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New interim president at SUNY ESF to bring focus on research to college

Ellen Abbott
Dr. David Amberg is the new interim president of SUNY ESF in Syracuse

SUNY ESF in Syracuse has a new interim president to replace Quentin Wheeler, who resigned earlier this year after disputes with faculty.

Dr. David Amberg promises to work closely with the SUNY ESF faculty as the administration determines the direction of the school in the coming years.

"Looking at what the college's research strengths are in the faculty, and identifying five areas that are timely in developing solutions to some of these issues, come out of the strengths of the faculty and their research programs and have the opportunity to obtain funding to get the research expenditures of the college back moving in a positive direction," he said.

That’s something Amberg did at his last job at Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse, another SUNY institution. The research budget there experienced double digit growth during his tenure as vice president for research.

Amberg said one of his first priorities will be dealing with some pressing fiscal issues at the college.

"A lot of operational issues. There’s a slight operational debt we have to deal with," he said. "We have a lot of shared services we have to look at carefully. And then get everyone back together in a positive motion and working together collectively and collaboratively."

He said that means he’s not going to be a placeholder.

"We have to address these issues, we have to address them now," he said. "My job is to get the college in as good a shape as possible to attract the next permanent president who should be a real world class environmental scientist.”

It could be two years before a new president is named. SUNY ESF is growing, welcoming its biggest freshman class to campus next month.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.