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Deborah Swackhamer Selected for the Charles M. Denny, Jr. Chair in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy

Deb head shot1.jpg

Professor Swackhamer has been in invaluable resource for the center over the past few years. She has been engaged in multiple projects ranging from Green Chemistry and Risk Assessment to water and SD modeling. Thus we are happy to announce her official appointment of Denny Chair for the area of science, technology and environmental policy.

Swackhamer is an environmental chemist with a focus on water systems. She has been at the university since 1986. Swackhamer currently serves as Chair of the Science Advisory Board of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Science Advisory Board of the International Joint Commission of the US and Canada. Swackhamer was also appointed by Governor Pawlenty to serve on the Minnesota Clean Water Council. Her research interests include chemical and biological processes that control the fate of toxic organic contaminants in the aquatic environment, particularly bioaccumulation of persistent compounds in fish; the processes that control exposure to environmental estrogenic compounds; and the development of contaminant indicators of ecosystem health. Swackhamer holds a Ph.D. in oceanography and limnology and an M.S. in water chemistry from the University of Wisconsin Madison and a B.A. in chemistry from Grinnell College.

As Denny Chair, Swackhamer will serve as the senior faculty member for the STEP area, and will teach and advise graduate students in the MS-STEP program.

The position of Denny Chair was created by Charels M. Denny, Jr. and affiliates in 1999 as a means to ensure the integration of science and technology to enduring mission of policy improvement. For the announcement of the position its first holder Kenneth Keller stated the mission and implications, which is also the core of this blog:

“It is certainly true that in our society – and I mean our global society – is affected by science and technology more today then ever before. Some would go further and argue that S&T define the age in which we live. I think that’s more then an exaggeration; it misses an important point. And that point is that neither science nor technology in and of themselves determines the course of society; in the vernacular of the field, we are not defined by “technology push.” I fact, there is a complex interaction between S&T and society – driven by the historical moment, the social needs, the political power structure, the state of the economy, and even the culture of the people – and that interaction determines how new technology is applied and what its effect is on our lives.

The goal we have in this program is two-fold. It is, on one hand, to understand how that interactive process works; how we can anticipate and avoid the unintended consequences of new technologies and, at the same time, how we can promote the social and institutional changes that will allow us to realize the potential benefits of new knowledge. On the other hand, we want to understand what kinds of policies will help us to develop that new knowledge; that is, how we can use the instruments of policy and power of the purse to encourage and support the creative acts of discovery and invention by which we build the knowledge base that can subsequently be exploited for the benefit of society.

Big tasks – and vital ones if research universities like Minnesota are to be successful in actually serving society through research. To tackle the tasks successfully, we need to bridge the worlds of science and public policy; we need to understand how each system works and put them together.”

Swackhamer is a fortunate addition to lead and expand that mission and her research will provide many much needed policy quidelines.

Click here to read the official Humphrey News Release.

As Denny Chair, Swackhamer will serve as the senior faculty member for the STEP area, and will teach and advise graduate students in the MS-STEP program.

The position of Denny Chair was created by Charels M. Denny, Jr. and affiliates in 1999 as a means to ensure the integration of science and technology to enduring mission of policy improvement. For the announcement of the position its first holder Kenneth Keller stated the mission and implications, which is also the core of this blog:

“It is certainly true that in our society – and I mean our global society – is affected by science and technology more today then ever before. Some would go further and argue that S&T define the age in which we live. I think that’s more then an exaggeration; it misses an important point. And that point is that neither science nor technology in and of themselves determines the course of society; in the vernacular of the field, we are not defined by “technology push.” I fact, there is a complex interaction between S&T and society – driven by the historical moment, the social needs, the political power structure, the state of the economy, and even the culture of the people – and that interaction determines how new technology is applied and what its effect is on our lives.

The goal we have in this program is two-fold. It is, on one hand, to understand how that interactive process works; how we can anticipate and avoid the unintended consequences of new technologies and, at the same time, how we can promote the social and institutional changes that will allow us to realize the potential benefits of new knowledge. On the other hand, we want to understand what kinds of policies will help us to develop that new knowledge; that is, how we can use the instruments of policy and power of the purse to encourage and support the creative acts of discovery and invention by which we build the knowledge base that can subsequently be exploited for the benefit of society.

Big tasks – and vital ones if research universities like Minnesota are to be successful in actually serving society through research. To tackle the tasks successfully, we need to bridge the worlds of science and public policy; we need to understand how each system works and put them together.”

Swackhamer is a fortunate addition to lead and expand that mission and her research will provide many needed policy quidelines.

Click here
to read the official Humphrey News Release.

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