Dr. Gower is an internationally recognized forest ecosystem ecologist, and is currently a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology and Faculty Director of BioHouse, a living learning community program for undergraduates majoring in biological sciences.
He holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Furman University, a Master of Science in Forest Ecology and a minor in Soil Science from NC State University, and a PhD in Forest Ecology from the University of Washington. He is a University of Wisconsin Systems Teaching Fellow and Scholar and an HHMI Faculty Fellow with the Institute for Biology Education.
Dr. Gower’s research focuses primarily on the effects of disturbance on carbon, water and nutrient budgets of forest ecosystems, life cycle inventories of greenhouse gases to produce wood and paper products, forest carbon adaptation and mitigation management, and whole system (biological and industrial) analysis of forest ecosystems and landscapes to optimize sustainable production of ecosystem goods and services.
He has served as PI or co-investigator on numerous large multidisciplinary research teams raising over $14 million in extramural funding from the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. His research has built productive collaborative relationships with state, provincial, federal, and private industry in the USA, Canada, Russian Federation, Sweden, China, and Portugal.
Dr. Gower is a frequent speaker on the topic of forest carbon cycles in biological and industrial (e.g., life cycle inventory) ecosystems and national forest carbon management policy at national and international conferences and symposia. He is the co-author of two books, approximately 200 peer-reviewed journal articles, and numerous proceedings papers, book chapters, and presentation papers and abstracts. He has also served on numerous forestry and natural resource advisory boards such as Advisory Committee for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Digital Active Archive Center, and served as subject editor for forestry journals such as Tree Physiology and the Canadian Journal of Forest Resources.
In recent years, Gower has become interested in education innovation, and is a recent co-recipient of a NSF Ideas Lab grant to promote quantitative sciences in natural sciences, as well as renewing a national dialogue on rewarding faculty for outstanding education. He is currently involved in developing a series of education innovation classroom case studies and curricula that emphasize student-centered learning.
“Tom Gower brings a wealth of new ideas and a proven record of accomplishment to the Department and the College,” says Dean Mary Watzin. “I am delighted that he is willing to take on this new challenge. Tom has a solid record of interdisciplinary thinking – developing and implementing creative new curricula and first-year retention programs and fostering opportunities for students to engage in meaningful research experiences. His research exploring the dynamics of forest ecosystems and the tradeoffs that exist under different future scenarios of natural and industrial forest management, along with an enthusiasm for sharing information and solving practical problems, make Tom an excellent match for our college. I look forward to working with him and am fully confident that under his leadership, this strong department will rise to the next level of excellence.”
Originally from Kentucky, Dr. Gower is married to Connie Gower, a native of Hendersonville, NC and graduate of North Carolina State University. They have two daughters, Kristen and Cathy, both of whom graduated from or attended NC State.
“I am thrilled to be returning to NC State and building on the incredibly rich history of the department, college and institution” says Dr. Gower. “It is truly an honor to return and serve the students, staff, and faculty.”
Dr. Gower will assume the duties of department head on October 16, 2014.