Thursday, October 16, 2014

New State Geologist appointed in Idaho

Michael "Ed" Ratchford has been appointed as the State Geologist and Director of the Idaho Geological Survey, based at the University of Idaho, in Moscow.

Welcome Ed!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Dr. David Wunsch recognized by AGI for Outstanding Contributions to the Understanding of Geoscience

This year the American Geosciences Institute is recognizing David R. Wunsch, Ph.D. [photo credit Delaware Geological Survey] with its Outstanding Contribution to the Understanding of Geoscience award. Through numerous outreach efforts, such as helping New Hampshire residents understand the collapse of the "Old Man on the Mountain," educating the U.S. public on the importance of groundwater and helping support the authorizing of the SECURE Water Act his accomplishments have been numerous and valuable to the U.S. public interest.

Wunsch became the State Geologist of New Hampshire in 2000, and over the next decade he grew the survey tenfold both in personnel and in budget. His implementation of the state geological mapping program led to many partnerships that brought critical local geologic information on to residents. He turned events such as the devastating loss of a state's natural symbol, the Old Man on the Mountain, and an avulsion brought on by an extreme rain event, into opportunities to educate and bring government officials, and the general public, into the field. His efforts working with the state legislature led to increased public support to protect New Hampshire's unique geological features from defacing and vandalism.

His major effort has been helping the U.S. public understand the important role groundwater plays in supporting U.S. society. He helped found a federal-level committee on the subject, and served as the Director of Science and Technology for the National Groundwater Association (NGWA), a then-AGI federation member.
His efforts supporting the SECURE Water Act, signed into law by President Obama, resulted in the initial phase of the National Ground Water Monitoring Network which currently has network of 2806 wells from 29 states representing 49 principal aquifers.

This award is presented to a person, organization, or institution in recognition of an outstanding contribution to the public understanding of geoscience. The contribution may be in geoscience or how geoscience relates to economic or environmental aspects of modern civilization. The award may be given to a geoscientist, non-geoscientist, or to an organization or an institution that is geoscientific or non-geoscientific in character.

[from the AGI announcement]

Monday, October 06, 2014

Matt Joeckel named Nebraska State Geologist

Robert Matt Joeckel [photo credit UNL] has been named Nebraska state geologist. He succeeds Mark Kuzila, who stepped down after 16 years of service in the position.

"(Joeckel) is an outstanding scientist with a long history of working on important issues in the state of Nebraska," said John Carroll, professor and director of UNL's School of Natural Resources. "I can think of no person who is better qualified."

The state geologist position is housed within the Conservation and Survey Division, a multidisciplinary research, service and data-collection organization in the School of Natural Resources.

"I am very appreciative of the opportunity afforded by the position," Joeckel said. "I have the opportunity to work with a great faculty and staff, and I will always feel fortunate to work for the university in my home state."

Joeckel joined the Conservation and Survey Division as a research geologist in 2000. He is curator of geology in the University of Nebraska State Museum and a fellow of the Geological Society of America. He has a doctorate in geology from the University of Iowa.

"(Joeckel) has contributed enormously to the museum as curator of geology, most recently with the new mineral exhibits he has created," said Priscilla Grew, director of the NU State Museum. "(He) will be an outstanding ambassador for our state."

Joeckel said many challenges await the Conservation and Survey Division, the greatest of which is further demonstrating the significance of a geological survey in Nebraska.

"CSD faculty and staff have valuable prior expertise in the petroleum, environmental, engineering consulting and mineral industries, as well as other experience in the public sector," Joeckel said. "All of us in CSD need to reassert the importance of earth-science data and expertise to a wide range of stakeholders within and outside of the university. A geological survey can make major contributions toward the resolution of the complex environmental and societal problems of the 21st century."

Investigating the geological framework of the High Plains Aquifer and the paleoenvironmental record within Nebraska's understudied ice age sedimentary record are among Joeckel's research priorities for his tenure as state geologist.

"Nebraska's geologic record and physical environment have and will continue to provide important data relevant to the understanding of global environmental systems, changing environments through geologic time and the evolution of life on this planet," Joeckel said. "Some of our expertise also extends well beyond Nebraska and into the national and international realm. I take some pride in that expansiveness and I expect that we will build upon our very positive reputation."

