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Tom Dunstan, who is recognized in National Geographic's "Eyewitness to the 20th Century" publication in the section "Rescuing the Eagle."
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Dunstan Acting Director of Institute for Environmental Studies

September 14, 2006

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MACOMB, IL - - Thomas Dunstan, a Western Illinois University biological sciences professor emeritus well-known for his research and presentations on birds of prey – especially bald eagles – has been appointed acting director of the College of Arts and Science’s Institute for Environmental Studies (IES), according to College Dean Inessa Levi.

“We are indeed fortunate to have Tom back with us to run the IES,” said Levi. “He brings with him 34 years of experience at WIU, a broad understanding of environmental issues facing the region, and a history of excellence in teaching and research. I am personally grateful to Tom for so readily agreeing to take time out of his retirement to serve the College of Arts and Sciences once again.”

Dunstan began his year-long appointment Sept. 1. A national search for a permanent director to replace William Doe, who resigned in July, will begin this fall, Levi added.

“I am pleased for the opportunity to direct and facilitate the development of the institute’s new and progressive education, research and outreach programs in environmental studies,” Dunstan said.

“The location of the University’s Macomb and Quad Cities campuses and facilities located among some of the nation’s most magnificent and productive rivers, wetlands, forests and prairie restorations – along with high quality farms and agribusinesses – provide excellent educational and research opportunities for University staff, students and citizen participants,” he added.

According to its website (, the vision for the institute is to become an interdisciplinary center of knowledge and expertise focusing on the scientific, human and social aspects of rural and regional environmental issues. The institute integrates faculty and students in a collaborative effort through research, academic programs and outreach to advance understanding, solve problems and shape responses to environmental challenges. It serves as a catalyst for interdisciplinary research, bringing together expertise from a range of disciplines to address sustainability for communities, businesses, industries and governments in the west-central Illinois region and beyond.

“I look forward to seeing the University and the institute form a talented and formidable network of professional and citizen educators and cooperators who wish to collaborate and aggressively work toward the sustainability and improvement of the quality of essential resources for life on earth,” Dunstan said.

Dunstan plans to continue his studies of wildlife ecosystems with special attention to the research of bald eagles breeding and wintering in the Midwest.

“Tom has had a long history in the area of environmental studies and will bring considerable expertise to IES,” said Rick Anderson, chair of Western’s biological sciences department. “His professional research focus has been on birds and mammals that are sensitive to environmental change. His research experience and professional contacts should provide the background to increase the development of research initiatives in all areas of environmental studies. Dr. Dunstan will be an effective leader for IES over the next year.”

The Institute for Environmental Studies is located in Tillman Hall 301 on the WIU campus.

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