University News

Anderson Named Interim Associate Dean for CAS

June 30, 2009

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MACOMB, IL - - Rick Anderson, professor and chair of biological sciences at Western Illinois University, has been named interim associate dean for strategic planning and academic affairs in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), according to Susan Martinelli-Fernandez, interim dean. His new appointment is effective July 1.

He succeeds Dan Wise, who retired after serving Western for 32 years, first as a geography teacher, who was responsible for establishing and coordinating the meteorology - - which is a signature academic program at Western - - and computer cartography programs; and then as department chair (1987-1998). Wise was the CAS associate dean from April 1999 through June 2009.

"I am thrilled to welcome Dr. Anderson to the administrative staff of the college," said Martinelli-Fernandez. "His record of achievement as both a faculty member and as an administrator is outstanding."

Anderson will remain interim associate dean until a new dean of the college is hired, following a national search, she added.

"I look forward to the challenges and opportunities of working at this administrative level during a transitional period for the college," said Anderson. "The college has a number of new and developing programs which we hope to see expanded and implemented in the new academic year. Despite the current economic issues, I am confident that we will continue to meet the academic demands of our students."

Anderson came to Western Illinois' biology department in 1979 as an assistant professor, after completing a post-doctorate research fellowship (1978-79) at the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory at Colorado State University, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1978. He earned his master's (1975) and bachelor's (1974) degrees at Northern Illinois University. He was promoted to associate professor in 1982, and to full professor in 1987, when he was named director of Western's Alice L. Kibbe Life Science Field Station, located on the Mississippi River near Warsaw. Anderson was named biological sciences department chair in 2001.

The majority of Anderson's professional research and work has involved the Mississippi River and its tributaries.

Kibbe is unique as a field station because of its geographic location in the Upper Mississippi River System (UMRS), an area of great ecological and economic importance, which in 1986, was recognized as a nationally significant ecosystem by Congress, explained Anderson, who has received grants from multiple organizations, including the National Science Foundation, the Wetlands Initiative, Illinois Department of Conservation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Upper Mississippi River Basin Commission, the Earthwatch Institute and Western Illinois University's Research Council and Faculty Development grants.

Anderson was named the University's 2000 Distinguished Faculty Lecturer, and his speech was on "The Mississippi River: Heart of the Heartland."

He has contributed some 75-research publications to scholarly journals, given nearly 200 paper presentations locally to internationally and supervised nearly 50 graduate student theses and 25 undergraduate Honors theses.

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