a new college?
The Department of Geography and the College of Marine and Earth Studies agreed to form a new college in order to better align our assets. As a department, geography has a long tradition of concern for Earth's environment with a perspective that seeks to span the nature-culture continuum. Its disciplinary strength is its focus on the interaction of physical and human systems as they are expressed across Earth's surface at scales ranging from local to global.
Similarly, units in the former College of Marine and Earth Studies address the complex issues of earth and ocean systems at local, regional, and global scales through interdisciplinary research, education, and outreach programs that seek to understand the processes that integrate physical, chemical, biological, geological, and human components of our planet’s environments into a unified system.
By bringing these units together into one college, we feel that we have established a framework and broad unified mission that not only strengthens the individual units but provides a synergy that is expected to heighten external visibility and prominence around the work we do in earth and ocean systems from both a natural and societal perspective.
What was the process for creating the new college?
In 2008, through separate faculty resolutions, the Department of Geography and the College of Marine and Earth Studies each affirmed their interest in forming a new college. With these resolutions in hand and the support of UD’s provost and president, a transition committee was formed and charged with developing recommendations for the new college name, its organization and governance, and its mission. The committee met frequently in January and early February 2009.
On February 9, at a joint meeting of the faculty from the College of Marine and Earth
Studies and the Department of Geography, the transition committee presented its recommendations for discussion. The joint faculty voted on motions about the new college’s mission, organization, and name.
They became official after review by the Faculty Senate and approval by the University Board of Trustees a few months later.
What is the CEOE mission?
The mission of the new college, unanimously adopted by the joint faculty in February, is to advance understanding of Earth’s natural systems and the interactions of humans with the environment through engaged interdisciplinary research, teaching, and outreach.
Why the name?
In addressing the issue of a name for the new college, the transition committee considered more than 25 options, many submitted by the faculty themselves. Three names were presented at the joint faculty meeting in February, with one — College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment — the preferred alternative. After considerable discussion, the faculty voted 32¬–11 to adopt the preferred alternative.
How is the new college organized?
CEOE has three academic units: the Department of Geography, the Department of Geology, and the School of Marine Science and Policy. The departments are led by chairs, Brian Hanson for geography and Sue McGeary for geology. The school is led by Interim Director Charles Epifanio.
The school provides organizational parity with the departments while maintaining the program level of governance, and most importantly, preserving the multidisciplinary character of marine studies. The school houses our traditional marine academic programs — marine biosciences, oceanography, physical ocean science and engineering, and marine policy.
In addition, the college is the administrative base of several research centers, the Delaware Sea Grant College Program, the Delaware Geological Survey, the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research, and the Joint Institute for Coastal Research and Management — a partnership with China’s Xiamen University.
Dan Leathers, professor and past chair of geography, joins the dean’s office as deputy dean. I am looking forward to working with him.
In addition to aligning academic units, what other benefits do you expect from the new college?
By aligning our expertise across these areas we enhance our visibility and leverage opportunities for integrated academic programming. This reorganization will also improve opportunities for interaction and collaboration among researchers who have similar interests in advancing our understanding of Earth’s natural systems and the interactions humans have with the environment. So, CEOE aggregates our strengths in this area and more effectively highlights the already strong foundation that UD has in the area of earth and ocean studies to its external constituencies.
This move also aligns with the university’s Path to Prominence’s strategic initiatives, including the Initiative for the Planet, which calls for making UD a national and international resource for environmental research, technology, education, and policy — today and into the future.
For more on the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, visit www.ceoe.udel.edu.