In 1871, an ad hoc geological survey was established within the University of Nebraska. Since then, nine individuals have served in the state geologist position. The Conservation and Survey Division was formally established in 1921 by state statute.

"I love geology and I love Nebraska too," Joeckel said. "It's great to practice my profession in a place in which there is still so much important research and outreach left to do."

— Mekita Rivas, Natural Resources
More details at:

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Position opening: Director, Illinois State Geological Survey

Director, Illinois State Geological Survey
Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) is part of the Prairie Research Institute (PRI) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign which is centrally located between Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis. PRI houses 5 large scientific surveys covering a wide range of expertise including biology, water resources, climate, geology, sustainable technology and archaeology. The ISGS is a premier state geological survey, with over 200 scientists and technical support staff, serving the needs of the public, government, and industry with earth science information and research relevant to natural resources, environmental quality, economic vitality, and public safety. The University is a land-grant institution that provides access to world-class laboratory and academic facilities, Big Ten athletic events, and internationally acclaimed cultural opportunities.

We are seeking an individual to serve as the chief executive officer and lead scientist for the ISGS, a person who will provide outstanding leadership, direction, and overall administration to:
 Develop, coordinate, and implement scientific research and service programs, public engagement activities, state-mandated functions, and professional services.
 Lead an ambitious research agenda for ISGS and ensure that sufficient funds are available to realize that agenda.
 Mentor staff in developing research programs and professional advancement.
 Encourage, foster and develop collaborative relationships within the University as well as with stakeholders in state, federal, and international agencies, other academic institutions, and the public.
 Execute the ISGS mission.
 Encourage and lead a strong commitment to diversity.
 Establish retention and recruiting priorities.
 Foster a culture of innovation and high level of performance at both the individual and organizational level.
 Encourage and commit resources to support lifelong learning at all levels.
 Foster a culture focused on awareness, scientific integrity, open communication, and safety.
 Serve as the Illinois State Geologist and represent the ISGS through professional affiliations.
 Collaborate with other State Geologists in the formulation of national earth science policies, programs, and related issues.
 Serve on national committees for science and public policy for the benefit of scientific organizations and the public.
 Direct and oversee the allocation and use of resources and facilities assigned to ISGS.
 Develop and interface with ISGS and PRI advisory committees, serve on University committees, and communicate with other offices or campus officials.

Required Qualifications: Advanced degree in an earth science discipline. Alternate degree fields may be considered depending on nature and depth of work experience as related to ISGS vision and priorities. Demonstrated successful research career and experience in research management, including science-related program development, science-team administration, and/or public service. An established leader demonstrated by success in an area of relevant research in a multidisciplinary research organization with a strong commitment to affirmative action and diversity. Must have a demonstrated high level of professional credibility and personal integrity; an outstanding record of research; obtaining sponsored funding from state, federal, or international agencies and/or the private sector; publishing results in peer-reviewed outlets; and communicating the importance of science to varied audiences. Outstanding interpersonal and communication skills and demonstrated experience in interacting successfully with scientists, staff, business, public, and/or elected officials.

Demonstrated vision, capability, and experience to address the challenges facing society related to the geosciences, including water, environmental, earth hazard, mineral resource, and/or energy issues.
Preferred Qualifications: Ph.D. A scholarly record appropriate for a national or international leader in her/his field, or significant other qualifications. Qualifications to be a licensed professional geologist in Illinois. Collaboration with multiple geoscience subdisciplines or other multidisciplinary scientific efforts. Participation in national or international professional or scientific organizations.

Ideal candidates will hold a doctoral degree and an academic track record appropriate for a tenured full professor at the University, or commensurately significant other qualifications in the field of earth science or related field.

This is a regular full-time academic professional position. The starting date is negotiable after the closing date. Salary will be commensurate with experience.

Applications must be received by October 31, 2014. Applicants may be interviewed before the closing date; however, no hiring decision will be made until after that date. To apply, please visit to complete an online profile and to upload a 1) cover letter, 2) résumé/CV, 3) the names and contact information (including e-mail addresses) of five professional references. All requested information must be submitted for your application to be considered. Incomplete information will not be reviewed.

For further information please contact Lori Walston-Vonderharr, Human Resources, Illinois State Geological Survey, at or 217-244-2401.

Illinois is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, sex, age, status as a protected veteran, or status as a qualified individual with a disability. Illinois welcomes individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and ideas who embrace and value diversity and inclusivity (