Center for Environmental Science Applications (CESA)

Finding solutions to sustainability challenges by linking ideas, people and resources

Jonathan Fink - Biographical Sketch and Presentations


Jonathan Fink, Foundation Professor Emeritus in Arizona State University's School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE), currently serves as Vice President for Research and Strategic Partnerships at Portland State University (PSU). Before leaving ASU for PSU in August 2010, he was Director of ASU's Center for Environmental Science Applications (CSSA). Dr. Fink's primary scientific expertise is on the physics and chemistry of volcanic eruptions on earth and other planets. His current research and policy interests also concern problems of urban sustainability, conservation biology, natural hazards, renewable energy, and transboundary water conflicts.


Dr. Fink had a long record of administrative service at ASU. From 2007-2009 he was Director of ASU's Global Institute of Sustainability (GIOS) and University Sustainability Officer in the office of the president. In these roles, he was lead strategist for developing a comprehensive, university-wide approach to issues of global sustainability. Prior to taking over ASU's sustainability portfolio, Dr. Fink served for a decade as the University's senior research officer (five years as Vice Provost for Research and five as Vice President for Research and Economic Affairs). As VP for Research, he oversaw interdisciplinary institutes and centers in environmental studies, sustainability, biodesign, religion and conflict, nanotechnology, and decision sciences, as well as an externally-funded research enterprise whose budget increased from $75M to $220M, largely on the basis of innovative interdisciplinary programs across the university. Working with President Michael Crow and Provost Milton Glick, Fink helped recruit dozens of key faculty members and administrators to ASU. Before becoming VP, Fink was Chair of ASU's Geology Department (now part of SESE), where he was a faculty member from 1982-2011. In 1992-93 he was Director of the National Science Foundation's Geochemistry and Petrology Program, and a visiting scientist at the Smithsonian Institution. He also was a Visiting Fellow on several occasions in the Research School of Earth Sciences at Australian National University.


Dr. Fink received a B.A. in geology and biology from Colby College, a Ph.D. in geology from Stanford University, and held post-doctoral appointments in the Applied Math Department at the Weizmann Institute (Israel) and in the Planetary Geology group at ASU. He is a fellow of the Geological Society of America and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Trustee of the Arizona Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, a member of the Board of Advisors of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, and a member of the National Board of Advisors for KB Home.


Recent Presentations