|Volume 4, No. 4||
Pack Forest News
Events and Other News
Over the past few months, since my appointment as Acting Dean, I have talked to literally hundreds of people from the diverse constituency that makes up the College of Forest Resources community. It is clear to me that now is the time to reaffirm a commitment to the College's mission and to articulate our vision for the future. The very broad and diverse range of our endeavors often mirrors current conflictive debates regarding science, management, and policy issues in the natural resources arena. The task of finding common goals requires the energy and insights of our faculty, students, and staff, the valued advice and support of our alumni and friends, and frequent communication with the professions that hire our students and the stakeholders who rely on the research and technology transfer that we provide. It is also clear to me that now is the time to examine the College's organizational culture to provide the best possible framework and environment for finding the common ground that will allow for a cohesive, yet dynamic vision for the future.
Our mission statement, which I personally reaffirm, now states: "The
College of Forest Resources is committed to preeminence in teaching and
research in integrated resource stewardship and utilization in natural
and managed environments." To achieve this vision, the College draws
on two themes:
Sustainability implies a rational and dynamic continuation of a set of activities, products, or processes over a long period of time. It also implies an interdisciplinary approach that integrates the social, ecological, and economic sciences to understand, manage (both active and passive), and use the products and amenities of forests, natural wild lands, and urban and suburban ecosystems so that they remain productive over the long term. The concept of sustainability captures the essence of contemporary and evolving societal expectations regarding natural resources commodities and amenities. These expectations have dramatically shifted in recent years, beginning after World War II and growing steadily ever since. Rapidly increasing human populations, the growth of economic prosperity, mobility, and technology, as well as a continuing evolution from an industrial to an information-based society, have accelerated the shift. Humans continue to need and consume products and amenities of forests and other wild land ecosystems. However, society's perceptions and understanding of these consumption patterns continually evolves. People now demand that both producers and consumers eliminate negative effects generated by their respective activities. This has led to an increasing demand for the use of environmentally friendly technologies, sustainable production processes, and the protection and restoration of ecological functions and services so that future generations may enjoy the same products and amenities that now exist.
The College's vision and priorities are consistent with the shift towards a sustainable society. We must continue to anticipate the future so that we can provide teaching and learning environments that will enable resource professionals, scientists, decision makers, and informed citizens to take leadership roles and bring the best science that is appropriate to solve future problems. We must partner with society to define and initiate new academic, research, and outreach programs, modify existing programs and (perhaps) discontinue programs that do not effectively respond to the new challenges bestowed upon us. None of these are easy tasks to accomplish, but our vision and direction must continue to address all of them in a timely manner.
We need to ensure that the organizational culture of the College is consistent with successful completion of these tasks. Organizational culture simply means the commitment of the CFR community to implement the College's strategic vision in a way that honors all members of the community. Without the proper culture we will be unsuccessful in achieving our common vision and goals. Work to improve the culture of our community is the responsibility of every one of us. I believe that all members of our community should embrace the personal characteristics of honesty, integrity, openness, fairness, and inclusiveness. We need to improve our working environment so that all points of view are respected and tolerated. While we can disagree on important matters, we need to do so in a professional and respectful manner. Once decisions are taken, we need to put our differences aside and work towards our common goals. I have established CFR committees to work toward these goals. As the Acting Dean, I assume personal responsibility for setting a good example by striving to recognize and reward those who best exemplify commitment to our common purpose.
Within a framework of mutual respect and a commitment to share some basic common goals, I am confident that we will succeed!
Hands-on field experience is one of the unique opportunities the College of Forest Resources is able to provide for learners of all ages. The College's location in one of the world's largest forest regions provides sites for field classes and research, actual management of forested lands, exposure to wood-based industries, and awareness of resource-use issues. College field facilities include major forested areas, an arboretum, an ecological research area, and several cooperative research centers and stations. These lands offer a wide variety of terrestrial and aquatic characteristics favorable to a full range of scientific investigations. They also provide a general natural science laboratory for graduate and undergraduate coursework and for professional and public education programs and other outreach efforts of the College.
The CFR Quarterly is published four times annually, at the close of Autumn, Winter, Spring, and Summer Quarters.
Please send comments or submit news items to Cecilia Paul: firstname.lastname@example.org; 3-3075; 107E Anderson, Box 352100.
Photo credits this issue: D. Emmons, E. Miller
Web Design: Marianne Elliott