University Affairs

Peter Howe Named Quinney College of Natural Resources Associate Dean

By Lael Gilbert |

Peter Howe, newly appointed associate dean for academics in the Quinney College of Natural Resources, is a geographer and environmental social scientist whose focus will be on the undergraduate experience in the college.

Peter Howe, an associate professor of geography in the Department of Environment and Society, has been named associate dean for academics in the S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources. Howe is stepping into the new position recently created by QCNR Dean Linda Nagel, and will focus on the needs of undergraduate students in the college.

“We are incredibly lucky to have Peter joining the college leadership team,” Nagel said. “He brings enthusiasm, expertise and a practical knowledge of the undergraduate experience — a perspective that will really benefit our students and programs.”

He joins the QCNR leadership team with Karen Beard, associate dean for research and graduate programs. Howe’s new duties will include the oversight of undergraduate recruitment, advising, instruction, curriculum, retention and research. His work over the years teaching GIS classes to undergraduates from all three departments of the college has given him context for this new assignment, he said.

“One of the best things about my teaching experience has been the chance to interact with majors from all over the college and get to know students from a variety of backgrounds,” said Howe, who joined USU in 2013. “It’s one reason why I was interested in this new position … it’s a chance to apply that perspective to make positive change based on what I’ve learned from them over the years.”

Undergraduate students face a number of challenges today — from finding employment in their chosen field to a growing motivation to make a real difference in the world by addressing big challenges like the climate crisis, Howe said.

“As a college, we are set up well to prepare students to address these kinds of global challenges,” Howe said. “But it's something that we can continue to pursue and refine … helping our students find careers that are meaningful and can make a difference.”

Howe is a human-environment geographer and environmental social scientist whose research focuses on public perceptions of climate change and environmental risks. He uses large-scale social surveys, geospatial analysis, statistical modeling and geovisualization to understand people’s perceptions of topics such as extreme heat and communication about climate change. He also serves on the leadership team for the National Science Foundation Climate Adaptation Science National Research Traineeship program at USU.

Howe’s short-term goals in the new position include a focus on undergraduate recruitment.

“I may be biased, but I think that the QCNR is one of the best colleges at the university,” Howe said. “I don't think enough students from across the state and country are aware of what this community offers. There's more we can do to demonstrate to the world the strong network we’ve built, how we support our students, and how we prepare them to find work that feeds their passion in the world.”

Before joining USU, Howe was a postdoctoral researcher at the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, where he created the Climate Opinion Maps project. He earned his Ph.D. and MS in Geography from Penn State University.

WRITER

Lael Gilbert
Public Relations Specialist
Quinney College of Natural Resources
435-797-8455
lael.gilbert@usu.edu

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