December 12, 2004
Acting Provost David Thorud
The age class profile of our College shows that as of June 2005, six tenured faculty will be 65 or older and by June 2006, nine tenured faculty will reach this age. Presently, we have 36 tenured or tenure track faculty in our College. The possibility of 25% of our faculty retiring in less than two years suggests that we immediately initiate succession plans for filling these positions if we are to maintain our capacity to deliver high quality educational programs in our College. As you may recall, our College began discussions under your Deanship to systematically examine future faculty needs. Recently, at our September 21, 2004 faculty retreat, we again reviewed our faculty needs. Our Elected Faculty Council has also provided advice on this issue.
Differing approaches for identifying future faculty needs may be employed in these discussions. The approach we are following at this time is to justify future needs on the basis of hiring new faculty who offer the greatest promise of making significant contributions to the discovery of new scientific knowledge in areas of importance to the College. Thus, we seek new faculty who will make contributions to our research and graduate education programs while simultaneously fulfilling our professional needs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Based on many conversations and discussions, we are interested in obtaining four 'bridge' faculty positions from your office to help us systematically initiate our plan to transition to a younger faculty profile. We would like to initiate searches this academic year for the following four tenure track junior faculty positions: 1) natural resource economics, 2) landscape analysis, 3) natural resource restoration and management, and 4) paper science and engineering. While a detailed description of each position can be provided, a brief description of each follows.
Natural resource economist
We seek a social scientist with expertise in the valuation of non traditional commodities and amenities (including recreation) as well as the valuation of traditional natural resources; the economics of land use patterns and cover changes in forests as well as at the urban-rural interface; an understanding of economic incentive systems and regulatory programs; and the valuation of environmental services.
We seek a quantitative scientist with expertise in natural resources (i.e., wildlife, water, forest health, ecology, silviculture, conservation biology, economic sciences) to assimilate and integrate across disciplines the consequences of man-induced impacts on natural resources and environmental systems; and a broad perspective to integrate landscape as well as stand-level impacts of global climate change and the subsequent impacts on rain fall patterns, plant growth, watershed planning, fire regimes, etc.
Natural resource restoration and management
We seek a biological/ecological scientist with expertise in the management of natural resources including silviculture, horticulture, restoration ecology, forest ecology (to include fire ecology), wildlife conservation, or forest and plant protection. A scientist with expertise in restoring and managing ecosystems across the urban to wildland gradient with a focus on the interaction between nature and humans would add new capacity to our College's faculty.
Paper Science and Engineering
We seek a scientist with expertise in biotechnology who is able to develop a research program in the area of sustainable products and energy. This person would be engaged in molecular genetic research as applied to trees and other plants with the purpose of increasing the supply and quality of products and energy that can be obtained from biomass. This faculty member would work closely with the phyto-remediation group and the Paper Science and Engineering faculty.
We can not predict the exact dates that future faculty retirements will occur, but we have several (as many as six) professors who have indicated that they are likely to retire in 2006. We do not know how many of these will seek to continue under the 40% reemployment program. In any case, the expected duration of the 'bridge' positions is not extended too far into the future. With so many faculty retirements possible in 2006, it is necessary for the College to initiate the new faculty hire process immediately in order to retain our capacity to service our academic program needs.
We can provide additional descriptive detail about each of these positions if needed, but wish to learn if you think this is a viable proposal.
B. Bruce Bare, Dean