Dr. Philip A. Tappe has been named dean of the School of Forest Resources at the University of Arkansas at Monticello and director of the Arkansas Forest Resources Center (AFRC) of the UA System’s Division of Agriculture. The announcement was made Wednesday by UAM Provost David Ray and Dr. Mark Cochran, UA System vice president for agriculture.
Tappe assumes the post after a nationwide search. “After an exhaustive search, we believe we have found the right person to lead the School of Forest Resources and the Arkansas Forest Resources Center,” said Ray. “As we looked at applicants from around the country, we kept coming back to Dr. Tappe as the individual who best matched the leadership profile we wanted. His familiarity with the academic, research and public service components of forestry education made him the ideal candidate and will insure a seamless transition in leadership.”
Tappe came to UAM in 1991 as a postdoctoral research associate and instructor in the School of Forest Resources. He was promoted to assistant professor in 1992, associate professor in 1997 and professor in 2003. He became director of the School of Forest Resources graduate program in 1998, director of special projects in 2005, program coordinator in 2006, and was named associate dean of the School and associate director of the AFRC in 2010. Since January 2011 he has served as both interim dean and interim director.
“Dr. Tappe has our utmost confidence that under his leadership the school and the center will continue to provide the quality programs so essential to the continued sustainable development of this vital multi-faceted sector of our state’s economy and environment,” said Cochran. “We will expect that the excellent research and extension programs of the Arkansas Forest Resources Center will progress and continue to offer science based solutions for forest management.”
Tappe holds a bachelor of science degree in forestry and biology with specializations in forest wildlife management and wildlife biology from Stephen F. Austin State University. He holds a master of science degree, also from Stephen F. Austin, in forestry, and a Ph.D. in forestry from Clemson University.
As dean of Arkansas’ only School of Forest Resources, Tappe will direct an academic program that offers baccalaureate degrees in forest resources (with options in forestry and wildlife management), spatial information systems (with options in geographic information systems and surveying), the associate of science degree in land surveying technology, and the master of science degree in forest resources. He is also currently overseeing a $6 million construction and renovation project to the forest resources complex which includes the addition of the George H. Clippert Forest Resources Annex in honor of the late George H. Clippert of Camden.
Tappe will also direct the Arkansas Forest Resources Center, which was established on the UAM campus in 1994 as a University of Arkansas Center of Excellence. The AFRC’s mission is to “develop and deliver superior programs in education, research and extension that enhance and insure the sustainability of forest-based natural resources.” UAM forest resources faculty hold dual appointments with the AFRC and are actively involved in a wide variety of applied research that addresses issues, problems, and opportunities related to natural resources.
“This is a tremendous opportunity and I am both humbled and excited to take on this challenging position,” said Tappe. “I am a firm believer that university programs in natural resources must be driven by two overriding goals – addressing society’s need for an enhanced quality of life, and providing for sustainable development of our renewable natural resources. I am committed to continuing the mission of the School of Forest Resources and the Arkansas Forest Resources Center that combines teaching, research and outreach to train the next generation of natural resource management professionals.”