New Associate Dean and Director of Interdisciplinary Graduate Education

John Weishempel

UCF biology professor John Weishampel, Ph.D., will soon be putting his experience with over 100 graduate committees to good use as he assumes his new position as Associate Dean and Director of Interdisciplinary Graduate Education this fall.

“I’m excited at the opportunity to make a difference across the broad arena of graduate studies at UCF,” he said. “I think some of the complex problems faced by society require interdisciplinary approaches that cut across colleges. Graduate students are at the forefront of creating and implementing the new knowledge that is necessary to address these issues.”

Weishampel received his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in 1994 and joined UCF in 1995 as an assistant professor in the department of biology. He served as the department of biology graduate program coordinator for six years and is currently the director of the Geospatial Analysis and Modeling of Ecological Systems (GAMES) Laboratory. He has also been the recipient of NASA’s New Investigator award and the National Science Foundation’s CAREER award.

Weishampel has been a part of several graduate committees including those from the Department of Biology, Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering, Computer Science, Educational Studies, Hospitality Management, and Mathematics, to name a few. He was instrumental in the launching of UCF’s Conservation Biology Ph.D. Program, where graduate students help with the conservation of biodiversity at the science and policy levels.

“During this time, I learned that UCF has dedicated faculty members and talented graduate students who work together to answer difficult questions and solve difficult problems,” Weishampel said.

While serving at his new position, Weishampel said that he wants to assist with the development of new interdisciplinary models of graduate education at UCF. These will allow emerging research clusters at UCF to train graduate students in non-traditional academic fields that cross artificial boundaries.

Weishampel also said that he would like to join more graduate student committees, but for now, he is focusing on preparing for his new title in the upcoming semester.

“The running joke is that when a faculty member goes into academic administration they lose 20 IQ points.  I just hope I don’t go into negative numbers,” he said.

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