A three-day workweek at the end of the calendar year finds many of us on travel or with families, a welcome respite before research and educational programs resume apace in the New Year.
Today’s lead editorial in the Times is a well-reasoned call for President Obama to exercise greater leadership on the issue of climate change mitigation. The recommendation for further actions on limiting greenhouse gas emissions is welcome, even as most news from Washington this week has focused on the federal cliffhanger, the discouraging inability of this nation’s Executive and Legislative branches to reach an agreement on meeting deficit-reduction targets needed by year end to avoid triggering changes in tax regulations and automatic reductions in federal agency budgets.
On Wednesday, Helen Olivette joined the Observatory as Human Resources Coordinator. Helen has taken the position long held by Kathy Karlsen, whose last day was Thursday. Helen previously taught at Orange Community College and worked in human relations and recruitment at Macy’s and at Ernst and Young before arriving at Lamont. Please join me in welcoming Helen, and in offering Kathy our best wishes for her retirement.
A New Year’s tradition deeply rooted in history is to make one or more resolutions for the coming year. Here are several that I offer on behalf of the Observatory:
• To continue the development of a strategic plan for LDEO and the campus that will identify the most promising directions of future research and the improvements needed in the areas of instrumentation, technical support, laboratory and office space, and infrastructure to be able to accomplish that research.
• To continue the recruitment of the most outstanding candidates for Lamont postdoctoral fellow and Lamont Research Professor positions to work among us as colleagues and broaden the sweep of Observatory research.
• To continue to streamline and clarify the processes of scientific staff review and promotion to ensure that our younger scientists are encouraged and guided in their professional growth and can expect timely opportunities for promotion.
• To continue to provide opportunities for creativity and advancement for our technical and administrative staff.
• To strengthen Lamont’s efforts in communication, education, and development with the hiring of a new Director for Strategic Initiatives, Development, and External Relations and the reorganization of the Observatory’s programs within that new office.
Not everyone’s New Year’s resolutions, of course, are followed throughout the ensuing year, but I hope that twelve months from now we can all look back and sense progress across the above areas. In the meantime, may each of you mark the New Year in a personally meaningful fashion, and may the coming year be one of sustained fellowship, continued innovation in research and education, and stunning scientific achievements.