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Michael Romano, Professor and Interim Chair, Biological Sciences, Western Illinois University
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Romano Named Biological Sciences Interim Chair

July 31, 2009

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MACOMB, IL - - Western Illinois University Biology Professor Michael Romano has been named interim chair of the biological sciences department, effective Aug. 1, according to College of Arts and Sciences Interim Dean Susan Martinelli-Fernandez.

Romano fills the position left vacant by the appointment of longtime Chair and Professor Rick Anderson to interim associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences.

"I am grateful to Dr. Romano for stepping in to help us during this period of transition in the college," said Martinelli-Fernandez. "His experience with faculty and personnel, budget and curriculum will serve the college well in the coming months."

Since coming to Western in 1984, Romano has served on numerous departmental and University committees. He served as chair of his departmental personnel committee; and he has served as vice president (2004-2007) of the Western Illinois Chapter of University Professionals of Illinois (UPI), the UPI/Administration negotiation of contract agreement (2006-2007), the University Graduate Council (2006-2007) and the Distance Learning Advisory Board (2007). He also served as an elected member of the Upper Mississippi River Research Consortium executive board in the roles of president (2003-2004), vice president (2002-2003) and secretary (2000-2002).

"I feel my role as interim chair is to sustain Dr. Anderson's vision and direction for the department in order to make the transition to a permanent replacement," Romano said. "Our department has been particularly strong in field and laboratory experience for students that other institutions have been moving away from. As a result, our students have been actively recruited by state and federal agencies, consulting firms and a number of graduate programs throughout the country. The modern biologist must also have newer skills in molecular biology and geographic information systems (GIS) to complement the more traditional training; and thanks to several new faculty, the department is strong in these areas. It is important that the chairperson support the maintenance and growth of these programs."

Western Illinois' 2008 Distinguished Faculty Lecturer, Romano received his bachelor's (1976) and master's (1980) degrees from the University of Vermont, Burlington and his Ph.D. (1984) at Miami University, Oxford, OH. His areas of specialization include population genetics and molecular ecology of a wide variety of animals with a special interest in genetic relationships of the hylid frogs, Mississippi turtles and Illinois wild turkey.

(Information provided by Jeff Dodd, Assistant to the Dean, College of Arts and Sciences)

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