For nearly a century, VIMS has been providing science for solutions to the Commonwealth of Virginia and to coastal communities around the nation and world. As one of the largest and most respected marine research and education centers in the country, VIMS is unique among its peers. As both a school of William & Mary (the School of Marine Science) and a stand-alone advisory agency for the commonwealth, we are deeply embedded in the communities we serve, and have the expertise and resources necessary to provide practical and meaningful guidance to policy makers and the public in highly-used and heavily-populated coastal and estuarine systems.
This is an exciting time at VIMS. We have just completed a visionary strategic plan that positions our school and institute to anticipate and address the major environmental and social challenges that coastal and marine systems will face in the years ahead. Emphasized in that plan is the commitment to: be global leaders in the development and maintenance of resilient systems by producing science for healthy ecosystems, stewardship of natural resources, and effective responses to global change; train the next generation of science leaders; remain the trusted science advisor to Virginia and coastal communities worldwide; expand our societal impact and engagement; and be leaders in sustainable action.
Part of the strategic planning process is taking a deep dive into our structure and processes to ensure that we are operating effectively and proactively, and expanding our stakeholder engagement to ensure maximum impact of the science, education, and advisory service work that we do.
A critical component of our current and future success is building a culture and community that has the diversity of perspectives necessary to solve these grand global challenges, and in which every person and position is empowered to be heard, valued, and respected. In addition to our ongoing efforts toward diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at VIMS, we are presently recruiting a Director of DEI, and we will soon be launching a significant minority postdoctoral researcher training program. I invite you to explore these opportunities and consider applying. We have also just launched a faculty cluster search focused on the science and human dimensions of coastal and marine systems. We intend to recruit as many as five new faculty members across a broad range of disciplines who can contribute in creative and innovative ways to our new strategic plan.
Whether you are a potential student, staff, or faculty member, coastal home or business owner, boater, angler, or water lover, VIMS has something important to offer you. From discovery to decision, genes to ecosystems, shoreline to open water, we are uniquely positioned to provide actionable and impactful science to advance solutions to the complex challenges facing our coasts and oceans, and the communities that depend upon them. I invite you to join us on this important journey at this critical period in the history of our institute, nation, and world.
-Dr. D. Derek Aday