Chris Luecke Named Dean of USU's Quinney College of Natural Resources
Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012
Forgoing a national search, Utah State University has appointed Professor Chris Luecke dean of the university’s Quinney College of Natural Resources. The college includes the Department of Environment and Society, the Department of Watershed Sciences and the Department of Wildland Resources.
The announcement was made Nov. 14, 2012, to the college’s faculty and staff by USU Provost and Executive Vice President Raymond Coward.
“(USU) President Stan Albrecht and I are very supportive of this appointment,” Coward said. “Chris is a forceful and passionate advocate not only for the college, but for the university and Utah’s higher education system.”
Coward said the decision to appoint Luecke to the permanent position came after meeting with QCNR department heads and conferring with the college’s faculty and staff, leaders of the state’s public natural resources agencies and members of the Quinney Foundation, the college’s major supporter.
“Chris has the confidence and respect of all and we look forward to his leadership,” Coward said.
Luecke, who joined USU in 1988, has served as interim dean of the college since Jan. 1, 2012. He previously served as head of the college’s Department of Watershed Sciences. He succeeded Nat Frazer, who served as dean from 2006 to 2011.
“I’m very humbled by your support,” Luecke told faculty and staff gathered for the announcement. “I look forward to working with you as we continue our efforts aimed at sustainability of ecosystems, people and communities.”
Luecke said the college, renamed the S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources on Sept. 26, 2012, and gifted the same day with the Quinney Foundation’s most recent donation of $10 million and a promise of support for the next 25 years, is in an excellent position to work toward its mission of leading discovery, innovation and lifelong learning in promoting healthy and enduring ecosystems.
“Our challenge now is to leverage the support of the Quinney Family and its foundation to achieve those goals and aspirations,” he said. “We’ll seek support from alumni as well as private foundations and corporations.”
Among the goals Luecke listed for the college include increasing collaborative and interdisciplinary research across the university and strengthening extension and outreach efforts.
“Looking at our state, we have observed rapid development in urban and rural areas, including extensive oil and gas development in eastern Utah,” he said. “At the same time we’re facing environmental challenges and a changing wildfire regime. We want to use the assessment expertise we have developed to assist public agencies and policymakers as they make land-use policy decisions. Our goal is to conduct research in restoration that will enhance the services ecosystems provide to communities.”
Instruction and research in restoration ecology will increase across the college’s three departments, he said. “This is an area that is growing rapidly. As a society, we value the benefits of our ecosystems but our activities degrade them. We need graduates prepared to address these challenges.”
Luecke said another goal is to expand the college’s distance and online learning opportunities.
“Gov. Herbert has presented the PACE plan, an initiative to increase Utah’s higher education graduate rate and increase the state’s economic competitiveness,” he said. “We want to support that effort by increasing our efficiency in delivering opportunities in rural areas with underrepresented groups of students.”
To that end, Luecke said, the college is developing a new bachelor’s degree program in natural resources, featuring online courses and geared to distance education students.
“We have an outstanding team of faculty and staff,” he said. “This is a very exciting time for the college.”
- “A Quinney Celebration: USU Lauds Stalwart Support of Visionary Family,” Utah State Today
- “USU’s Natural Resources Dean Receives Lifetime Achievement Award,” Utah State Today
- USU Quinney College of Natural Resources
Contact: Chris Luecke, 435-797-2445, firstname.lastname@example.org
Writer: Mary-Ann Muffoletto, 435-797-3517, email@example.com