New Dean Appointed
Based on the recommendation of the search advisory committee, we are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Debbie Thomas as the new dean of the College of Geosciences. Her appointment has been confirmed by The Texas A&M University System and becomes effective January 14, 2019.
Dr. Thomas received her master’s degree in marine sciences and her doctoral degree in geological sciences from the University of North Carolina. Her undergraduate degree is in geological sciences from Brown University. She joined Texas A&M University in 2004 as an assistant professor and currently holds the rank of professor in the Department of Oceanography.
Dr. Thomas, who specializes in the field of paleoceanography, was instrumental in establishing the R. Ken Williams ’45 Radiogenic Isotope Geosciences Laboratory. She studies the chemical composition of marine sediments to reconstruct past climate with a particular interest in the climate dynamics of globally warm periods of time in earth’s history. Her work relies on sea floor samples collected through the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP).
She has led international research teams through the IODP and successfully proposed IODP Expedition 378, which will recover cores from portions of the South Pacific not yet explored through scientific ocean drilling. Dr. Thomas was named co-chief of the expedition, now scheduled to sail in early 2020. Texas A&M University and the College of Geosciences serve as the operator of the JOIDES Resolution
drill ship in service of IODP, and this award represents the single largest continuous grant to Texas A&M University from National Science Foundation, totaling more than $2 billion in competitive grant awards since 1983.
Dr. Thomas’ honors include being named a Montague Center for Teaching Excellence Scholar and receiving the college-level Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching from the Texas A&M Association of Former Students. She was the keynote speaker for the Shell Science Seminar at the National Science Teachers Association’s national conference and delivered the keynote address at a Texas A&M University Freshman Convocation. She has also been named a distinguished lecturer for the Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
Dr. Thomas has served as interim dean of the College of Geosciences since 2016 and was previously head of the Department of Oceanography (2013 – 2016).
We wish to thank the members of the search advisory committee, the faculty, staff and students of the College of Geosciences, and the many outstanding candidates we were able to attract during the search to fill this position.
Please join us in congratulating Dr. Debbie Thomas on her appointment as Dean of the College of Geosciences.