URI Dean Named to National Science Foundation PostMargaret
Leinen will administer $470 million
budget as assistant director of geosciences
KINGSTON, RI-September 23, 1999 -- The National Science Foundation (NSF)
has named geological oceanographer Margaret Leinen of the University of
Rhode Island to head its geosciences directorate. She is scheduled to assume
her new position as NSF's assistant director for geosciences in January
As head of NSF's geosciences directorate, Leinen will manage a budget
of approximately $470 million annually. Leinen's responsibilities will also
include coordination of environmental science and engineering programs within
NSF and collaboration between NSF and other federal agencies. Her selection
followed a national search chaired by Susan Solomon, senior scientist at
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Boulder, Co.
At the University of Rhode Island, Leinen is dean of the Graduate School
of Oceanography (GSO), vice provost for Marine and Environmental Programs,
and interim dean, College of the Environment and Life Sciences. Known fondly
as the "Dean of the Deep," Leinen has spent her entire academic
career at the University, considered one of the country's top institutions
for marine studies. During her tenure, she spearheaded the University's
efforts to build a cohesive interdisciplinary marine and environmental focus.
"Margaret is known for working closely with faculty and staff to
encourage creative thinking and new approaches for environmental research,
teaching and education," said URI President Robert L. Carothers. "She
has embraced the involvement of undergraduate students in the research process
and thereby strengthened the academic experience of both our students and
faculty. She recognizes faculty achievement and rewards it. Margaret will
be deeply missed, but leaves us a powerful legacy upon which we will continue
URI Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs M. Beverly Swan said,
"Margaret has provided unequaled leadership at the University. She
is recognized as an excellent scientist, a strong advocate and a tough administrator.
Margaret has left a strong and positive mark on all she has touched. I applaud
her leadership, I seek and respect her counsel, and I value her as a colleague
For the past nine years, Leinen has served as the dean of the GSO. As
vice provost since 1991, she oversees the marine and environmental programs
of the entire University, including the work of 100 faculty and 400 staff
who are engaged in marine-related research.
As interim dean of College of the Environment and Life Sciences since
1995, she administers the activities of the University in the fields of
environment, natural resources, microbiology and biochemistry, marine and
environmental management, resource economics, plant and animal sciences,
geosciences, and community planning.
Leinen is a well-known researcher in paleoceanography-the study of how
oceans evolve-and paleoclimatology-the study of climates through the ages.
Her work focuses on the history of biogenic sedimentation in the oceans
and its relationship to global biogeochemical cycles, and the history of
eolian sedimentation in the oceans and its relationship to climate.
Leinen has also had a very active sea-going research program, having
been on 24 cruises, including three cruises of the Ocean Drilling Program.
She has led two ALVIN diving expeditions to the Juan de Fuca Ridge and mariana
back-arc environments studying the sedimentation from hydrothermal vents.
She has published widely on the record of biological sedimentation in the
Leinen received her B.S. degree (1969) in geology from the University
of Illinois; her M.S. (1975) in geological oceanography from Oregon State
University; and her Ph.D. (1980) in oceanography from the University of
She is a past president of The Oceanography Society. She is on the Board
of Governors of the Joint Oceanographic Institutions, and the Ocean Research
Advisory Council. Leinen also has served as Vice Chair of the International
Geosphere Biosphere Program and on the Board on Global Change of the National
Research Council/National Academy of Science.
NSF, an independent federal agency created by the National Science Foundation
Act of 1950, promotes and advances scientific progress in the United States.
It funds research and education in science and engineering through grants,
contracts, and cooperative agreements to more than 2,000 colleges, universities,
and other research institutions in all parts of the United States. Leinen
replaces Robert W. Corell who held the NSF position since 1987.
The University of Rhode Island received more than $10 million from NSF
during 1998-1999 and more than $8 million in 1997-1998.
· Responsible for managing $46.3 million in funding for research
and general operating of both the Graduate School of Oceanography and the
College of the Environment and Life Sciences.
· Led an effort to raise $5 million from private sources for the
GSO's first capital campaign.
· Worked with faculty and researchers in the marine programs to
develop an Ocean Technology Center that was named by the Governor as a Rhode
Island Center of Excellence. Attracted Department of Commerce funding for
an Ocean Technology Center Building to house the center.
· Worked with faculty and researchers University-wide to develop
an Environmental Biotechnology initiative.
· Reorganized most of the environmental and life science departments
in the University into a new college, the College of the Environment and
· Worked with major news media to attract funds to endow the Metcalf
Institute for Marine and Environmental Science reporting.
· Worked with the University administration to establish the marine
and environmental programs as one of the main focus areas of the University
for research and graduate education.
· As vice chair of the International Geosphere Biosphere Program,
she was invited to speak at the United Nations' Earth Summit in June 1997
on the status of global ecosystem studies.
For more information: Linda A. Acciardo (401) 874-2116