David R. Shaw

AGU Board of Directors

General Secretary


Provost and Executive Vice President, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS, USA

AGU embraces the global community and welcomes diverse leaders from around the world, representing various identities, voices, and perspectives. List any identities, voices, and perspectives you would bring, including but not limited to nationality, regional representations, racial and ethnic backgrounds, and any other identity you feel comfortable sharing

I am most excited about bringing the perspective of solution science to the board, given the strong focus on this in the new strategic plan. However, changing the paradigm at AGU will be much easier said than done, given our long history of focus on discovery science. I also see AGU as a “big-tent” organization, and its strength is in its diversity. I wholeheartedly endorse reasoned debate and wide diversities of viewpoints, which make the entire organization much stronger through this dialog. Passionate differences of opinion, as long they are expressed respectfully, are a true strength of an organization.

Volunteer experience that relates to this position:

For the past year I have served as General Secretary of AGU, as well as chair of the Finance and Investment Committee. It has been a fascinating moment in time to serve, with a new strategic plan, changes in publishing, divestiture of fossil fuel investments, and lessons learned from the pandemic regarding our conferences. I have also served on several other professional society boards and am currently appointed to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee.


AGU continues to be financially healthy with a strong base of assets that have been and can continue to be used to support new program initiatives of value to the members. How do you see AGU successfully evolving from today's operational environment to a future one that ensures financial stability over time?

First, AGU is making a strategic move toward more solution-based science, which will broaden our appeal and membership opportunities. Second, AGU is rapidly moving toward an embrace of open access publications. The financial model for scientific publications is in a great state of flux, and the changes on the horizon will pose both opportunities and threats to our financial model. Third, virtual meetings and hybrid meetings are now an expected part of our organizational culture. Our membership has embraced the tools the pandemic has brought, creating new opportunities that simply would not have been feasible even two years ago. However, most also recognize that networking and the “accidental” conversations around meetings are usually the most impactful for career opportunities, creation of new ideas for scientific exploration, and collegial fellowship.