Merged OAC departments name new chief

The University of Guelph’s Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) has named the first director for its new School of Environmental Sciences (SES).

Jonathan Newman, who previously chaired OAC’s department of environmental biology, was named to the post effective last Friday and will lead the merged school combining his former department with the department of land resource science.

Newman, a faculty member at Guelph since 2004, has chaired the environmental biology department since April last year.

OAC dean Rob Gordon, in a release Friday, described Newman as “an outstanding leader who will be instrumental in the development of an inclusive vision for the diverse interdisciplinary group encompassed by the new school.”

Newman, who previously held faculty positions at Southern Illinois University and at Oxford University, “will stimulate innovation in research and curriculum development, facilitating the advancement of SES at both the national and international levels,” Gordon said.

Newman’s research program at Guelph has focused on “understanding the ecological impacts of climate change in temperate grasslands,” OAC said. He teaches courses in environmental science, ecosystem ecology and climate change biology.

Newman holds a doctorate in ecology from the State University of New York (Albany) in 1990 and a postgraduate diploma in learning and teaching in higher education from Oxford.

As director of the new combined school, he also replaces Beverley Hale, who has served as acting chair of the land resource science department for the past year.

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