Search committee chooses 3 finalists for UW Arboretum director

February 2, 2017 By Natasha Kassulke
Photo: Boardwalk to Teal Pond

A boardwalk winds from the woods toward frozen Teal Pond and surrounding wetlands at the UW–Madison Arboretum. Photo: Bryce Richter

Three finalists have been named for the position of University of Wisconsin–Madison Arboretum director. The director will report to Marsha Mailick, vice chancellor for research and graduate education.

Selected by a seven-member committee chaired by Christopher Kucharik, professor of agronomy and environmental studies, finalists for the position are:

Photo: Ellen Damschen

Ellen Damschen

Ellen Damschen, associate professor in the Department of Zoology at UW–Madison. Damschen’s research interests are in determinants of plant community diversity and how global change affects plant communities. Damschen will give her public presentation, “Understanding the future of plant communities by linking experiments, data, scientists, and stakeholders,” at 9 a.m. on Feb. 16.

Photo: Randy Jackson

Randy Jackson

Randy Jackson, professor in the Department of Agronomy at UW–Madison. Jackson’s research interests are in structure and function of managed, semi-natural and natural grassland ecosystems. Jackson will give his public presentation, “Ecological restoration research and deployment for a 21st century land ethic,” at 9 a.m. on Feb. 13.

Photo: Karen Oberhauser

Karen Oberhauser

Karen Oberhauserprofessor in the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology at the University of Minnesota. Oberhauser studies monarch butterflies and works with teachers and precollege students in Minnesota and throughout the United States using monarchs to teach about biology, conservation and the process of science. Oberhauser will give her public presentation, “All hands on deck: Conserving a flagship species,” at 9 a.m. on Feb. 20.

The presentations provide an opportunity for each candidate to share his or her vision for the position. Presentations will be held in room 1111 at the Biotechnology Center, 425 Henry Mall. Feedback about the finalists can be provided online.

“The UW–Madison Arboretum is known worldwide for efforts in restoring critical landscapes such as prairies and wetlands, and enriching lives through research such as studies into climate change impacts and storm water runoff,” says Mailick. “It’s also an important destination for the local community as a place to explore and learn. I am looking forward to the next step in the process in choosing a new director for the Arboretum and I am very thankful for the work of the search committee and, in particular, committee Chair Christopher Kucharik.”

“The Arboretum director position generated a high level of interest that led to a diverse pool of strong applicants originating from UW–Madison and abroad,” says Kucharik. “The search committee is excited about the Arboretum’s future given what we have already heard from the finalists.”