Columbia Climate School Leadership Announcement
Since April 2021, the Columbia Climate School has operated under an unusual leadership model, with 4 co-deans, Alex Halliday, Jason Bordoff, Ruth DeFries, and Maureen Raymo, sharing responsibility for leading the event of the important thing functional areas of our pioneering latest School. They each took on the Climate School task along with their existing portfolios—Alex on the Earth Institute; Jason as head of the Center on Global Energy Policy on the School of International and Public Affairs; Ruth as University Professor and the Denning Family Professor of Sustainable Development within the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology; and Maureen at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.
I extend my deepest due to each of the co-deans for his or her remarkable contributions to the School as leaders, scholars, and innovators. Launching a latest school—the primary at Columbia in 25 years—is a considerably difficult task. All 4 approached this challenge with great determination and character. Their commitment to collaboration and outreach propelled the dream of a School forward. All understood the necessity to connect the University’s mental assets to tackle considered one of the world’s best challenges.
The School’s co-dean leadership structure reflected this premise of connection. Having on the helm 4 of Columbia’s most outstanding climate experts, representing diverse areas of experience, has facilitated our drawing on the range of disciplines needed to deal with the climate problem and created a powerful foundation on which the School can flourish. Our co-deans welcomed the primary cohort of scholars in September 2021 and in May celebrated our second cohort of dedicated graduates. All elements of a thriving school at the moment are in place.
The progress these 4 deans have made in establishing a foundation for the brand new School has positioned us well, making it possible to now adopt a single-leader model. To that end, we’ll soon be launching a seek for a dean to guide the School into its next phase of growth. Alex, Jason, Ruth, and Maureen have steadfastly advocated for, built, and led the Climate School. Without them, there wouldn’t be a Climate School. I ask that you just join me in recognizing their significant contributions and thank them for bringing us to where we’re today. With this shift to a single-leader model, we create the space for them to return to specializing in their scholarly work and other leadership endeavors. I’ll add they’ve all graciously agreed to proceed supporting the School through this transition and can remain faculty within the Climate School of their respective fields.
To guarantee continuity for the Climate School, and in close consultation with incoming University President Minouche Shafik, I’m pleased to share that Jeffrey Shaman has agreed to step in as Interim Dean. Jeff will officially begin July 1, but is already taking over additional responsibilities and dealing with the co-deans to make sure a smooth transition. Jeff is a Professor within the Department of Environmental Health Sciences and Director of the Climate and Health Program on the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and a Professor of Climate within the Climate School. Jeff will construct on the School’s foundation to speed up impact, and transitions into this expanded role from his current position as Vice Dean of Faculty Affairs on the Climate School, where he has served as a key leader and supporter of college.
Please join me in thanking Alex Halliday, Jason Bordoff, Ruth DeFries, and Maureen Raymo for his or her pioneering work on behalf of the Climate School and in welcoming Jeff Shaman as he assumes leadership of the School.
Lee C. Bollinger is the President of Columbia University.