Foundation Award for Service

Alexander Wait

Dr. Alexander Wait

College of Natural and Applied Sciences

I. Philosophy of Service

My service is informed by listening, reflecting, consulting and when appropriate or needed: acting, following, getting out of the way, or leading. I am not a leader waiting to be followed – I am a leader who wants to affect the change that is most desirable and needed. I work to bring people together and work with people who have very different views and approaches and desires. I am goal driven, and honest about when those goals are reached or not reached, and why they have not been reached. I have been working and interacting with the MSU and Springfield community for 14 years – and I have found that this interaction is rewarding and challenging. I am very cognizant of the different needs and goals and realities of different departments and units on campus, as well as differences in the regional community. My philosophical lens has primarily been sustainability – but can ones lens be much broader? That is, I look at all issues within a framework of social equity, economic prosperity and environmental integrity. I believe that the biophysical constraints of earth systems are not accepted by many leaders and decision makers; but that they ultimately define the story of humans.

II. Examples of service including service to University, discipline and community

  • Distinction in Public Affairs faculty facilitator, Missouri State University (2012-2013; 2013-2014)
  • Chair and organizer: Sustainability Action Minor Committee. Missouri State University (9/11-Present)
  • Domain Science and Education Coordinating Committees (DSECCs). National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON). National Science Foundation (advisory committee member Domain 8, 6/09-present)
  • Numerous activities associated with being Chair for Public Affairs Conference and running Convocation series in 2008-2009.
  • Numerous activities associated with sustainability on campus and in the community. Examples include:
    • Chair: Sustainability Minor Action Committee (2011-present)
    • Chair: Ad Hoc Senate Committee on paper use and sustainability at Missouri State University. Two resolutions presented to Senate and both passed 12/2009.
    • Book Review and numerous invited editorials on climate change and sustainability in Springfield News Leader
    • Numerous panels on campus
    • Seminar in Jefferson City before MO education community
    • Numerous formal and informal committees related to sustainability in Springfield and region (Ride Share, Common Reader, Recycling, Green Team for Hickory Hills Middle School)
  • Organizing Committee Member. Ozarks New Energy Conferences. 7/07-5/11
  • Organizer for Focus the Nation at Missouri State University. 1/07-1/09.
  • National Science Foundation. RCN: SEAPRE: Seabird Islands and Introduced Predators: Impacts of Presence and Eradication on Island Function. Core Participant and Steering Committee member. 3/07-3/10.
  • Missouri State University: Graduate Council. Member - 8/02-Present, Chair, Scholarship Committee - 8/06-5/07
  • Student Organization Faculty Advisor: Ozark Biology Graduate Students (9/99-Present); Students for a Sustainable Future (5/07-Present).
  • Missouri Stream Team (Team Leader; BIO 122 laboratory). 8/00-Present.
  • Text book reviews (32 to date); Scientific journal referee (17 journals to date, numerous manuscripts reviewed)
  • Science Fair Judge (Ozarks Science and Engineering Fair – Special Judge, Science Olympiad, MSU Graduate Interdisciplinary Forum) (numerous times)
  • Mentor for twenty-four undergraduate semester or yearlong research projects.
  • Evolution and Society. Darwin Days Celebration (Ozarks Technical Community College). February 2013 (speaker)
  • Exploring Oceans Skype Lessons. “Chemical and Physical Engineering of Marine Islands: Seabird Island Ecology.” Five sessions delivered month of November 2013 to students in US and Canada.

III. Future Commitment to Service

I will continue to advise the student groups “Students for a Sustainable Future” and “Ozarks Biological Graduate Students”. I will continue to chair the “Sustainability Minor Action Committee”. I will continue to represent the Department of Biology as the Biology Graduate Director. I will continue to volunteer time and expertise to local elementary schools (primarily Rountree and Phelps) and host Republic High School AP Biology students once per semester.

I will continue to look for opportunities to promote conservation of species and ecosystems through outreach activities like “Skype Lessons.”

I will continue to promote the Public Affairs Mission through the idea that “sustainability” and “sustainable development” are inseparable from ethical leadership, community engagement and cultural competence.

I want to continue to come out of my silo in the Biology Department and be part of the future of the University. I want to affect a broader range of students—helping them develop problem skill sets. I want to work with a broader range of issues and people. I would like to see MSU be a leader in sustainability in the future—from genetic engineering to nanotechnology to planning and building.

IV. Topics related to service for which you are available for presentations and/or consultations

  • Climate Change
  • Sustainability
  • Science and Society
  • Plant Ecology
  • Citizen Science
  • Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation
  • Conservation Biology