October 31, 2002

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

Many of you are aware that significant changes in CFR's programs are currently under review. Changing UW and societal priorities, accompanied by more clearly articulated criteria of productivity and efficiency, make transforming our programs crucial to survival in this era of decreasing budgetary support. Collectively, we face very serious problems in both the short and long term. Accepting and incorporating change in any organization is difficult and challenging, but we must, and I am confident that we can, make the transformation that is required. Although our challenge runs deep and is fundamental in nature, our collective experience and expertise will serve us well in identifying a new niche to better serve the University and our clients.

In doing so, we must preserve the core values of the UW, as well as our long tradition as a leading-edge College, remaining a significant contributor to science-based knowledge for the stewardship of natural and managed environments and the sustainable use of their products and services. However, in redefining our programs to provide world-class, internationally recognized knowledge and leadership, we must enhance, and in many cases better articulate, our focus on the sustainability and functionality of complex natural resource and environmental systems using an interdisciplinary approach across multiple scales. We must foster closer ties to supporting cross-campus programs, and better advertise the longstanding ties we have already nurtured. We must not underestimate the seriousness of the present budget climate or the current perception of our lagging performance and contribution. We may not have another chance to demonstrate the value of CFR's contributions to the University.

Our transformation must encompass our three-fold mission: teaching, research, and outreach. We must develop integrated graduate programs that respond to the need for discovery and understanding in complex systems. We must provide high quality, high impact programs of study for undergraduate students seeking a broad scientific understanding of resource science and environmental management challenges. We must increase our service teaching contributions to the UW community. And we must reenergize our research enterprise to ensure growth in areas that support our mission and vision. In all of these endeavors, we will need to change how we package and deliver educational material to all of our clients, with efficient use of faculty and staff resources a primary criterion.

Transforming our teaching programs. Let me set forth my vision for transformation. To best educate students for the workplace of tomorrow and to provide them with a solid scientific understanding of natural resource systems, our programs must:

  • be based on the ecological, social and economic sciences underlying natural resource sustainability;
  • be well integrated across a wide spectrum of natural resources in both natural and managed environments;
  • utilize our world-class outdoor laboratory to provide unparalleled experiential learning experiences;
  • address the principles and concepts inherent in the stewardship of natural and managed environments while providing unsurpassed technical competency; and
  • nurture our strong UW and external affiliations, while developing new links, with other campus programs.

    As we continue revising College priorities and programs, we must learn from similar experiences on the UW campus and elsewhere. Speakers with organizational transformation experience will be invited to the College to discuss their aproach. We must also build on our work of past years in which desired outcomes clearly pointed in the direction for transformation. Restated in the form of clear criteria that will be used to evaluate work products, I believe our teaching program should consist of:

  • one undergraduate curriculum to provide a high quality education in natural resource science and management;
  • one undergraduate curriculum to provide a high quality education in paper science and engineering;
  • a limited number of consolidated graduate programs to support functionally significant areas, all of which are adequately supported by research funding

    These programs should be characterized by:

  • quality, integration, consolidation and interdisciplinarity
  • efficient synergies among education, research, and outreach efforts that closely link our undergraduate and graduate programs
  • clearly established criteria and accountability for learning outcomes, class size, and maximum efficiency in faculty teaching loads
  • identification and evaluation of courses suitable for conversion to self-sustaining, fee-based status
  • provision of a substantial and consistent offering of service courses of value to the UW community

    I invite all members of our CFR community to fully participate in as many discussions as time allows. We need and seek input from all who care about the future of our College. In the next few days, I will appoint a working group to oversee and facilitate the development of new teaching programs. Their charge and time table will be short. Curriculum development is under the purview of the faculty but we must come to some accord soon.

    I am also instructing Chairs Dave Manuwal and Rick Gustafson to take steps necessary to cancel undergraduate and graduate classes with small enrollments as quickly as possible. I am also prepared (if necessary) to restrict enrollment into College programs where we do not have sufficent resources to provide a quality product.

    Transforming our research program. Each CFR faculty member will have to reevaluate his or her research performance and funding base, setting goals and developing plans for enhancement. Sufficient funding to attract highly qualified students to CFR and to provide ample opportunity while they are enrolled in our programs is essential. We must collectively set a goal of increasing our research-funding base by at least 25 percent within two years. CFR's New Initiatives Team must identify and develop research opportunities that transcend the programs of individual scientists or departments and encourage cross-campus collaboration and interdisciplinarity in developing future research initiatives. And we must continue to involve undergraduates in our research labs and programs so that they can benefit from the fruits of a major research university.

    Transforming our outreach programs. We must enhance CFR opportunities for developing self-sustaining programs, including our professional outreach programs as well as evening degree and graduate-level certificate programs. Associate Dean Edmonds and Kelley Duffield are requested to work with Professors Harrison, Paun, and others to develop a strategy for presentation to the Dean.

    Faculty positions. The Provost has told us that the only tenure-track faculty position we can fill at this time is for the Director of the Center for Urban Horticulture and the Washington Park Arboretum. We have also been given approval to hire a research assistant professor in plant biotechnology. I will be appointing search committees for these two positions within the next week. My request to hire two additional tenure-track assistant professors was not approved by the Provost; these funds will be recaptured by the UW and will be unavailable after July 1, 2003. I have requested Chairs Dave Manuwal and Rick Gustafson to find a workable solution to CFR's pressing needs in the areas of resource economics and silviculture, as well as meeting our need for a new Director of College Lands. Funds for this directorship, along with the Director for the ATI Precision Forestry Cooperative are on hold pending further discussion with the Provost. I have asked Chair Rick Gustafson to confer with Professor Schreuder and others to develop a strategy on the ATI for presentation to the Dean and Vice Provost Hogan to resolve this in our favor. And, last but not least, the Provost is interested in working with any faculty interested in exploring retirement options. Those who are interested are asked to work collaboratively with the Dean and Vice Provost Olswang.

    In this time of great challenge, the day-to-day operations of the College must continue. The divisions must continue to manage courses supporting our existing curricula and graduate programs. Promotion, merit, and tenure procedures must proceed according to established schedules. Revised and updated CFR standing committees will continue developing and working on projects related to their missions. For transformation to be effective, form must follow function. When our new programs emerge, we can then look at appropriate division and new committee structures to provide necessary support.

    I, like all of you, want the College to succeed. I value your help and encouragement through the coming months and will closely monitor our collective efforts to insure that progress is made on critical activities. Thank you and best wishes.

    B. Bruce Bare, Dean

    To Return to:Prof Bare's Page, Dean's Office, College of Forest Resources