Susan K. Avery
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Susan Avery comes to WHOI from the University of Colorado at Boulder (UCB). Since August 2004, she has served in interim positions as vice chancellor for research and dean of the graduate school, as well as provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs at UCB. She has been a member of the university faculty since 1982, most recently holding the academic rank of professor of electrical and computer engineering.
Avery also holds an appointment at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), of which she has been a fellow since 1982. From 1994-2004, she served as director of CIRES, the first woman and first engineer to hold that position.
As director of CIRES, Avery facilitated new interdisciplinary research efforts spanning the geosciences while bringing them together with social and biological sciences. She spearheaded a reorganization of the institute and helped establish a thriving K-12 outreach program and a Center for Science and Technology Policy Research—efforts to make CIRES research more applicable, understandable, and accessible to the public.
Avery’s research interests include studies of atmospheric circulation and precipitation, climate variability and water resources, and the development of new radar techniques and instruments for remote sensing. She is the author or co-author of more than 80 peer-reviewed articles and has directed the University of Colorado's Center for Limb Atmospheric Sounding. She also has a keen interest in scientific literacy and the role of science in public policy.
Avery helped form an integrated science and assessment program that examines the impacts of climate variability on water in the American West. She also worked with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Climate Change Science Program to help formulate a national strategic science plan for climate research. Recently she served on two National Research Council panels: One produced a decadal plan for earth science and applications from space, and the other provided strategic guidance for the atmospheric sciences at the National Science Foundation.
Avery is a fellow of both the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and of the American Meteorological Society, for which she also served as president. She is chair of the Climate and Weather of the Sun-Earth System program; chair-elect for the Council on Research Policy and Graduate Education; chair of the science policy board for the Center for Sustainability of Semi-Arid Hydrology and Riparian Areas; and a member of the advisory board for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She is a past chair of the board of trustees of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.
Avery earned a bachelor's degree in physics from Michigan State University in 1972, a master's in physics from the University of Illinois in 1974, and a doctorate in atmospheric science from the University of Illinois in 1978.