While working on my Ph.D. thesis, I became interested in the specific phenomena of declining funding for earthquake science, this led to more general questions regarding the allocation of resources to research and the role of knowledge creation in society.

This led me a position within the senior levels of Columbia University where I worked to create The Earth Institute at Columbia University and managed the $67M venture investment portfolio of the “Strategic Initiative Program.”  My role at Columbia came to a close as the Earth Institute was integrated into the core operations of the University and George Rupp (President of Columbia University) and Michael Crow (Executive Vice Provost) departed for new opportunities.

The Details:

Executive Director, 1999 – 2003
Office of the Executive Vice Provost, Columbia University / New York, NY 

Launched, managed, and institutionalized multiple strategic initiatives to ensure that University research and education enterprises were responsive to the needs of society and robust with respect to the external funding environment.

Columbia Earth Institute (CEI)

  • Maintained programmatic momentum in time of transition in the University’s largest strategic initiative
  • Designed and implemented the Directorate structure for the Earth Institute leadership
  • Designed and coordinated implementation of the CEI Office of Educational Programs
  • Designed and implemented a revised vision of the External Relations function
  • Coordinated Federal relations activities with the Office of Government Relations
  • Envisioned and established the Academic Committee to guide CEI intellectual agenda
  • Designed and implemented the original CEI post-doc program
  • Articulated vision and developed documents for large fundraising efforts
  • Managed complicated gift negotiations through senior leadership change
  • Built international partnerships through membership in University delegations
  • Managed day-to-day activities and provided core oversight for $80M/yr. research institute

Strategic Initiatives Program (SIP)

  • Managed $67M portfolio of internal knowledge venture investments
  • Provided strategic decision-making support to Office of Executive Vice Provost

Director for Interdisciplinary Programs, 1996 – 1999
Office of the Vice Provost, Columbia University / New York, NY 

Served as a principal actor and driving force in the founding of the Columbia Earth Institute. Organized and led the transition from loosely federated group of researchers within the Global Systems Initiative to provide a centralized coordinating structure within the newly formed Earth Institute.  Designed and implemented coordinating and facilitating structures to support continued development of interdisciplinary research and education throughout Columbia University.  Managed specific projects and programs including:

Metropolitan East Coast Regional Climate Change Impact Assessment

  • Conceptualized and implemented regional assessment of climate change impact
  • Coordinated regional effort with Presidential-level national effort

Consortium for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN)

  • Envisioned the possibilities and positive gain in launching major socio-economic data center to new home in New York region in partnership with Columbia University and the Earth Institute
  • Designed institutional partnership to leverage complementing resources and missions of Earth Institute and CIESIN

Earth Institute Planning Activity

  • Organized and oversaw creation of strategic document to guide transition from Global Systems Initiative to Earth Institute
  • Chaired sub-committee focused on creating and strengthening linkages among internal members
  • Participated in ongoing development of Earth Institute intellectual agenda

International Research Institute (IRI) for Climate Prediction

  • Assisted in ongoing implementation of Earth’s first operational climate forecasting and applications organization
  • Launched pilot El Niño forecasting applications project with focus on providing usable knowledge to Peruvian fisheries stakeholders
  • Laid groundwork for similar applications project development in other regions and sectors around the globe through internal project initiation and facilitation

Earth Institute Information System

  • Designed an information system to facilitate interaction among Earth Institute researchers
  • Catalyzed flows of information from the center to researchers, flows among researchers, and collaborations across disciplinary boundaries

Research Development and Strategic Analysis

  • Oversaw the identification of important strategic data essential to the primary goals of the Earth Institute and the development and creation of structures for gathering this data within 6-24 month time horizon
  • Designed the interface for distributing this information to researchers through the Earth Institute Information System

Public Policy Consortium

  • Expanded scope of the “developing public policy fellowship program” beyond the social sciences to include physical science graduate students
  • Identified relevant institutional issues to fully accomplish such integration of physical science students into public policy Ph.D.

Earth Learning Program Development

  • Conceptualized and initiated implementation of unifying framework for the electronic delivery of all Earth Institute curriculum development activities; both K-16 and informal  public education

Communication Technology Strategy

  • Recommended and implemented hardware and software solutions to increase interconnection among physically disparate units

Associate Director for Interdisciplinary Programs, 1995 – 1996
Office of the Vice Provost, Columbia University / New York, NY 

Implemented specific research and education project elements of the then growing Global Systems Initiative.  Integrated programs distributed among 3 New York campuses and the Biosphere 2 Center in Oracle, AZ.  Began transition from Global Systems Initiative to Earth Institute structure.  Activities included:

