UNCW Faculty Members Launch Interdisciplinary Series on Coastal Community Resiliency

Friday, September 13, 2019

UNCW faculty members from across the university have teamed up to present a monthly interdisciplinary research seminar series on coastal community resiliency. The series will look at UNCW’s role as North Carolina’s coastal university and investigate opportunities for the university to serve as a local leader in the study and promotion of coastal community resiliency. Representing nine unique areas of the university, the diverse backgrounds of the faculty involved will offer a more comprehensive and integrative look at the challenges we face as an institution and community living on the coast.
“Given UNCW’s location and historic emphasis on marine and coastal issues, we have an obligation to share our expertise with local stakeholders and engage with the local community to help solve critical problems and develop partnerships that are mutually beneficial,” said Graduate School Dean Chris Finelli, one of the faculty members spearheading the project. “We are hopeful that the conversations that arise from this seminar series will lead to future research and collaborations.”
Finelli believes that intentional, interdisciplinary series such as this are critically important to the “un-silo-ing” of expertise, and that substantial progress involves meaningful collaboration.
“All problems that are societally relevant are multi-dimensional and require expertise across the full spectrum of disciplines,” said Finelli. “The questions and issues addressed in these seminars have meaning well beyond Wilmington and the Cape Fear region. North Carolina has an extensive coastal zone that is vulnerable to hurricanes and sea level rise, that is home to nearly a million residents and many times that in annual visitors, and that is an economic engine for the state. Understanding how to build and sustain resilient coastal communities is critical to North Carolina’s future.”
Faculty members involved in the series include Zac Long (Biology), Dylan McNamara (Physics), David Gessner (Creative Writing) and Chris Finelli (Graduate School, CMS, Biology). Additional faculty members Ashley Wells (CHHS), Adam Jones (Economics and Finance), James DeVita (Educational Leadership), Andre Silva (Film Studies) and Anthony Snider (Environmental Sciences) serve on the series’ planning committee. Members applied for grant funding through UNCW’s InfoReady Review, which allows prospective applicants (faculty, students, staff members, as well as community partners) to easily peruse various funding and award opportunities.
The seminar series begins September 24 at 6:30 p.m. and will be held at the UNCW Center for Marine Science auditorium. The event is free and open for all to attend.
-- Christina Schechtman