(Portland, Ore.) July 23, 2010 – Jonathan Fink, a national leader in the development of interdisciplinary research initiatives, is joining Portland State University in the newly-created position of vice president for research and strategic partnerships. Fink comes from Arizona State University (ASU) where, as VP for research, he oversaw the tripling of external funding, the launching of internationally recognized institutes in sustainability and biodesign, and stronger ties between academic research and regional economic development.
"Jon brings us a superb level of experience and accomplishments," said Wim Wiewel, president of PSU. "During his tenure at ASU, the school saw tremendous growth in funded research and partnerships, much of which was guided and led by Jon. He will be an integral part of the leadership team that helps PSU realize our aspiration of being one of the nation’s leading urban research universities."
PSU has dramatically expanded its research activity over the past several years, recently surpassing $50 million in annual expenditures. The University seeks to double that funding in the next five years. Fink will facilitate that growth by improving support for faculty researchers, encouraging larger interdisciplinary grant proposals, and strengthening ties with companies and government agencies. As part of the president's leadership team, he will help shape PSU's strategy for enhancing the region's economy through innovation and workforce development.
"My personal research interests have shifted over the past decade from volcanoes to urban sustainability; Portland is the best city in the U.S. to study both," said Fink. "PSU, with its new sustainability institute and location in a city with a world-class livability agenda, is poised to take its place among great metropolitan universities."
Fink, who begins September 1, is currently a professor in ASU's School of Earth and Space Exploration and director of ASU's Center for Environmental Science Applications, which focuses on urban dynamics, natural hazards, and trans-boundary water conflicts. Previously, as director of ASU's Global Institute of Sustainability and the country's first "university sustainability officer", he helped implement an institution-wide approach to sustainability research, teaching, and business operations that is a model for PSU's new sustainability initiative.
Fink's earliest collaboration with PSU scientists came in June 1980 as part of the first group of university-based geologists to conduct field studies of the eruption of Mount St. Helens. In 2004 he traveled through China with a team of six PSU administrators including former President Bernstine.
About Portland State University
Portland State University (PSU) serves as a center of opportunity for over 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Located in Portland, Oregon, one of the nation's most livable cities, the University's innovative approach to education combines academic rigor in the classroom with field-based experiences through internships and classroom projects with community partners. The University's 49-acre downtown campus exhibits Portland State's commitment to sustainability with green buildings, while many of the 125 bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees incorporate sustainability into the curriculum. PSU’s motto, "Let Knowledge Serve the City," inspires the teaching and research of an accomplished faculty whose work and students span the globe.