MSU Board of Trustees approves director of new environmental program

Contact: Thomas Dietz at (802) 372-4389, or Deb Pozega Osburn, University Relations (517) 355-2281

Feb 12, 2003

EAST LANSING, Mich. - Thomas Dietz has been named to lead Michigan State University's quest to corral efforts in environmental sciences under one program.

The MSU Board of Trustees at its Feb. 12 meeting approved Dietz's appointment as director of the Environmental Sciences and Policy Program. His appointment in both the departments of sociology and crop and soil sciences reflects the multidisciplinary nature of the new program.

The Environmental Sciences and Policy Program is an acknowledgment that research about the environment spans many departments and colleges across the university. It's an effort to bring those missions more sharply into focus through research, class work, discussion and outreach.

"Good decisions about the environment, whether by government, citizens or the private sector, must be based on the best possible scientific understanding," Dietz said. "Michigan State does world-class research, education and outreach in environmental science and policy. Our new programs will make the work more visible, make it more easily available to those who have to make decisions about the environment and, by making links across fields, lead to better science and better decisions."

In addition to his title within the program, Dietz will be an associate dean in the colleges of natural science, social science and agriculture and natural resources.

He comes to MSU from George Mason University in Washington, D.C., where he was a distinguished professor of environmental science and public policy and sociology.

Dietz is a national associate of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Associations for the Advancement of Science.

His research interests are in human ecology and cultural evolution. He received his Ph.D. in ecology from the University of California at Davis.