As this academic year draws to a close we celebrate the achievements and the promise of our graduating class, and are mindful of the faculty, staff, and friends who have contributed their inspiration, talent, and support to another successful year. This year we also mark a momentous change in the College’s 102 year history — on July 1, 2009 the College of Forest Resources will become the School of Forest Resources within the UW’s new College of the Environment (CoEnv). This bold initiative, as it develops, will become an unparalleled hub of environmental scholarship and innovation and will strengthen and invigorate our collaboration with colleagues in Oceanography, Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, Earth and Space Sciences, Atmospheric Sciences, and related centers and programs. In the words of CoEnv’s Vision and Governance Committee Report, “Few universities … have taken the step of collecting such strong and diverse academic and research units into a single institutional structure.”
All programs and resources of the College of Forest Resources will transfer intact into the School of Forest Resources in the new CoEnv. The School will initially be led by an Interim Director, Forest Resources Professor Tom Hinckley, chosen in an internal search conducted during Spring Quarter and reporting to the Interim Dean of CoEnv, Professor Dennis Hartmann. A national search for a permanent Director, as well as for a permanent Dean of CoEnv will be launched soon. For the next six months, I will be serving in an advisory capacity to Professors Hartman and Hinckley.
Transformation, renewal, and change have been constant themes in this newsletter. During the past eight years we have communicated about the transformation of our undergraduate and graduate programs to better meet the needs of our students and society. We’ve written about the changes in forestry from the 20th century management paradigm that was based on an agricultural model to the 21st century paradigm based on an ecosystem approach with a goal of integrated and sustainable use of multiple resources. We’ve described our strategic recruitment of a new cohort of faculty who are engaged in conserving plant and animal species diversity; understanding the effects of global climate change on terrestrial ecosystems; developing non-fossil cellulosic biofuels as an alternative energy source, protecting; forest health from invasive species, fire, and insect invasions, among other challenges; analyzing global markets for natural resource commodities; sustaining natural resource-dependent communities; and helping preserve working forests at risk of land conversion. It is through these processes of transformation and change that our College has continuously renewed itself since its beginnings in 1907.
Throughout these changes the support of our community of alumni and constituents has been the underlying pillar of our success. In our alumni community we have graduates who have gone on to lead in regional and world forest products industry and trade; to serve as scientists and management professionals in federal and state agencies; to support international conservation and wildlife efforts across the globe; to manage tribal natural resources; and to sustain urban forests, public gardens, and arboreta. Each of these may have a special memory of the College — whether of learning silviculture from the late Emeritus Professor David Scott, of exploring the incredible plant collections at the Washington Park Arboretum, of experiments in the pulp and paper lab, of forest management classes at Pack Forest, or of tracking cougars in the North Cascades. What ties all of these individual memories together is the conviction that, as we enter our second century as a cornerstone School in the CoEnv, we will continue to lead in solving environmental challenges and educating the next generation of natural resource and environmental scientists and leaders.
In this, my last column as Dean of the College of Forest Resources, I want to thank all of you for your support and assistance over the past eight years. I am privileged to have served as Dean and I look forward to my continuing contributions to the future success of the School of Forest Resources within the College of the Environment.
B. Buce Bare