MISSOULA – L. Scott Mills has returned to the University of Montana to serve as associate vice president of research for global change and sustainability in the Office of Research and Creative Scholarship.
From 1995 to 2013, Mills was a professor in UM’s Wildlife Biology Program. In 2013, he was recruited to North Carolina State University to coordinate a cross-campus initiative on global environmental change and human well-being.
Now back at UM, Mills will continue his research program in applied population ecology and global environmental change. He will provide campus leadership to foster wide-reaching collaborations that catalyze cross-cutting, interdisciplinary research and outreach. Mills will work on projects that bridge UM departments and colleges, as well as government and nonprofit collaborators, by leveraging the world-class strengths of UM in multifaceted scientific, cultural and societal aspects of global change and sustainability.
“After three years of direct experience in how large research universities operate, I am thrilled to bring that experience back to UM to help build on our world-class research strengths in the realm of global change science and application,” Mills said.
As an applied wildlife population biologist, Mills integrates field studies, DNA-based genetic analyses and computer models in his research to understand how wild animal populations and their associated ecosystems respond to human-caused global changes.
“Associate Vice President for Research Mills will bring an increased vision for the Office of Research and Creative Scholarship in terms of the global impact of the research our faculty conduct,” said UM Vice President for Research Scott Whittenburg. “A striking feature of research we do is our international reach into countries on all continents, including Antarctica. Scott is going to help the University of Montana in becoming recognized as a national leader in global research.”
Mills received a National Science Foundation Early Career award and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship for his work building wildlife conservation science in Bhutan. He has been continuously funded by NSF for the past 18 years, mentored 24 graduate student and published more than 100 articles in peer-reviewed journals. Mills also wrote an applied population ecology textbook used in more than 150 classrooms worldwide.
“We are extremely excited to have Scott return to the Wildlife Biology Program at University of Montana in his new capacity as associate vice president of research,” said Chad Bishop, director of UM’s Wildlife Biology Program. “Scott was instrumental in facilitating the program’s past success through his research, teaching and commitment to helping others. By all accounts, he is an exceptional scientist and mentor, and his contributions will undoubtedly strengthen the program as we look to the future.”
Much of Mills’ research has been grounded in Montana and the northwestern U.S., but it also involves strong international engagement. Current ongoing research collaborations include Scotland, Portugal, Sweden, India and Bhutan. Mills helped to found the Bhutan Ecological Society and currently serves as the scientific member of the Advisory Board of the Bhutan Foundation.
UM’s Office of Research and Creative Scholarship supports the educational and research mission of the University through advocacy and advancement of basic and applied research, creative work and academic scholarship, and fosters an environment where research, scholarly activities, entrepreneurship and economic development thrive.