Sharon Mosher, National Geoscience Leader, Becomes Dean of Jackson School of Geosciences

June 16, 2009

AUSTIN, Texas — Sharon Mosher, chair of the Department of Geological Sciences in the Jackson School of Geosciences at The University of Texas at Austin since 2007, has been named dean of the Jackson School.

The selection of Mosher, who holds the William Stamps Farish Chair, culminates a national search for a new dean after Eric Barron left to become director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in July 2008.

Professor Charles G. Groat, director of the university's Energy and Earth Resources graduate program and Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy, was interim dean during the search.

Mosher is past president of the Geological Society of America, past chair of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents and a founder and current chair of GeoScienceWorld, an international journal aggregation for geoscientists. Among her awards and honors she is a fellow of the Geological Society of America, from which she received the Distinguished Service Award in 2003, and an honorary fellow of the Geological Society of London.

Her research involves structural petrology and field-oriented structural geology, including the evolution of modern and ancient plate boundaries and deformation of the deep to mid-crust. She has supervised numerous graduate students since coming to The University of Texas at Austin in 1978. For 15 years she directed the university's geology summer field camp, the largest undergraduate summer field course in the country.

Mosher received her Ph.D. in Geological Sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana in 1978 and M.Sc. from Brown University in 1975.

"I am delighted that Sharon Mosher will be the next dean of the Jackson School," said William Powers Jr., president of The University of Texas at Austin. "Sharon was instrumental in crafting the strategic plan to make the Jackson School the preeminent geoscience program in the country, and she has been instrumental in hiring the school's outstanding new faculty. I am confident she will lead the Jackson School to new heights."

"As dean, my goal is to create a cohesive geoscience community that balances academic and research excellence and the broader societal mission of the geosciences," Mosher said.

Mosher takes over at a time of growth in the school. The number of students enrolling in and graduating from the school has risen steadily since 2005. In the past year, the Jackson School has hired 15 new faculty members, an increase of nearly 50 percent to a geoscience department already one of the largest in the country. The new hires enhance capabilities in climate systems science, energy, internal earth processes, earth surface processes, hydrology and paleontology.
Researchers from the school annually work on projects with major impact on their discipline and society. Recent milestones include CT scanning Lucy, one of the world's rarest and most famous fossils; leading the country's largest test of carbon sequestration, a key technology for future energy plans; discovering glaciers of water ice at mid-latitudes on Mars; identifying a pattern of megadroughts in West Africa's record of past climate; and surveying changes to the coast and seafloor at Galveston following Hurricane Ike. The school also leads GeoFORCE Texas, the country's largest K-12 pipeline program for the earth sciences.

Alumnus John A. (Jack) Jackson endowed the school with a bequest of $241 million in 2002, the largest gift ever given to a single public university. He charged the new school to become a national leader in the earth sciences.

"I believe the Jackson School has the opportunity to make a lasting and transformative impact on the geosciences, becoming a preeminent geoscience institution and meeting the full potential envisioned by Jack Jackson," Mosher said.

Her appointment as dean begins July 1.

For more information, contact: J.B. Bird, University of Texas at Austin, 512-750-3512 (cell), 512 471 4550.

21 Comments to "Sharon Mosher, National Geoscience Leader, Becomes Dean of Jackson School of Geosciences"

1.  Janna Swain said on June 17, 2009

What a fabulous pick. Congratulations, Dr. Mosher. I'm so excited for you and the Jackson School. As an alumnus of The Jackson School of Geosciences and a past student of Dr. Mosher, I have no doubt that only great things will come from naming Dr. Mosher as the new Dean.

2.  AWOSEMO Oladotun said on June 17, 2009

This is a novel development. I believe this will take the Jackson School to a greater height.

3.  Russell Wells said on June 17, 2009

I am an entering transfer student starting in the Fall of 2009 and extremely excited to start my journey with the Geoscience family within The University of Texas. I wish Sharon Mosher, Dean of Jackson School of Geoscience, all the very best on her new journey and eagerly look forward on getting to know her as my dean and the entire Geoscience family. Hook Em Horns.

4.  Fred Wiegand said on June 18, 2009

Welcom to Dean Sharon Mosher.
congratulations from
Fred Wiegand, UT geologist 1969

would like to meet you in person at your convience.

5.  Prof. Adel R. Moustafa (EGYPT) said on June 18, 2009

Congratulations to Sharon.

6.  David Tolces said on June 18, 2009

Congratulations to Professor Mosher and to the Jacson School. I do recall her as being a fine professor when I attended UT from 1983-86 and obtained my degree in Geological Sciences. Continue the good work! Hook 'em


7.  Robert S. Kier said on June 18, 2009

I don't know if congratulations or condolences are in order, but I will go with congratulations. If I can help in any way, please let me know.


8.  Vickye Vélez said on June 18, 2009

Sharon, you were one of my structural teachers for my master's studies in 1998. I want to congratulate you on this important success. From Colombia, sending my best regards and the best for you as dean of the Jackson School. Un abrazo. Vickye

9.  Moses Moreno said on June 18, 2009

Congratulations Dr. Mosher! I still remember taking one of your geology classes!

10.  Toby Carleton said on June 18, 2009

Congratulations on your appointment as Dean. I am sure that you will have the full support of the Advisory Council.

11.  Lynn Bell said on June 18, 2009

Hello Sharon, What great news--many congratulations! Lynn Bell

12.  Michael A. Wiley said on June 18, 2009

Dr. Mosher, your selection as Dean is fabulous news. Over the years, you have contributed so much to the science we love and to the education of future geoscientists. The Jackson School is in excellent hands, now. Congratulations.

13.  Maggie Dalthorp said on June 20, 2009

Congratulations, Dr. Mosher! I am a proud University of Texas at Austin graduate and former student of Dr. Mosher's. I am confident that under her leadership an excellent geoscience education will continue to be provided by the school.

14.  Scott Kelley said on June 22, 2009

Congratulations from a former student of 1986! I know you will do a superb job and lead the school to new heights.


15.  Jim Levy said on June 25, 2009

Dr. Mosher, I was in your first class at the university and remember you fondly! Congratulations!

16.  Bill W said on June 26, 2009

Congratulations to Sharon. She's an outstanding scientist and a great administrator. I'm sure she'll lead the Jackson School of Geosciences well. We need someone with her skills at the helm.

17.  Javier Miranda said on June 29, 2009

Congratulations to Sharon! I hope this appointment contributes to the steadily improving process of the Jackson School of Geosciences. As a graduate student from petroleum engineering, I took two courses in geology, and I have very good memories from that department! I wish you all the best!

18.  Matthew Davis said on June 30, 2009

I'll never forget the days of TA'ing under your guidance, Dr. Mosher. Congrats, it was nice to see you in Denver, and good luck! This is a huge opportunity! ~Matt

19.  Shiela B. Hall said on July 1, 2009

Congratulations and best of luck! Loved your "Roll Back" seminar last year and look forward to more great things from the Jackson School! Let us know if you need anything. Shiela Hall, Lubbock, Texas, and Dwight Cassell, Austin, Texas

20.  Abdel Monem Soltan said on July 8, 2009

Good luck and congratulations.

21.  Mario Aranda said on Aug. 31, 2009

Congratulations to Dr. Mosher, from one of your hundreds of graduate students. It's very nice to know that such a big job is in your friendly hands. My best regards to you. Mario Aranda