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John Aber Named Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

By Kim Billings, Advancement Communications
August 5, 2009

John Aber
Photo: Perry Smith, UNH Photographic Services

President Mark W. Huddleston has named John Aber as UNH’s provost and vice president for academic affairs. His appointment, pending approval by the Executive Committee of the USNH board of trustees, is expected to begin with the start of the fall semester.

Aber, a renowned research scientist and professor of natural resources, was one of three finalists for the position. Earlier this spring, he was named a University Professor, UNH’s highest form of recognition for excellence in teaching, scholarship and engagement.

“John Aber embodies the best of UNH: excellence in teaching, research and service,” Huddleston noted. “He has contributed enormously to the worlds of higher education and science, not only at UNH, but around the country and around the globe.” In 2003, Aber was ranked 11th in the world in the field of ecology/environmental science by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), an organization that measures how frequently a scientist’s work is cited by other researchers.

“John is an outstanding scholar and teacher, and, as demonstrated during his years as vice president for research, an exceedingly able administrator,” Huddleston said. “He will play a key role as UNH moves to the next level of excellence. John has the respect and admiration not only of his faculty and staff colleagues, but of his undergraduate and graduate students as well.  I am very pleased to have him as a partner.”

Aber also has served on the Durham Town Council and on the Durham Public Library board of trustees.

“We are so fortunate to be at an institution where the boundaries between topics, disciplines and people are so ephemeral, and where groups of enthusiastic faculty, students and staff can make just about anything happen,” Aber said. “It’s a privilege to work with great colleagues and students all across campus, and to be part of an institution so deeply and genuinely dedicated to making the world a better place.” 

Internationally known for his scholarship on nitrogen cycling and the effects of acid rain on forests, Aber founded and directed a campus-wide Ph.D. program in natural resources at UNH and is currently directing a research program at the university’s first-in-the-nation commercial-scale organic dairy research farm.

Aber wrote the basic text in his field, “Terrestrial Ecosystems,” and is co-editor of “Forests in Time: The Environmental Consequences of 100 years of Change in New England.”  He is also an author and co-editor of “The Sustainable Learning Community: One University’s Journey to the Future,”a presentation of the breadth and depth of sustainability activities at UNH, which was released this springHe is the author or co-author of more than 200 scientific papers.

When Aber served as the university vice president for research for four years, he led the successful effort to bring an Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) grant to New Hampshire, chaired the statewide EPSCoR committee, and established the UNH Energy Task Force.

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