CFR Quarterly, College of Forest Resources, University of Washington
Volume 2, No. 1, Fall 1998

Anne Kearney
Faculty News
Faculty Reports

Kelley Duffield
Staff News
Staff Reports

Richard Robohm
Student News
Student Reports
Scholarship Profiles: James Ridgeway Endowed Scholarship


Alumni Notes
Pack Forest

Other News
Past Issues






Sneak Previews

Claus Family Portraits!

Treed Students!

Dean's Notes

Dear Colleagues,

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 Initiative.

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 important
  • challenge of how to deal with forestlands in a multi-ownership context
  • 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 of view
  • 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, unbiased source
  • research results should be translated into policy contexts
  • 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 and faculty
  • 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 problems
  • research results need to be more quickly available
  • inadequate outreach
  • not enough collaboration between academic units and institutions
  • 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 New Year!

David B. Thorud



Photo Credits this issue: Carl Harrington, Bob Beer, Cecelia Paul, Al Wagar.

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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:; 3-3075; 107E Anderson, Box 352100.