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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

URI names interim deans for
Graduate School of Oceanography and
College of the Environment and Life Sciences

KINGSTON, R.I. -- January 5, 2000 -- The University of Rhode Island has named James Yoder, professor of oceanography at the URI Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO), and William Wright, associate dean of the College of the Environment and Life Sciences (CELS) as interim deans for GSO and CELS, respectively.

The announcement was made by URI Provost M. Beverly Swan. Their appointments were effective as of January 3.

Yoder and Wright replace Margaret Leinen who, after seven years as dean of GSO and four years as dean of CELS, left the University recently to become assistant director for Geosciences at the National Science Foundation in Washington, DC.

"Jim Yoder's commitment to excellence is reflected in his scientific research and in the quality of his work during his tenure as associate dean at GSO," said URI Provost Swan. "Bill Wright has a strong record of accomplishments as a teacher, researcher and as an administrator, and I know that he will provide strong leadership for the CELS."

"I am very enthusiastic about the appointments of Professor William Wright and Professor James Yoder to serve as Interim Deans of the College of the Environment and Life Science and the Graduate School of Oceanography, respectively," said Leinen. "Jim Yoder has a broad knowledge of the ocean and of coastal science and is known internationally for his innovative research linking oceanography and satellite remote sensing. GSO is fortunate to have such a strong and able scientist to serve in this important position.

"Bill Wright is a well known soil scientist who has provided leadership to the College of the Environment and Life Sciences as the chair of the Department of Natural Resources Science and as the Associate Dean," added Leinen. "Both Bill and Jim have worked closely with me in the development of many marine and environmental initiatives and I am delighted that they have agreed to lead URI's marine and environmental programs during this interim period."

As a biological oceanographer, Yoder uses satellite sensors to study the relation between physical and biological processes in ocean margin and open ocean waters. Yoder spent 1996 in Washington, D.C., on leave from GSO, to manage NASA's Biological Oceanography Program in the Office of Mission to Planet Earth. During that time he supervised grant award procedures to universities and NASA centers related to ocean remote sensing and represented NASA at meetings nationally and internationally.

Yoder is a member of the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, the American Geophysical Union, and is president-elect of The Oceanography Society.

A resident of Kingston, Yoder received his B.A. in botany from DePauw University in Indiana, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in oceanography from URI. He joined the faculty of GSO in 1989 as an associate professor and became a full professor in 1992. From 1993 to 1998 he served as GSO's associate dean. Prior to coming to GSO, he was a professor of oceanography at Skidaway Institute of Oceanography in Georgia.

Wright's research has been primarily in the areas of soils and land use, particularly as they relate to an urban environment. He has conducted research in the areas of sewage sludge, industrial organic wastes, landfills, and on-site sewage disposal systems. His recent interests have included the use of remote sensing and Global Information System technology to evaluate and manage natural resources, studies relative to hydric soils and wetland delineation, and the value of riparian buffer strips in preserving environmental quality.

Wright is a member of the American Society of Agronomy, the Soil Science Society of America, the International Society of Soil Science, the International Society of soil and Water Conservation, and the Society of Soil Scientists of Southern New England.

Wright has been associate dean of CELS since 1996, after serving as a professor and chairman of the Department of Natural Resources Science. He came to URI in 1972 as an assistant professor, became an associate professor in 1978, and full professor in 1986.

A resident of Saunderstown, Wright received his B.S. in soils from the University of Wisconsin at River Falls, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in soil genesis from the University of Maryland.


For information contact: Jhodi Redlich, 874-2116, Lisa Cugini, 874-6642


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