Volume 2, No. 1, Fall 1998
As Autumn Quarter draws to a close, a number of exciting new possibilities
for the College are under development. I'm pleased to report that:
• The College forwarded three strong UIF proposals
to the Provost for consideration (the Urban Ecology Initiative; the
Sustainable Resource Sciences Initiative; and the Ecological Gardens
Initiative). The College also is a supporter of a number of initiatives
originating in other schools and colleges.
• The Urban Ecology Initiative is finalist for NSF
Integrated Graduate Education Research and Training (IGERT) funding.
• The Private Forests Forum held its first meeting
on November 13, 1998, at which it formed a steering committee and developed
a statement of purpose.
• A College of Forest Resources Technology Initiative
on "precision wood processing and resource management" is under consideration
by the UW for submission to the legislature under the Advanced Technology
I'd also like to report on the College of Forest Resources Visiting Committee
meeting held on October 23, 1998. A good turnout of Committee members
with additional participants from center and curricular advisory committees
brainstormed broad issues concerning challenges and future opportunities
for forest and natural resources institutions. George Brown, Dean of the
College of Forestry at OSU, also attended the meeting and provided a regional
perspective and a benchmarking opportunity. The meeting concluded with
a discussion of a new structure for the Visiting Committee. There was
a consensus that restructuring into small working groups, each focusing
on a specific task related to the College's strategic goals, would be
a useful and productive experiment. Development, communications and public
relations, and outreach were proposed as tasks for initial working groups.
The broad themes discussed by the committee provided important insight
into the issues to be tackled by these working groups. They also provide
an ongoing "reality check" for the strategic directions of the College
and its current goals and objectives. Points raised and discussed included:
Projections for the future:
- continuing urban growth
- major urban universities must be centers of expertise
in rural-urban interface issues
- landscape-scale decision making will become increasingly
- challenge of how to deal with forestlands in a multi-ownership
- changing nature of jobs in natural resource fields,
stressing "whole-system" approach
- increasing need for successful consensus building
to solve problems
- increasing need for balanced environmental education
that begins at an early age.
Public's perception of forestry:
- in some sectors quite negative, although improvement
since "wake-up call" in about 1990 resulted in significant changes in
"action on the ground"
- often a disconnect between competing values
- lack of clear and focused consensus on priorities
for forest and natural resource use
- perceptions are constrained by lack of balanced point
- perhaps a coordinated, national media campaign could
improve forestry's public image.
Role of academia in public policy:
- stakeholders should look to universities as a credible,
- research results should be translated into policy
- proactive or reactive role in providing information
to policyholders: which is appropriate?
- no reason to assume that scientific facts will or
even always should "win" in policy decisions; decision-making process
includes many other factors
- should be more interdisciplinary cooperation in natural
resources issues to provide a credible and integrated resource to policymakers
Elements constituting top forestry schools today:
- ability to attract and retain top quality students
- relevant curriculum
- recognition of global context
- effective strategic planning
- strong faculty buy-in
- emphasis on social and communication skills, as well
as technical skills
- strong relationship with external stakeholders
- adequate funding and facilities
- strong research program
Elements constituting top forestry school ten years from now:
- ability to effectively facilitate research implementation,
i.e., technology transfer
- increased integration in knowledge and skills relating
to natural resource management
- better consensus on forestry issues
- lifelong learning opportunities
- student diversity
- increased endowment funding.
What needs to be "fixed":
- public's negative perception of forestry
- inadequate research focus on today's questions and
- research results need to be more quickly available
- inadequate outreach
- not enough collaboration between academic units and
- not enough alumni involvement
- inadequate assessment of educational outcomes
- need to increase sense of commitment and responsibility
to the College by current students and recent graduates
- the College and "forestry" need better sense of identity
- increased interaction between faculty and students
I think you will agree from these discussions by meeting participants
that strategic thinking and our work of the past three years remains ever
more vital to the health of the College and to the profession.
I hope you had a joyful holiday season and my best wishes for a Happy
David B. Thorud
Photo Credits this issue: Carl Harrington, Bob Beer, Cecelia Paul, Al Wagar.
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.