UW Bothell welcomes Leslie Cornick as dean of the School of STEM

Leslie Cornick. Courtesy of the Foraker Group

BOTHELL, Washington — The University of Washington Bothell has named Leslie Cornick as its new dean of the School of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics effective July 1.

Cornick has been the associate dean of the College of STEM at Eastern Washington University since 2017 and served in various capacities at Alaska Pacific University from 2004 to 2017, including as dean of Research and Sponsored Programs and as department chair of Marine and Environmental Sciences.

At UW Bothell, Cornick will succeed Marc Servetnick, professor and chair of the STEM Division of Biological Sciences, who has been serving as interim dean since September 2019, following the departure of founding dean Elaine Scott.

“I spent the majority of my faculty years at a small liberal arts university with a very strong commitment to experiential learning,” said Cornick. “UW Bothell understands how important that is for undergraduate education and exemplifies the intersection between cutting-edge research and teaching. Translating research to the classroom is the most meaningful form of teaching in the STEM disciplines, and the faculty really understand how to do that.

“I also deeply appreciate the commitment to inclusivity,” she said, “and look forward to working in an engaged way with faculty, staff and the entire community to provide exceptional opportunities for students from all different backgrounds, many of whom might not otherwise be able to attend college.”

Cornick is known for being a tireless champion for increasing diversity in STEM and during her tenure at EWU developed initiatives to support women in computing and engineering. As a marine-mammal ecologist, she has developed new methods for understanding the implications of human impacts on foraging behavior in sea lions. She also is an international advocate for marine conservation and is currently exploring new avenues of research on the human dimensions of climate change and its impact on subsistence access to living marine resources.

“We are so pleased that Leslie is bringing extensive leadership experience to guide the talented faculty, staff and students in our dynamic School of STEM to the next tier of excellence,” said Sharon A. Jones, vice chancellor for Academic Affairs. “She is a nationally recognized expert in marine biology and an outstanding educator with a strong commitment to advancing diversity in STEM and strengthening our external partnerships.”

Cornick is already focusing on how she can help enhance the school’s engagement with industry and the larger community. “My ultimate goal, as I shared with everyone during my visit, is to make the School of STEM the indispensable partner in the region. There’s no question that will require some new thinking as we consider emerging from the pandemic,” said Cornick. “There was already an emerging and unmet need in biomedical and biotechnical fields, and I think that will only be amplified now.

“We will absolutely be consulting with our regional partners to ensure that we are forward-thinking in how we approach those needs,” she said.

Cornick received a doctorate from Texas A&M University, a master’s in Biology from San Francisco State University and a bachelor’s in Biological Anthropology from UC San Diego. She currently serves on the boards for the Society of Conservation Biology and the Girl Scouts of Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho.

Shari Dworkin, UW Bothell’s dean of the School of Nursing & Health Studies, led the search committee. Erik Baserman, former chair of the STEM advisory board who served on the committee, said, “I was impressed by Leslie’s track record; her attention to diversity, equity and inclusion; and her understanding of UW Bothell’s unique position and what we offer. She has an engaging presence and desire to work with industry that will make us an invaluable partner to our region.”

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