A new partnership between Fordham and The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) will expand graduate research opportunities at the University and permit joint staff arrangements, cooperative programs and use of both institutions’ facilities for education and research, with special emphases in plant sciences, conservation biology, and ecology. The agreement was signed on June 25 in a ceremony at Fordham’s Rose Hill campus.
“We celebrate the enrichment of this partnership,” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham. “This is a momentous occasion that links us, two institutions that reach across Southern Boulevard to work together for the common good. The future is going to be bright and filled with discovery, not only for faculty members on both sides, but for our students.”
The formal collaborative relationship will include adjunct faculty positions at Fordham for NYBG curatorial and scientific staff, who have a broad range of expertise in many areas of plant biology, including molecular systematics, taxonomy, floristics, genomics, economic botany, and tropical botany. Likewise, Fordham faculty in Biological Sciences may be appointed as “Honorary Research Associates” through NYBG’s science division.
“I’m particularly excited about the chance to collaborate with colleagues at the Botanical Garden, and to involve Fordham graduate students in research topics in which its scientific staff is expert, such as tropical forest ecology, and advanced molecular systematics,” said John Wehr, Ph.D., associate professor of biological sciences and director of Fordham’s Louis Calder Center Biological Field Station. “The agreement will enhance Fordham’s ability to attract top students nationwide to the biological sciences program.”
A joint graduate program will permit students to receive a master’s degree or doctorate from Fordham, drawing upon the intellectual and physical resources of both the University and NYBG. Students in the program must be accepted by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) at Fordham and by an admissions committee representing NYBG’s Graduate Studies Program.
Fordham undergraduates will benefit through faculty and staff’s participation in field trips and course activities at the Botanical Garden, and through NYBG staff co-supervising undergraduate research students from Fordham, and serving as co-mentors in Fordham’s Calder Summer Undergraduate Research program.
The research laboratories, herbarium, greenhouses, visiting scientist guest accommodation (at the Calder Center), and field research sites of both institutions will be available to the faculty and scientific staff of Fordham and NYBG, which will provide needed resources, equipment and research space not available at their home institution. Likewise, both Fordham and NYBG have substantial library holdings and access to electronic information, which will be made available to designated faculty from each institution.
The New York Botanical Garden—adjacent to the Fordham University campus in the Bronx—is a museum of plants, an educational institution, and a scientific research organization. Founded in 1891 and now a National Historic Landmark, it is one of the greatest botanical gardens in the world and the largest in any city in the United States, distinguished by the beauty of its diverse landscape and extensive collections and gardens, as well as by the scope and excellence of its programs in horticulture, education, and science. The outstanding staff, programs, herbarium, library, research laboratory, and other unparalleled resources of the Garden’s International Plant Science Center position it at the forefront of worldwide botanical research.
“We are the civil sector, and the world in which we live depends on the success of the civil institutions,” said Gregory Long, president and chief executive officer of NYBG. “There has never been moment in American history when education, and research and concern for the biodiversity of the world, have been more important. And so it is a very logical and important partnership.”
Long added that NYBG and Fordham have ” also been next door neighbors for 115 years.”