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Richard R. Forster
Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Education


  • Facilitating grant success for faculty and graduate students (working closely with ORA)
  • IRP program
  • Social Science Colloquium Series
  • Interdisciplinary graduate education and research initiatives
  • Research Award Committee - Superior Research Awards
  • Graduate student evaluation procedures and graduate student grievance issues
  • Dean's office staff
  • Junior faculty leave
  • Faculty Mentoring
  • Staff Excellence Award
  • New Gardner building
  • College Computing


Richard R. Forster is the associate dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Science. Dr. Forster joined the University of Utah in 1999 and has served as an assistant, associate and full professor of geography over the past 14 years. He completed doctoral training in earth and atmospheric science at Cornell University preceded by a master’s in electrical engineering at the University of Kansas and a bachelor’s in electrical engineering from Lafayette College.

Dr. Forster has published over 40 articles and book chapters. His research focuses on using satellite and airborne remote sensing data along with ground-based measurements to derive information about snow and ice conditions at the Earth's surface. More specifically he studies the response of glaciers and seasonal snow cover to climate change.

Dr. Forster’s team recent findings include verification that a portion of the summer melt on the Greenland ice sheet can be stored in the subsurface snow pack as water throughout the long cold winter. They also mapped ice surface velocities for nearly all glaciers in Alaska and found that a majority of their contribution to sea level rise is dominated by shrinkage of only a few key glaciers. These results allow us to better understand the present-day consequences of climate change on current global sea level increases. Dr. Forster’s research has been funded by NASA and NSF.

Dr. Forster was the recipient of the 2012 CSBS Superior Research Award. In 2009 he received the Associated Students of the University of Utah Student Choice Teaching Award. Other professional honors include recognition in 2002 as a NASA New Investigator and, in 2000, NASA’s Group Achievement Award given to an Antarctic mapping mission team.

More details can be found at Dr. Forster's faculty page.

Last Updated: 3/12/21