Michael Mortimer to Lead College of Natural Resources and Environment Initiatives in the Greater Washington, DC Metro Area | VTX

Michael Mortimer, founding director of the Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability, has been named Associate Dean for Programs and Initiatives in the Greater Washington, DC Metro Area, for the College of Natural Resources and Environment (CNRE).

“With our history and successful programming in the Washington, D.C. area, spanning several decades and our unique proximity to the region with its federal agencies and nonprofit groups, the college is uniquely positioned to grow beyond of our current offerings,” said Dean Paul M. Winistörfer.

This organizational change both celebrates the college’s continued presence in the region and heralds efforts to accelerate the development of relationships that will enhance future curricula, experiential learning opportunities, and research projects.

“An expanded presence in the DC area will leverage regional opportunities and partnerships for our Blacksburg departments and faculties,” Winistorfer said. “As we continue to think of creative ways to bring experiential learning to all college students, a larger footprint in the region will help create opportunities for our students through our current and future networks. “

These opportunities will build on the graduate programs offered by the Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability (CLiGS), which has provided professional development opportunities for aspiring leaders in environmental sustainability for more than two decades.

The center currently hosts 175 students pursuing an online master’s degree in natural resources. With Mortimer at the helm, online registrations increased by more than 600% between 2011 and 2019.

Thirty-five students are also enrolled in the Executive Master of Natural Resources program, a hybrid, accelerated graduate program that takes place over three semesters in one year.

Both programs have taken more than 400 master’s students abroad to more than a dozen countries over the past eight years.

According to Winistorfer, now is a good time to build on the college’s success in offering financially self-sustaining graduate programs to develop additional offerings. These new programs will target market opportunities and changing workforce skills and competencies, while providing educational experiences in the formats working professionals seek.

Winistorfer also plans to increase research activities as the college strengthens existing partnerships and engages in new collaborative efforts. These opportunities will be available to faculty based at Virginia Tech Research Center – Arlington, home of CLiGS, as well as those at the Blacksburg campus.

Mortimer is in a unique position to lead and capitalize on new opportunities for the college. He holds a Ph.D. in forest resource policy from the University of Montana and a JD from the Dickinson School of Law at Pennsylvania State University.

Mortimer came to Virginia Tech in 2001 after serving as special attorney general for the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. He was appointed Director of Natural Resources Programs for the Washington, DC region in 2008 and became Director of the then newly created CLiGS in 2014.

“CNRE has had a presence in the DC area since the 1990s. Since then, we have enrolled over 700 master’s students, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what the college can achieve in the region,” Mortimer said. “As we witness heightened concerns about climate change and the security of water, energy and food, and see our global societies facing more threats than ever due to evolving environmental conditions, new partnerships and collaborations in teaching, research and outreach are not only practical, they are critical.”

“One of our goals is to help policy makers see the world through the lens of natural resources and to see national security through the lens of the environment and natural resources. Having someone in the DC area who is empowered to represent our interests will help build our network and create opportunities for our faculty and for Virginia Tech,” Winistorfer said.

Comments are closed.