The structure and function of scientific research and education at academic institutions in the United States is in a period of great change. Many academic institutions are considering plans to down-size in terms of staff and funding, such that a reevaluation of their overall mission is necessary (Selvin 1995). One common theme is to focus the efforts (and talents) of multiple investigators, departments, and institutions in an integrated manner towards problem-solving. This development may be both a necessity of limited budgets, and a reality of the types of scientific problems that exist today. This is particularly true of studies on large ecosystems like the world's Oceans and Great Lakes. Environmental changes in these systems can often be related to human activities (climate change, eutrophication of exotic species), that often manifest themselves over large spatial and temporal scales with global implications. In this way, centers of multidisciplinary academic excellence may be valuable now more than ever. The State University of New York, College at Buffalo supports one of the few academic field facilities on the Laurentian Great Lakes. The field station is operated out of the Great Lakes Center (GLC), which is affiliated with the School of Natural and Social Sciences. This project will help refine the mission statement of GLC establish collaborative connections with other institutions in the Great Lakes region, and to plan and further develop the physical facilities at our field station. Objectives for the project are three-fold: 1. To obtain feedback and suggestions regarding the mission statement for the GLC's multidisciplinary Great Lakes Environmental Studies Program. 2. To facilitate communication and potential collaborations between the GLC and other institutions in the Great Lakes region, including scientists (particularly from field stations), regulatory agencies, and local government. 3. To produce a written 5- year Strate gic Development Plan to help guide the further development of physical facilities that support the GLC's program.
A Planning Project to Further Develop a Multidisciplinary Approach to Great Lakes Environmental Studies. May, 1997, Buffalo, New York.