As a leadership transition approaches for fall 2023 at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES), University System of Maryland (USM) Chancellor Jay A. Perman has appointed longtime UMCES vice president Bill Dennison as interim president, effective Sept. 25.
In January 2023, UMCES President Peter Goodwin announced his plans to retire from the institution, a research and graduate university that provides sound advice to help state and national leaders manage the environment and prepares future scientists to meet the global challenges of the 21st century. Goodwin will remain president until his retirement on Sept. 25.
“It is an honor and a privilege to serve the people of Maryland in this interim role,” said Dennison. “I look forward to this next exciting chapter and want to thank Chancellor Perman for his vote of confidence.”
Since 2002, Dennison has served UMCES as its Vice President for Science Application and as a professor of marine science. One of his major responsibilities within UMCES is to coordinate its Integration and Application Network (IAN), which has been at the forefront of science application and integration pioneering new techniques of science communication, stakeholder engagement, and assessing ecosystem the health. IAN has produced environmental report cards for ecosystems around the world, including the Chesapeake Bay.
“I thank Dr. Dennison for stepping into this role at a critical time,” Chancellor Perman said. “The University System is committed to positioning UMCES as the country’s premier institution for environmental science and policy. Having someone of Bill’s caliber and character at the helm during this time of transition will speed our achievement of that singular mission.”
Dennison is a prolific scholar with more than 30,000 citations of his work in academic publications focused on coastal ecosystem ecology. He was initially a research assistant professor for UMCES’ Horn Point Laboratory from 1987-1992 before spending 10 years at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. He rejoined UMCES in 2002 to develop the Integration and Application Network.
Dennison holds a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Chicago, an M.S. in biological oceanography from the University of Alaska, and a B.A. in environmental science from Western Michigan University.
The USM Board of Regents named Goodwin president in 2017. During his tenure he guided the university through the pandemic, maintaining not only the safety of the community but an unwavering commitment to sustaining UMCES’ mission and the quality of its research and education programs.
As part of UMCES’ focus on developing the next generation of scientists, business leaders, policy-makers, natural resource managers, and educators, Goodwin led the expansion of UMCES’ educational offerings, both externally through professional certificate programs and by broadening UMCES’ role and relationships within the USM in support of graduate students in USM’s nationally ranked graduate program in marine and environmental science.
The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science is a leading research and educational institution working to understand and manage the world’s resources. Comprised of the Appalachian Laboratory in the mountains of western Maryland, the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory at the mouth of the Patuxent River, the Horn Point Laboratory on the Eastern Shore, and the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology in Baltimore, UMCES scientists provide sound advice to help state and national leaders manage the environment and prepare future scientists to meet the global challenges of the 21st century. UMCES also administers the Maryland Sea Grant in College Park, Md.
The University System of Maryland comprises 12 institutions: Bowie State University; Coppin State University; Frostburg State University; Salisbury University; Towson University; the University of Baltimore; the University of Maryland, Baltimore; the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science; the University of Maryland, College Park; the University of Maryland Eastern Shore; and the University of Maryland Global Campus. The USM also includes three regional centers—the Universities at Shady Grove, the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown, and the University System of Maryland at Southern Maryland—at which USM universities offer upper-division undergraduate and graduate courses. USM institutions and programs are among the nation's best in quality and value according to several national rankings