QERM: An Interdisciplinary Graduate Program

About QERM

History of the QERM Interdisciplinary Program

Quantitative ecology and resource management have an interdisciplinary programmatic history at the University of Washington extending back to the formation of the graduate Biomathematics Program in 1969. This program included faculty from the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, College of Forest Resources and College of Ocean and Fishery Sciences. Interest in ecology and natural resources within the Biomathematics Program was fostered by faculty in the Center for Quantitative Science (CQS).

In 1968 funding from the Ford Foundation established CQS as an undergraduate teaching program in mathematics and statistics for natural resources students. Over a five-year period it brought eight quantitative faculty to the campus with origins, or interests, in the natural resources. At the termination of the Ford Foundation grant, in 1977, the university adopted the financing of CQS including the faculty and administrative positions established under the grant.

The Department of Statistics formed in the College of Arts and Sciences in 1979 and obtained its own degree granting authority in 1980. All Statistics graduate faculty remained members of the Biomathematics Program. In the late 1970's, the Biomathematics Program developed three pathways of study: Health Sciences Biology (HSB), and Quantitative Ecology (QE), which were both oriented towards applied statistics, and an applied mathematics/differential equations study option. Faculty in the Department of Biostatistics, in the School of Public Health, were the principal contributors to the HSB pathway.

In 1985, the Biostatistics Department applied to The Graduate School to establish their own degree program. This was granted in 1986 and an agreement was made that responsibility for the whole of the Biomathematics Program should be transferred from the Graduate School to the Biostatistics Department while faculty in the Center for Quantitative Science planned for, and developed, a graduate program. Faculty in Statistics ceased to be members of the Biomathematics Program.

The number of students in Quantitative Ecology increased between 1987 and 1990, the CQS building was remodeled and re-equipped with computers, and a new graduate program was developed. That program was reviewed in 1990 and became the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Quantitative Ecology and Resource Management. The Graduate School has responsibility for interdisciplinary graduate programs on campus and administers QERM. The Deans of those Colleges with faculty involved in QERM (principally Arts & Sciences, and the new College of the Environment) concurred with the establishment of the interdisciplinary program.



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