Jo Ellen Force has had an interdisciplinary background throughout her academia career. She continues to cross disciplinary boundaries during the 2014-15 Academic Year as she serves in a part time (40%) position as the Interim Chair of the Department of Physics, College of Science. She has over 16 years of experience at the University of Idaho as a department head in the College of Natural Resources, where she continues her teaching and research activities in the area of natural resources policy.”
Following her childhood on a family farm in central Iowa, she went to Iowa State University where she majored in chemistry. She then taught math and science in a junior high school in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her next adventure was at Ohio State University, where she received her Master of Science in natural resource management and policy and a doctorate in systems engineering and analysis.
Since joining the College of Natural Resources faculty at the University of Idaho, she has taught courses ranging from modeling and land use planning to forest policy. Her research examines the relationships between people and our natural resources, particularly focusing on forest ecosystems. For 13 years, she was the lead instructor for a six-week intensive workshop on land use planning for students from developing countries. She has conducted workshops in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and is currently a co-PI in Idaho’s second National Science Foundation Integrated Graduate Education Research and Training (IGERT) grant with students located both at the University of Idaho and in Costa Rica. For over 16 years, she served as department head of the Forest Resources department which is now the Forest, Rangeland, and Fire Sciences department.
She loves ethnic food and travel – and has visited every continent, including Antarctica where she saw thousands of penguins. She has also visited all 50 US states and nearly 50 countries. Her pastimes include attending symphony and chamber music concerts, live theater productions and reading mysteries.