Dr. Phil Tappe, dean of the University of Arkansas at Monticello Dean of the College of Forestry, Agriculture, and Natural Resources and the director of the U of A System Division of Agriculture’s Forest Resources Center, will retire on December 31.
Tappe has spent the last 30 years at the university in a variety of positions. He joined UAM and the Division of Agriculture as a research associate and instructor in January 1991. He progressed through the ranks to full professor in 2003. In 2006, he was selected as associate dean for the School of Forest Resources and associate director for the Arkansas Forest Resources Center. He was appointed dean and director in 2011.
“Since I first arrived on campus many years ago, there have been several substantial changes,” Tappe said. “Academic, research, and extension programs have all evolved; facilities have been renovated and expanded; and academic units have been merged to form a larger, more comprehensive College. These changes have all been consistently positive. However, what has not changed is the dedication and commitment of our faculty and staff, and the determination and quality of our students and alumni. Serving as Dean and Director has been a wonderful opportunity.”
Tappe holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, and a Ph.D. in forestry from Clemson University.
“Under Dr. Tappe’s leadership, the CFANR has continued to provide superior programs in education, research and outreach in the areas of forestry, agriculture and natural resources,” said Dr. Peggy Doss, UAM Chancellor. “During his tenure, the College has evolved to meet the current and future education and research needs of the global industry. Dr. Tappe is a valued friend, colleague, and a highly respected professional. I congratulate him on his retirement and thank him for his many years of dedication to UAM and the Arkansas Forest Resources Center.”
Dr. Mark Cochran, Vice President for Agriculture, has worked with Dr. Tappe since 2006.
“The Division of Agriculture expresses our thanks and gratitude to Phil while he served admirably as dean and director,” Cochran said. “The partnership we have with UAM has been enhanced through his leadership and knowledge of the forestry industry, wildlife management, and agriculture. While we are sorry to see him go, we want to congratulate him on his retirement and wish him all the best.”
While a national search for Tappe’s replacement is underway, Dr. Robert Ficklin will serve as interim dean and director.
Ficklin joined UAM as an assistant professor of forest soils in 2002. He was promoted to associate professor in 2008 and a full professor in 2016. In 2015, he was named associate dean for academics and continues in that role for the College of Forestry, Agriculture, and Natural resources.
Ficklin holds degrees from the University of Missouri with a bachelor’s in Forest Resource Management, a master’s in Forest Soils and Statistics, and a Ph.D. in Soil and Atmospheric Sciences.
“While it is never easy to lose an effective leader in such a vital role, I have every confidence in the search committee to determine the right person to guide both the College of Forestry, Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Arkansas Forest Resources Center into the future,” said Dr. Doss. “This position bridges academic distinction with critical industry expertise and promotion – all while guiding the objectives of UAM and Division of Agriculture.”
The search committee includes faculty members representing each of the academic areas in the College of Forestry, Agriculture, and Natural Resources, as well as representatives from outside the College. Finalists for the position will have the opportunity to visit campus and meet with university, community, and industry stakeholders. “It is vitally important to us that our stakeholders are given the opportunity to participate in this process,” Doss said.