Volume 1, No. 2 Winter 1998
As Winter Quarter 1998 draws to a close, I’d like to share a few thoughts with you about planning strategically for excellence. In order to be successful in our shared vision of preeminence in teaching and advancing the frontiers of knowledge, we will need to emphasize two distinct but interrelated strategies. First, a collective exploration and analysis of trends and opportunities in our profession will help us to continually shape our programs to meet society’s growing and changing needs. Second, a strengthened relationship with our "public" – alumni, friends, corporate and agency clients, elected officials, and other education providers – will help ensure that our strengths are communicated, our success in attracting funding is enhanced, and our leadership and partnership are sought. These efforts are part of an integrated approach to planning that I hope will become "second nature" to us as we develop our skills in thinking strategically.
During Winter Quarter we undertook a collective exploration of major themes that the College might develop for the future. Dr. David Baltimore, speaking in January to the UW Board of Regents’ Strategic Planning Committee, identified the lack of this kind of attention as a major factor that can erode excellence: in his words, "the lack of attention … to the fact that the intellectual frontiers of an area have moved off into the distance and you’re still fighting the old battles … ." Through spirited email exchanges, in strategic planning meetings and workshops, as well as in day-to-day activities and projects, we are giving thought to the future and how we might shape it. In our exchanges, many exciting and challenging directions for the College were presented. Although we realized that future "wordsmithing" may be necessary, we agreed that the following broad themes will serve as useful guideposts to the future.
• Sustainable Forest Enterprises
• Land and Ecosystem Management in an Urbanizing World
Theme #1 would envelop all aspects of resource utilization as well as the management of land and water resources occurring in natural and/or managed environments. It includes traditional and nontraditional forest-based goods and services as well as the social, economic, biological, and physical impacts of sus-tainable practices.
A growing and urbanizing world population is heavily impacting ecosystems and is creating new problems in rural as well as urban and suburban areas. Impacts of an urbanizing world are evident in such things as the growing number of conflicts over land use; wildfires and wildlife in rural subdivisions; the use of plants to provide restful environments in cities; and restoration of polluted or sensitive areas. We expect programs in support of theme #2 to contribute to the resolution of conflicts among competing human and natural resources values.
The challenging part of this exercise, of course, will be to develop the themes as integral parts of our curricula, our graduate research programs, our outreach and public education activities, and our public service efforts.
Winter Quarter was also a time of strengthening our partnerships with alumni, friends, and clients. In January we met with our Visiting Committee, which provided useful and encouraging advice and input. Long-standing relationships with alumni and friends resulted in a number of new endowed funds for the College. The MCMC Resources Professorship in Forest Engineering was established with a generous gift by Robert (Bob) (CFR, ’59) and Ruby McLachlan, and Bob’s sister-in-law Cyndie. Three new endowments funded by the estate of Rachel Woods, a long-time friend of the College, will create an endowed professorship in reforestation, a graduate program fund, and a graduate and undergraduate scholarship endowment. The College’s External Initiatives "incubator team" met regularly throughout the quarter to explore ways to identify and fund interdisciplinary research initiatives in partnership with public and private clients. Potential proposals include initiatives in the areas of environmental assessment of urban forests, carbon sequestration research, forest inventory analysis enhancements, and visualization technology, among others. We will continue to take advantage of every opportunity to seek input and advice and to develop partnerships with our many stakeholders.
Both of these efforts will be enhanced by our keeping in mind the University’s strategic goals and the new opportunities to achieve these goals being made available to the campus community. The "Tools for Transformation" proposal providing temporary funding will encourage departments and programs to make programmatic transitions in response to new challenges. The UIF funding process is being refined in response to campus-wide input. I feel confident that the College, with a strong and well developed strategic planning process and strengthened relationships with its stakeholders, will have competitive proposals for these new opportunities.
David B. Thorud
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. Galt, J. Greenberg, R.
Knight, J. Marzluff, University News & Information