Department History: The First decade of the 21st century

The new century brought many changes to the Department. From the Department’s beginnings, it was strictly a graduate department, offering M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. In the fall of 2007, an undergraduate major in Atmospheric Sciences was approved by the University and State of Illinois. To accommodate this change the Department designed a whole new suite of courses for the major, and redesigned many of the graduate course offerings to expand the curriculum. The first courses were introduced in Fall 2008.

When the Department was created in 1982, it was initially in the University’s Graduate College. In 1993, the Department moved into the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS), the University’s largest college, which currently has 60 departments and institutes. Our Department has established mutual research interests with other LAS departments since that move, particularly with our sister geosciences departments, Geology and Geography. In 2007, DAS joined with these departments to form the School of Earth, Society, and the Environment within LAS. The School of Earth, Society, and Environment is the 5th School within the College and is headquartered in the Natural History Building. As part of a School initiative to develop research in the area of Water as a Complex Environmental System, the Department hired several new faculty, Tracy Twine, Peter Snyder, Steve Nesbitt and Somnath Baidya Roy. Another new faculty member, Nicole Riemer, joined the faculty in 2008. Because of the success of our undergraduate survey courses, a second instructor position was created, filled by our our alumnus, Eric Snodgrass. The first decade of the 21st century also marked the retirement of Ken Beard, John Walsh and Mankin Mak, three faculty members distinguished by their long outstanding service to the Department, and of Peggy Cook, our Department administrative secretary who served from 2002-2007.

As we move forward, we are challenged to make our undergraduate program one of the best in the nation, and the School a powerful tool for collaborative research. Having moved into the Natural History Building during the summer of 2017, we are constantly working to enhance our opportunities for collaborative research with Geology and Geography faculty.

> Go to "The Creation of the Undergraduate Program"