A longtime esteemed member of the St. George’s University faculty and community, Dr. Andrea Easter-Pilcher was recently appointed the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. With the appointment, Dr. Easter-Pilcher envisions fostering a culture that is rich in diversity, engagement, and harmony and facilitating an exceptional curriculum leading to student success and lifetime learning.
“An important way that the School of Arts and Sciences contributes to the richness of the local urban and regional culture is through participation of faculty, staff, students and alumni in outreach efforts to the community,” stated Dr. Easter-Pilcher. “Facilitating these kinds of outreach efforts— through student internships, alumni activities, the Undergraduate Student Government Association (USGA) student group activities, and faculty research and service—is an important plank in my leadership philosophy and a win for SAS, SGU, and the community.”
As Dean, Dr. Easter-Pilcher will oversee all aspects of the SAS, including its undergraduate, dual degree, postbaccalaureate, and certificate programs. She will serve on the SGU Council of Deans committee reporting directly to Dr. Glen Jacobs, Interim Provost, and will also continue to teach biology. She has significant field expertise in study design, sampling of ecological systems, and multivariate ecological data analysis, and these methodologies are key components of her upper-level courses.
Dr. Easter-Pilcher joined SGU in 2009 when she was named Professor and Chair of the Department of Biology, Ecology, and Conservation. She has also been a cooperating faculty member of the School of Veterinary Medicine. During her tenure, Dr. Easter-Pilcher’s tutelage has gained the praise of the University’s student organizations. In 2012, the USGA presented her with the Faculty Teaching and Mentoring Award in the biological sciences, and in 2015, she was given the Outstanding Teacher Award for her exceptional teaching and commitment to students.
Dr. Easter-Pilcher is an advocate of student internships and undergraduate research and has co-authored several publications with her undergraduate students in refereed scientific journals. In addition, several of her students have presented their research at professional meetings.
“From my perspective as the incoming Dean of SAS, everything that we do as faculty is about leveraging outstanding student performance and facilitating the success of our undergraduate and graduate students,” said Dr. Easter-Pilcher. “It’s about their success while in school, as well as facilitating their futures as engaged global citizens.”
Dr. Easter-Pilcher earned a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology from Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME, a MSc in Wildlife Biology from the University of Montana, Missoula, MT, and in 1993 earned a PhD in Conservation Biology with a supporting doctoral field in Statistics from Montana State University, Bozeman, MT. In 1995, Dr. Easter-Pilcher was awarded a Postdoctoral Research Appointment in Wildlife Ecology from Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN.
Dr. Easter-Pilcher came to SGU from her post at the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Montana-Western (UMW), where she served as Professor of Wildlife and Conservation Ecology for 12 years and chaired the department for two years. While at UMW, Dr. Easter-Pilcher developed a very successful wildlife biology and conservation ecology program for undergraduate students. She developed several new courses to enhance the new wildlife biology and conservation ecology program including a field-based wildlife biology course, a conservation biology course with a field component, a natural resource issues course, and a general wildlife course for non-science majors.
Dr. Easter-Pilcher’s deep commitment to the conservation and restoration of threatened species and ecosystems, is a passion that has taken her all over the world for her research. She recently traveled to Siberia and the Russian Far East on a two-month sabbatical trip as a visiting scientist, where she and her husband spent time in the field with biologists studying Siberian tigers, Amur leopards, and musk deer.
“We recently had our first and very successful SAS Evening of Research, which was a clear reminder to all of us that research is indeed a significant piece of what drives and motivates SAS faculty,” said Dr. Easter-Pilcher. “It was stimulating to share the research being done by individuals and teams across all of the departments and for all of us to debate and discuss that research. We plan to do more of this kind of academic socializing next term and into the future.
“The School of Arts and Sciences is at the heart of this University,” she added. “I am beyond proud to have been selected to be the team leader of this school and of these thoughtful, wise, and engaged faculty.”