Alan Townsend returns to the University of Colorado Boulder as the associate vice chancellor for research and professor of environmental studies after serving as dean of Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment and professor of ecosystem ecology. Townsend will report to Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation Terri Fiez.
"We are fortunate to have Alan back with the university," observes Fiez. "Alan is not only a talented researcher and leader; he is a strategic thinker who will help us develop approaches and leaders across campus to ensure that CU Boulder remains at the forefront of research and innovation globally."
Alan will have a faculty appointment in the Environmental Studies Program (ENVS) with tenure and as a fellow of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR). As associate vice chancellor for research in the Research & Innovation Office (RIO), formerly known as the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, Townsend will devote 50 percent of his time to supporting research development and growing research collaborations in the earth and environmental sciences. He will also help develop and guide a new faculty research leadership program at CU Boulder.
"I’m very happy to be back in Boulder and at CU," Townsend stated. "This university was my professional home for seventeen years, and spending some time away has only further clarified what I’ve always known: CU’s strengths and potential in the broad environmental arena are nearly unmatched."
Prior to his time at Duke, Townsend served as director of the Division of Environmental Biology at the National Science Foundation and the lead of CU Boulder’s efforts to secure the U.S. hub of Future Earth, now located in SEEC (Sustainability, Energy and Environment Complex). Before that, he held a variety of roles at CU Boulder, including: director of ENVS, both professor and assistant professor at INSTAAR and the Deptartment of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, as well as the associate director at INSTAAR.