The Bryson Distinguished Professor
The Bryson Professorship is designed to attract new interdisciplinary talent to the intellectual confluence of disciplines related to climate, people, and the environment. The Bryson Professor carries out research, teaching, and public service in the socially relevant environmental and climate sciences in the spirit of the integrative approach pioneered by Reid A. Bryson.
The Bryson Distinguished Professor holds a joint appointment in the Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies (IES) and in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (AOS) and an appointment in the Center for Climatic Research (CCR) (other relevant departments may serve as the joint appointment home). The Bryson Professor is selected by the CPEP Board and holds the position up to five years (although a limited number of annual extensions are possible in appropriate circumstances).
The first Bryson Professor was Jonathan Foley, AOS and IES (1993-2000). The second Bryson Distinguished Professor was Sara Hotchkiss, Assistant Professor of Botany and IES (2003-2008). The third Bryson Professor is John (Jack) W. Williams, Associate Professor of Geography and Faculty Affiliate with the Center for Climatic Research and Land Tenure Center. Dr. Williams was appointed in Fall 2008.
Jack Williams studies the responses of plant species and communities to climate change. Much of his work has focused on mapping and modeling the shifting distributions of species during the last deglaciation (ca. 21,000 years ago to present), a time characterized by abrupt climate changes, rising CO2 concentrations, and progressive sea-level rise—in short, a time period with informative similarities to our own. One hallmark of the past is the reshuffling of species into communities with no modern analog—a phenomenon that is directly relevant to understanding species responses to 21st-century climate change.
Current Bryson Professor, Jack Williams