The Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management has chosen UCSB professor Steven Gaines as their new dean.
Gaines is scheduled to take office on Jan. 1 next year, pending his approval by the University of California President Mark G. Yudof and the UC Board of Regents. According to a press release, Gaines will soon oversee the creation of the Outreach Center for Teaching Ocean Science, which will feature interactive exhibits and ground-breaking educational programs based on the latest ocean science research.

In addition to taking this new position as acting dean of the Bren School, Gaines continues to hold the distinction of being the director of the Marine Science Institute and is a professor in a number of disciplines – including Environmental Studies and Ecology, Evolution & Marine Biology. Gaines was also the dean of the Mathematical, Life & Physical Science division of the College of Letters of Science for a two-year stint.

Environmental Studies Chair Josh Schimel said Gaines’ work ethic and dedication to the department makes him an ideal candidate for the job.

“I am excited by Steve’s appointment,” Schimel said. “Steve has a history of active leadership on campus, of building teams and relationships and of active collaboration. He understands the need to integrate scholarship on natural and human systems to develop workable solutions to environmental challenges. He embodies UCSB’s collaborative interdisciplinary culture.”

Gaines himself said he’s looking forward to his administrative role at the prestigious Bren School. Gaines added that he appreciates the fact that the school not only takes a unique approach to current environmental issues, but attempts to solve them as well.

“The thing that attracted me to [the job] is that the real focus and strength of the Bren School is looking for solutions to environmental programs,” Gaines said. “There are a lot of environmental programs around the world that are very good at identifying problems, but there are lot fewer who are able to identify solutions.”

Gaines is the author of many academic scientific works, such as “Tissue type matters: Selective herbivory on different life stages of an isomorphic alga” and “Dispersal and geographic ranges in the sea.” Notably, according to a press release, the journal Nature named a research paper he co-authored as its top research paper highlight of 2008.