Mike Heithaus has been named interim dean of the FIU College of Arts & Sciences, effective July 1.
Heithaus, who currently serves as the executive director of the School of Environment, Arts and Society (SEAS) and associate dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, will replace Kenneth G. Furton, who will become FIU’s provost next month.
Well-known internationally through his research on the ecological role of large sharks both in Australian and Florida waters, Heithaus has been with FIU since 2003.
“It’s an honor to be entrusted with leading FIU’s largest college,” Heithaus said. “We will continue to move forward purposefully, with our focus on student success and further developing our many critical research and engagement initiatives. I look forward to working with the college’s faculty and leadership as well as Provost Furton to ensure that the college continues the momentum we’ve built in recent years.”
As director of SEAS, one of three thematic schools that comprise the College of Arts & Sciences, Heithaus leads strategic planning for the school, coordinates collaborative research projects, and plans innovative curriculum. He also promotes the school in national and international events, and brings focus and cohesion to FIU’s many environmental research and teaching activities. During his tenure, he helped to raise $12 million in philanthropic support for the school.
An ecologist, Heithaus specializes in the influence of predator-prey interactions on community dynamics in marine systems. Heithaus currently conducts research using cutting-edge technology, including cameras worn by animals to unravel the lives of hard-to-study marine creatures from whales and dolphins to sharks, seals and turtles. He has published more than 100 papers and coedited several books. He also has an active engagement program. He has been involved in the production of more than a dozen natural history documentaries and developed video-based curriculum in use in K-12 classrooms across the country. Heithaus earned his Ph.D. from Simon Fraser University in Canada and his Bachelor of Arts degree from Oberlin College in Ohio.
Ecologist Evelyn Gaiser, a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, has been named interim executive director of the School of Environment, Arts and Society to replace Heithaus. Since 2007, Gaiser has served as the lead principal investigator of the Florida Coastal Everglades Long-Term Ecological Research Program. She is a nationally and internationally recognized scholar in wetland and aquatic ecology, having authored more than 70 publications and been awarded nearly $25 million for her research over the past two decades.