Meteorology board appoints NIU prof.

By Joelle McGinnis

NIU Associate Professor of geography Timothy Spangler is the first member of a university faculty to be appointed to the American Meteorological Society’s Board for Certified Consulting Meteorologists.

Charles Trott, associate dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences, said, “We (the department) are especially excited for him, and we’re pleased that NIU is the first university to have a member.”

Spangler’s appointment is for a five-year term and he will serve as board chairman during his fourth year.

Each year the Council of American Meteorologists appoints one new member. Until Spangler’s appointment, the five-member board of certified meteorologists from across the country was created solely from members of government and private industry.

Geography department Chairman Donald Maxfield said Spangler’s appointment will reflect well on the department and on the university as a whole.

“One great potential, as far as the department is concerned, is these people … who interact with Spangler may refer back to NIU,” Maxwell said. “It will work just as well for the placement of graduated meteorology students as well as the attraction of new students to the program,” he said.

Originally organized in 1957 by the AMS, the board was set up to increase the qualifications and quality of meteorological consultants and their work, Spangler said. The Seal of Approval Board also was set up for radio and television meteorologists, he said.

Spangler said the Board for Certified Consulting Meteorologists runs the program which reviews each year 50 to 80 candidates applying for certification.

“It’s a way of providing evidence of qualifications by being judged with peers,” he said.

The certification process requires a degree in meteorology and five years of experience. Applicants also must have a personal interview with a board member after passing a written test and an oral exam, Spangler said.

There are about 10,000 meteorologists in the country, but only 500 of them are certified, he said.

“‘Meteorologist’ is not a registered term, like a psychologist or a certifed public accountant,” Spangler said. “Having the program (certification process) is an attempt to provide to the public a measure of who is real and who isn’t.”