Not surprisingly it has been a quiet week here at Lamont - sparsely populated parking lots, silent phones and little email traffic. Some time to catch up, but never enough, it seems.
Also some time to think of 2008 and all the many challenges it holds. It is certainly the make-or-break year for our Research Professor initiative; it is the year when our Geochemistry Division will occupy it's new home; it is the year when our new ship will have its first full operational schedule; it is the year for us to maintain our new- found momentum on the development front and keep a steady flow of new resources flowing into our endowment coffers.
We have had some great successes in recruiting in recent months - bringing a number of senior-level stars to Lamont for 2008. These efforts must never end - we must continue to strive to bring new talent into the unique research environment that makes Lamont so great. And as we do this we must work hard to maintain and improve the quality of our work environment. As promised earlier in 2007, to help me do this we have recently initiated a search to fill a newly created position within the Director's Office - Assistant Director for Academic Affairs and Diversity - an individual who will work closely with me to insure that the many initiatives that we have discussed over the past year - initiatives critical to the maintenance and growth of a happy and diverse work environment here - are established as real and effective programs.
2008 is also going to be a year for planning - the Earth Institute is leading a new Strategic Planning initiative in which we will play a major role, and we need to face a decision that we have not had to think about for a long time - what will our next new building be? For decades that has never been an issue - it has always been clear that the most urgent need was for Geochemistry - but now all that has changed...
Although, when I went to lunch today, I thought the answer was going to have to be a new Biology building... given that smoke was pouring out of it and a Sparkill Fire Department fire truck was pressurizing its hoses. But fortunately for us all it was only smoke - a bag of leaves on a heater can produce an impressive amount of smoke it seems. Enough excitement for one year.
Most of my kids are descending on me for New Years, so it is going to be an expensive few days coming up - have a great and safe New Year's celebration and I will see you all in 2008.