Following the retirement of Dr. Jay Famiglietti (PhD) as GIWS executive director at the end of 2022, Fonstad was asked by USask Vice-President Research Dr. Baljit Singh (PhD) to lead GIWS for six months while a governance review and search for a new director could take place.
Fonstad said he was excited for the opportunity.
“First of all, I’d like to congratulate Dr. Jay Famiglietti on his new venture with Arizona State University,” he said. “Jay will continue to be a key member of GIWS as a USask professor emeritus, as he will continue to lead and advise on initiatives.”
Through the Office of the VP Research (OVPR), Fonstad said that over the next six months he intends to help lead a review of the institute, check on the vision and mandate of the institute, and to gather input regarding what GIWS should focus on in the future. While this is going on, the OVPR will be conducting the search for a new executive director to lead the institute.
Fonstad said GIWS is vital to the success of the university, the city, the province, the country, and the world.
“Water is one of our most important areas of research at this university. It’s a signature area, it’s an area of research that we are recognized among the top places in the world for, and it’s something that’s near and dear to my heart as an environmental and animal agriculture researcher.”
“I think we can build on what’s been accomplished to date and I’m excited to be a part of the future of GIWS. Personally, I can see the opportunity to bring our current expertise together with a broader campus community to create solutions and policies for the peoples of Saskatchewan and beyond.”
As a researcher, Fonstad’s work is the basis for much of the regulations and policies related to siting and permitting of intensive livestock operations in the Prairie region. His academic home is the Department of Civil, Geological and Environmental Engineering. He is also a long-standing member of GIWS and an experienced administrator at the civil, professional, and university level.
Fonstad said he will also remain in his current position as USask’s Associate Vice-President of Research (Ethics and Infrastructure) during his appointment with GIWS.