Penn State Intercom......May 9, 2002

Barron tapped as dean
of Earth and Mineral Sciences

Eric J. Barron, current director of the Earth and Mineral Sciences (EMS) Environment Institute and distinguished professor of geosciences, has been recommended as the new dean for the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. His appointment will be effective July 1 pending approval by the Board of Trustees at its May 10 meeting.

Barron will succeed John A. Dutton, who is retiring after 16 years at the helm of the college.

"After an extensive national search, we've found the perfect candidate to lead the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences from among its own distinguished faculty," said Rodney A. Erickson, executive vice president and provost of the University. "People living in every corner of the globe are affected by issues of materials, energy, environment and the earth sciences, and future professionals in these disciplines demand the latest skills and knowledge to better understand our planet and its resources for the benefit of current and future generations.

"Eric's track record as an accomplished educator, researcher, administrator and internationally recognized scholar uniquely qualify him to guide the college's development in the coming years."

Barron joined the faculty in 1986 as director of the Earth System Science Center and associate professor of geosciences. He earned the rank of professor in 1989 and has directed the EMS Environment Institute, an interdisciplinary environmental research catalyst at the University, since 1998. During this period, he received the EMS Wilson Awards for both teaching and research.

Barron came to the University after one year on the faculty at the University of Miami. Before that, he was a scientist in the climate section of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., from 1981 to 1985.

As dean, Barron will be charged with continuing the college's tradition of excellence as a national leader in the earth and energy sciences and materials research and education. Research expenditures in the college totaled more than $42 million in 2000-01, and its academic programs have been consistently positioned at or near the top of most national rankings, including those by the National Research Council and U.S. News and World Report. Significant curricular and advising initiatives in recent years have further boosted the quality of education offered by the college.

Among these new programs is the EMS Environment Institute, directed by Barron since its founding in 1998. The mission of the institute is to promote interaction among faculty and students with the diverse expertise needed to address environmental issues. It is designed to act as a catalyst for the college and University in environmental research, provide leadership in new areas of innovative and interdisciplinary research and education, and develop initiatives or centers that focus on compelling scientific, social and engineering issues and problems that require varied expertise.

Barron's expertise in the areas of climate, environmental change and oceanography, among other earth science topics, has led to extensive service for the federal government and international community. Since 1988, he has served as a panelist or adviser for agencies including the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on various earth science projects. Barron has been an active participant in committees and panels of the National Research Council, and currently serves as the chair of the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate. He also has testified before the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives on topics such as climate change, global warming and budgeting for NASA and NOAA.

Barron earned a baccalaureate degree in geology from Florida State University in 1973, and received master's (1976) and doctoral (1980) degrees in oceanography from the University of Miami.