Director's Corner Fall 2015

JefffullphotoI am excited to begin my new role as director of the Water Resources Center.  During my first few weeks on the job I have enjoyed meeting many people involved in the diverse array of water resource issues in Minnesota. These discussions have deepened my appreciation for the many bonds between Minnesotans and the water resources surrounding us. I have many more people yet to meet and look forward to hearing more of these stories.

I feel both grateful and humbled to start this job following the distinguished leaders who have built this center into what it has become.  I owe a special thanks to Faye Sleeper, who led the center capably as interim director for over a year and helped me make a smooth transition. Faye will continue to be part of the center’s leadership as associate director.  She will be overseeing many of our outreach functions, in addition to working with me to guide future directions of all center programs.

I would also like to recognize and thank Deborah Swackhamer, who led the research, graduate education, and policy outreach activities in the center as co-director until 2014. Deb has been most gracious and helpful to me as I learn about water resource issues in Minnesota and center activities.  Her contributions to both scientific and policy discourse will be long remembered – the sort of legacy left by very few.  

Faye and Deb developed effective programs to address the ever evolving set of water resource issues in our region. As I went through the hiring process, one of many attractive features of the job was the knowledge that University Extension and the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences both recognize the value of the center’s programs and see work on water resource issues a future priority.

Those of us working on water resource issues find ourselves in both a challenging and exciting time. Needs are great and unresolved questions abound, but we also have an opportunity to make lasting impacts. In the coming months, we will be going through a visioning and planning process in the center to identify our priorities and develop strategies to maximize our impacts and value.  Our success, now and in the future, hinges on strong connections with our partners and the many audiences of our programs. I look forward to these ongoing conversations and always welcome your ideas about the center’s programs and opportunities to improve them. Please contact me any time at jmpeter@umn.edu.

I hope to see you at the Minnesota Water Resources Conference on October 13 and 14. The program has shaped up to be excellent. This will be a perfect opportunity for me to further connect with the people dedicated to our water resources. 

jeff sig