Earth Learning Program Development

  • Pursued private partners to assist in unifying, developing, and distributing a collection of electronic Earth Science curriculum development projects
  • Guided the design and implementation of innovative undergraduate “semester abroad” program focused on Earth Systems located on the Biosphere 2 campus in Oracle, Arizona

Biosphere 2 Center, Inc. Interim Management Team

  • Participated in all aspects of transition management team of a non-profit, teaching, learning, and research affiliate of Columbia University including search for first Executive Director
  • Integrated Biosphere 2 Center activities with New York-centered activities
  • Created criteria for and guided selection of faculty members in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences to teach and build interdisciplinary curricula focused on Earth systems at the Biosphere 2 Center campus

Climate Change and Human Health

  • Catalyzed a multidisciplinary, multi-institutional research effort focused on the impacts of changes in climate on human health
  • Wrote white paper to guide research program development and research team building *(add reference and link to this here)

International Research Institute (IRI) for Climate Prediction (now called “International Research Institute for Climate and Society”)

  • Assisted development of proposal to launch Earth’s first operational climate forecasting organization
  • Managed development of Earth Policy Center as pilot activity of IRI
  • Seed funded pilot project focused on the use of El Niño information by fisheries in northern Chile and southern Peru
  • Provided staff support for international institution design effort

Research Development and Strategic Analysis

  • Gathered and analyzed 6-24 month projections of Federal funding priorities pertinent to the goals of the Global Systems Initiative
  • Distributed funding priorities intelligence to appropriate researchers and administrators

Coordinator, Global Systems Initiative,  1994 – 1995
Office of the Vice Provost, Columbia University / New York, NY 

Laid foundation for major, university-wide initiative focused on global change and institutional reform in the post-Cold War era.

Conceptual foundations for Global Systems Initiative

  • Formulated conceptual foundations to support integration across the breadth of Columbia University’s endeavors around the theme of global change
  • Prioritized research opportunities and relevant university strengths and weaknesses
  • Articulated the place of University global change research in the context of broader strategic visions and societal challenges

Integrated Assessment Group

  • Initiated new research activity in response to strategic need to address policy implications of climate change mitigation and adaptation
  • Formed unique, highly flexible research team consisting of expertise in climate modeling, agronomy, natural hazards, economics, and finance

Harlem Environmental Access Project

  • Developed partnership with Environmental Defense Fund
  • Launched project to provide environmental resources and curricula to 7 schools, libraries, and other public institutions in the Harlem economic empowerment zone

Science: the Endless Frontier Conference

  • Participated in national meetings evaluating the current state of, and possible futures for, US science policy
  • Led and summarized session on science policy issues of environmental policy

International Research Institute (IRI) for Climate Prediction

  • Assessed institutional capacity to develop and compete for IRI
  • Assisted in planning to develop proposal to host launch of IRI

How Many People Can Earth Support?

  • Conceptualized and produced a high profile interdisciplinary symposium addressing “How many people can Earth support?”
  • Broadcasted symposium via video-teleconference link to Biosphere 2 Center in Oracle, Arizona

Research Development and Strategic Analysis

  • Developed skills to gather, analyze and distribute 6-24 month time horizon intelligence related to the strategic goals of the Global Systems Initiative

Staff Associate, 1994 – 1999
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University / New York, NY

Developed vigorous research programs in solid Earth Sciences and other disciplines.  General activities included the independent and cooperative pursuit of basic research, research proposal development, and publication of research results.  Activities included:

Liaison between Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and other University departments

  • Created connections between Lamont physical scientists and social scientists from other campuses to address research projects focused on global change

Crustal Deformation Research 

  • Finalized Global Positioning System (GPS) calculations and prepared scientific paper describing new shear zone in the northern Aegean Sea
  • Initiated project integrating GPS-measured crustal deformations with deformations inferred using high-resolution seismic data in Southern California

Post-Doctoral Research Scientist, 1993 – 1994
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University / New York, NY

In cooperation with senior scientists, developed vigorous research programs in the solid Earth Sciences.  In addition to routine scientific activities:

Aegean Sea Deformation

  • Collected and processed high-precision Global Positioning System (GPS) and other surveying data as part of a large international observing program
  • Documented and interpreted unexpected regional strain patterns through comparison with previous measurements

San Andreas Fault System Deformation

  • Synthesized and modeled near-fault geodetic data and deformation
  • Established constraints on fault geometries related earthquake generation

Shumagin Island – Alaskan Peninsula Deformation

  • Expanded geodetic arrays to constrain extent of anomalous strain patterns
  • Continued collection of long geodetic time series including GPS, sea level, spirit leveling and horizontal data

Graduate Student Research

  • Supervised a graduate student project comparing sparse GPS observations with historical geodetic data