2022 Candidate Jeannine Cavender-Bares
University of Minnesota
Candidate for: ESA Vice President for Finance
A native of southeastern Ohio, I am a Distinguished McKnight University Professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at the University of Minnesota and Director of the NSF Biology Integration Institute ASCEND–Advancing Spectral Biology in Changing ENvironments to understand Diversity. I am also a courtesy professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Florida, given my long-term interest in the high-diversity oak-dominated forests of Florida. My research focuses on plant functional ecology and phylogenetics, stress responses to global change, and on the use of spectroscopy and remote sensing in the detection of biodiversity and ecological and evolutionary processes across scales.
I have served on the Governing Board as ESA’s VP for Finance since 2020; if re-elected, this would be my second and final term. I have a range of leadership, research, mentoring and finance experience relevant to this position, including serving as the Chair of the Physiological Ecology Section of ESA. I have also served on NSF’s Biological Sciences Advisory Committee (BIO AC), on the Advisory Working Group for NASA’s Biodiversity and Ecological Forecasting program, on the planning committee for the World Biodiversity Forum and as Co-Chair of the Gordon Research Conference on Multiscale Vascular Plant Biology. I was a Coordinating Lead Author for the Americas Regional Assessment of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES 2018). Over the last two decades, I have led major research grants from multiple federal and state institutions and managed budgets for these projects. I have taught courses in Plant Physiological Ecology, Ecology, Biodiversity Science and a distributed, multi-institution graduate seminar in Sustainability Science. I am an Editor for New Phytologist, on the Advisory Board of eLife, a former Fulbright Scholar to both Germany and Mexico, a Leopold Environmental Leadership Fellow and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. I am committed to advancing the next generation of diverse integrative biologists, who share a vision for stewardship of a habitable planet for humanity.
What interests, experience or skills would you bring to this position?
In my first term as ESA’s VP for Finance, I have gained considerable experience in understanding and participating in ESA’s evolving governance and financial systems and have helped to steer our long-term fiscal policy. I established and chaired the first-ever ESA Finance Committee to advise the society on financial matters. Together with ESA staff and the Governing Board, we initiated the Strategic PRoposals IN support of Transformation (SPRINT) program, to enable grant spending on reserve assets for the first time in ESA history. I worked with the Finance Committee to establish policy and procedures for evaluating, selecting and reporting on ESA SPRINT projects. I have also helped to steer ESA investments towards increased allocation to green investment. I am committed to investing in transformative activities that benefit our members while maintaining the society’s solid financial path.
How would you support ESA’s mission? How would you plan to promote DEIJ in ESA membership and activities if elected?
I am particularly interested in increasing the diversity of our membership and supporting the participation of early career folks to engage with and benefit from ESA. ESA plays a critical role in the professional life of ecologists, providing a public voice for the importance of the work we do, sharing cutting edge research among peers and providing channels for publication and broad dissemination of ecological knowledge. I have been a member of ESA since 1994, when I first joined as a graduate student; the society has fostered my growth as a scientist and is my primary intellectual home. I have benefited from being part of our vibrant community of ecologists and conservation leaders, and I am committed to promoting ESA’s capacity to provide opportunities to facilitate mentoring, training, knowledge dissemination, networking and employment opportunities for the next generation of diverse scientists. In my first term as VP for Finance, I led the establishment of the SPRINT program that funded a major DEIJ initiative aimed at increasing participation, visibility and a wide range of training, engagement and dissemination activities to foster the inclusion, equity and justice of diverse ecologists. I consider these kinds of efforts essential to the future of ESA. I will continue to work to create a society that represents and supports the diversity of people who depend on nature and the ecological processes we are all part of.