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WHOI Announces New Vice President for Academic Programs and Dean

October 26, 2005

James Yoder, a professor of oceanography and former associate dean at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography, has been chosen Vice President for Academic Programs and Dean at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).  Yoder was elected at the Board of Trustees meeting at the Institution October 14 and will assume his new duties November 28.

A biological oceanographer, Yoder is well known in the oceanographic research community, having served as a researcher, professor and more recently as Director of the Division of Ocean Sciences at the National Science Foundation in Washington, DC from 2001 to 2004.  He has worked at NASA headquarters, been a member of numerous national and international committees and panels on oceanographic research, taught graduate and undergraduate courses in oceanography at URI, and advised graduate students on their master’s and Ph.D. theses.

In his new position at WHOI, he will be responsible for the Institution’s formal and informal education programs and activities, including the postdoctoral program, graduate program, undergraduate summer programs, and K-12 activities. WHOI is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and since 1968 has awarded graduate degrees jointly with MIT through the MIT/WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography and Applied Ocean Science and Engineering. The Institution also awards graduate degrees on its own. More than 725 graduate degrees have been awarded to date, including four from WHOI alone. There are currently 139 students enrolled in the joint graduate program.

“Jim Yoder brings a wealth of teaching and administrative experience in graduate education as well as a unique perspective of the ocean research community given his service at the National Science Foundation and at NASA,” WHOI President and Director Robert Gagosian said in announcing the appointment. “In those positions, he was a strong supporter not only of ocean sciences research and facilities but also of ocean science and engineering education.  Jim Yoder understands the federal funding system and the challenges facing the ocean sciences community from a number of viewpoints, and that insight will be helpful for students and researchers alike. This is an excellent addition to the senior leadership of the Institution. ”

James Yoder received a B.A. degree in botany from DePauw University in 1970, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in oceanography from the University of Rhode Island in 1974 and 1979, respectively.  He joined the staff at the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography in Georgia in 1978, and from 1986 to 1988 was a visiting senior scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, working as a program manager in the ocean branch at NASA headquarters.

He joined the faculty at the Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO) at URI in 1989 and was promoted to professor in 1992.  He was named Associate Dean of Oceanography at GSO in 1993 and served in that capacity until 1998, with responsibilities for curriculum planning and delivery, admissions, recruitment, and graduate student affairs.

While serving at the National Science Foundation, James Yoder directed a staff of 40 in the Division of Ocean Sciences, which oversaw the peer review process that provides funding support to researchers at U.S. academic and non-profit institutions for research in biological, chemical and physical oceanography, marine geology and geophysics, and ocean science education.  The Division of Ocean Sciences also funds operations of the U.S. academic research fleet and submersibles, the planning and construction of new research vessels, and supports the international ocean drilling program and observatory networks.

James Yoder will succeed John Farrington, who is retiring after serving as Vice President for Academic Programs and Dean for 15 years. John Farrington joined the Institution in 1971 as a postdoctoral investigator and subsequently held successive positions in the Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Department for 17 years, serving simultaneously for six of those years as Director of the WHOI Coastal Research Center.  In 1988 Farrington was appointed Michael P. Walsh Professor and Director of the Environmental Sciences Program at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, serving in that capacity until his present appointment at WHOI in 1990.

WHOI is a private, independent marine research and engineering, and higher education organization located in Falmouth, MA. Its primary mission is to understand the oceans and their interaction with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate a basic understanding of the ocean’s role in the changing global environment. Established in 1930 on a recommendation from the National Academy of Sciences, the Institution is organized into five departments, interdisciplinary institutes and a marine policy center, and conducts a joint graduate education program with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.