UCSB Campus Distinguished Teacher Award for 2015-2016 Academic Year

Professor Dickey was selected as Distinguished Teacher for Geography Department UCSB (2015)

Professor Dickey was named an American Kennel Club Sportsman of the Year (2015)

Professor Dickey was named Outstanding Professor by University of California Santa Barbara Residence Hall Association and Office of Residential Life (2009)

July 31, 2008 – Dickey Selected for Secretary of the Navy/Chief of Naval Operations Chair of Oceanographic Sciences

Professor Dickey was elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (2006)

– The article was written by Bill Norrington of UCSB Geography Department

Professor Tommy Dickey is one of just 12 ocean scientists to become a Secretary of the Navy/Chief of Naval Operations Chair of Oceanographic Sciences since the inception of the program in 1984 when the Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV), John Lehman, and the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), Admiral James Watkins, developed a program to reinvigorate Naval oceanography. This program included the creation of SECNAV/CNO “Chairs” in Oceanography in order to recognize distinguished academic ocean scientists and facilitate interactions between the academic community and the operating fleet. Recipients of Chair awards are internationally known leaders with collaborations across many science areas and sponsoring agencies. The Chairs are awarded to two oceanographers every 4 years.

This year’s awards were made to Professor Tommy Dickey of UCSB and Professor Tom Sanford of the University of Washington. Professor Dickey is the first Chair recipient with a specialty in Ocean Optics, as well as the first in the history of UCSB Geography. Past chairs are Professor Robert A. Holman of Oregon State University; Professor William A. Kuperman of Scripps Institution of Oceanography; Professor Walter Munk, Scripps; Professor Robert Ballard, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; Professor James O’Brien, Florida State University; Professor Carl Wunsch, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Professor John Orcutt, Scripps; Professor Mike Gregg, University of Washington; Professor Arthur Baggeroer, MIT; and Professor Robert Weller, Woods Hole.

Each award is granted for life and provides support to the Chairs for four years in the amount of $1.2 million, including funds for at least two graduate students. The Chairs serve as advisors and make recommendations to the Chief of Naval Research and various Navy departments (more here). Professor Dickey will be focusing his research as a SECNAV/CNO Chair in the areas of ocean responses to hurricanes, mesoscale eddies, and optical variability forced by ocean dynamics. The latter topic will involve Office of Naval Research (ONR) field experiments in the Santa Barbara Channel in 2008 and off Hawaii in 2009. Tommy has recently co-authored an introductory oceanography textbook and will continue work on a second textbook on applications of optics for oceanography.

Professor Dickey received his PhD from Princeton University in Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, has taught over 5,000 college students, and has served as principal advisor for over 20 graduate students during his tenures at USC and UCSB. His group has participated in over 150 research cruises. He is also a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, has served as an editor for six scientific journals, has chaired numerous national and international committees concerning interdisciplinary oceanography, and has led six major ocean research programs sponsored or co-sponsored by the ONR.

Chancellor Henry Yang personally nominated Professor Dickey for the award and described Tommy as “one of the ’fathers’ of the renaissance of interdisciplinary oceanography, at a time when most oceanographers had been following largely disciplinary research paths for several decades. His innovative research has spanned and linked the subdisciplines of physical, optical, geological, chemical, and biological oceanography and has led to new interdisciplinary observational capabilities that have vastly increased the number of measurable variables and expanded observable time and space scales. He has also been one of the leaders in the development of bio-optical oceanography, an area of keen interest to the Navy from the early 1980s to present.” Chancellor Yang concluded his nomination letter by stating: “We feel that Professor Dickey’s selection for the…Chair would represent an important milestone for UCSB as well as an appropriate recognition of his long-term, high quality contributions to the U.S. Navy through his excellence in research, teaching, mentoring, and, perhaps most importantly, his leadership of major interdisciplinary ONR field experiments.”

In his response to Chancellor Yang’s congratulations upon receipt of the award, Tommy replied: “Dear Chancellor Yang: Thank you very much for your support over the past several years. This award represents a significant milestone in my career here at UCSB. I also want to let you know of the wonderful efforts of Professor Alice Alldredge, Professor Oliver Chadwick, Professor Mark Brzezinski, and Carla Whitacre on my behalf.” The award is, indeed, a “milestone” for UCSB, for the Department, and, most of all, for Professor Dickey. Congratulations, Tommy, from all of your colleagues!