Arkansas’ only school of forestry is getting a new name to go with a broadened, updated academic direction.
The School of Forest Resources at the University of Arkansas at Monticello has been renamed the School of Forestry and Natural Resources, according to an announcement this morning by Dr. Philip Tappe, dean of the school. The name change was made to coincide with a new curriculum that provides students with broad options for studying natural resource management while also maintaining excellence in forestry education.
According to Tappe, the changes are being made to “better reflect the role and mission of our academic program and to provide more educational options for persons interested in natural resource management.”
“The school’s new name and program direction bridges the strengths of the existing forestry, spatial information systems and wildlife programs to new opportunities in natural resources communications and environmental sciences,” noted Dr. Jimmie Yeiser, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “These changes should be attractive to a broader range of students and reflect the contemporary scope of our program offerings.”
Currently, the UAM forestry program offers two baccalaureate degrees – the bachelor of science in forest resources with emphases in either forestry or wildlife management, and the bachelor of science degree in spatial information systems with specializations in either land surveying or geographic information systems. The school also offers a master’s degree in forest resources.
Beginning with the fall 2015 semester, the School of Forestry and Natural Resources will offer the bachelor of science degree in natural resources management with options in forestry, wildlife management and conservation, geospatial science, environmental science, and communications in natural resources. The school will also offer a B.S. in land surveying as well as a two-year associate of science degree in land surveying technology. The master of science degree in forest resources will have four emphasis areas: forest science, wildlife ecology and management, geospatial science, and natural resources management.
“We want to create a broader vision of forestry and natural resources education,” said Tappe. “Our overall goal is to prepare future leaders for wisely managing our renewable natural resources and maintaining a vibrant forest environment.”
Founded on September 1, 1945 by Yale-educated professor Henry H. “Hank” Chamberlin, the original forestry school was a two-year program that expanded to a four-year baccalaureate degree in 1950. By the 1960s, the program was producing leaders in the forestry industry at the state, regional and national level, including F. Dale Robertson, former chief of the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, O.H. “Doogie” Darling, forest lands manager for Georgia Pacific Corporation, Larry Nance, deputy state forester of the Arkansas Forestry Commission, and Frank Wilson, owner of Wilson Brothers Timber Company.
In 1981, the School of Forest Resources added a major in wildlife management and in 1984 received national accreditation from the Society of American Foresters. In 1987, the Arkansas Forest Resources Center (AFRC) was established by the UA Division of Agriculture on the UAM campus to work in conjunction with the School of Forest Resources to enhance research and extension programs. In 1994, the AFRC became a University of Arkansas Center of Excellence