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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Georgia Forest Ecologist Named Director of OSU School of Environment and Natural Resources

October 20, 2009

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ron Hendrick, professor of forest ecology and associate dean for academic affairs in the University of Georgia’s D.B. Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, has been named director of The Ohio State University School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR). His appointment becomes effective Nov. 1 pending approval by the university Board of Trustees.


At Georgia, Hendrick collaborated on high-profile campus initiatives related to the university’s curriculum, international education, minority recruitment and graduate education. He directed the Warnell school’s curriculum development, faculty evaluation and development, and student recruitment, instruction, retention, advising and placement. He taught undergraduate and graduate courses throughout his tenure there.

“Ron is an effective and proven leader, scholar and instructor,” said Bobby Moser, Ohio State’s vice president for agricultural administration and dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. “He exemplifies the qualities highlighted as priorities for the position, and we look forward to his leadership in this role.”

Hendrick joined the Georgia faculty in 1993, was promoted to associate professor in 1999, and became professor and Warnell’s associate dean for academic affairs in 2007. He served the school three years as graduate program coordinator, four years as academic director of the study abroad program in New Zealand, and contributed to related programs in Fiji and Antarctica. He strongly advocated for internationalizing the school’s curriculum.

His research centers on fine root dynamics and the role of belowground processes in nutrient cycling. It has led to new methods for the in situ study of roots and has advanced the basic understanding of the consequences of root turnover in forest ecosystems. Applied elements of carbon sequestration, invasive species and fire ecology are also part of his work.

A native of Michigan, he earned his bachelor’s degree with honors in forestry in 1986 and his doctorate in forest ecology in 1992, both from Michigan State University. He subsequently completed a one-year National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellowship with the Institute of Arctic Biology at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.

“I have a broad and interdisciplinary view of environmental science and natural resources, so the breadth of the school’s academic, research and outreach programs is very appealing to me,” Hendrick said. “The faculty, staff and students are productive and seem very happy here, and those are always signs of a strong program as well. Also, I’m a Midwesterner by birth. The move puts my wife and I closer to family back in Michigan, and we already feel very much at home moving back here.

“There are some tremendous opportunities to increase support for the school among the alumni and across the state. The semester conversion [effective fall 2012] will present us with a number of opportunities to strengthen the academic program and enhance our program offerings, hopefully to include more study abroad and distance learning options. Growing societal interest in and emphasis on environmental science should also enable us to play a more prominent role in teaching and research on campus and in outreach activities around the state,” he said.

“Dr. Hendrick’s ecology background and his proven leadership in matters related to academic affairs will be major assets to the school as the university converts its programs to the semester system and as the school continues to strengthen its research and outreach efforts in the general area of environmental science and policy,” said current SENR Director and Professor Jerry Bigham, who will resume his faculty role.

The School of Environment and Natural Resources ( is part of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences ( at Ohio State (, which U.S. and World Report ranks among the top 25 public universities in the United States.

The school’s academic programs include traditional classroom, field and Web-assisted experiences. Its research and outreach activities are conducted under the auspices of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) ( and Ohio State University Extension (, respectively.

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Kurt Knebusch
Jerry Bigham