School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science

A Message from the Dean

You are an essential part of what we do in the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science. It is your success that builds our reputation, motivates our students, and attracts the next generation of students to the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science. Some of you have the opportunity to visit campus during alumni reunion or other events, and some of you have the opportunity to interact with us at conventions and meetings or at other times on our travels. Hearing from you is critical as we work to stay at the forefront of education and research in forestry, wildlife, and natural systems.

Coming up, we will be at the Society of American Foresters National Convention in Portland from October 3rd through October 7th in Portland Oregon, with an alumni reception on October 4th at 6:30pm. The following week we will at the Wildlife Society Annual Conference in Cleveland from October 7th to Oct 11th. We will be organizing a local gathering of alumni on the evening of October 10th. We will also be at the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Annual Conference in Denver from October 16th to 18th. We hope to see many alumni at these meetings, and in each case we have undergraduate students attending. For the students these are great opportunities to network, explore career paths, and to engage with their professions. It is also a chance for other professionals to see how amazing our students are!

In the coming years, we plan to increasingly emphasize a number of areas in which we excel, but which perhaps are less visible to the world outside of SFRES. These include sustainability, online education, outreach, and how we integrate technology and the cyber world into what we do.

Sustainability has always been at the forefront of what we do, and we need to emphasize this to others who may have different but related views of sustainability. Sustainable management of natural resources will be essential as the world changes through shifts in climate, invasive species, and continued urbanization. The positive changes in the world will be worthless if our natural areas are not well stewarded to meet the needs of current and future societies. We plan to increase our footprint in the world of sustainability!

Online education has grown immensely in the United States and beyond, and our goal is to be a leader in the arena of natural resource and conservation online education. We recognize that the online education experience is different from on campus education, but for some populations this is the only way that they can benefit from the excellence we offer in educational programs. Our goal is to produce online educational experiences that lead to a range of credentials that are widely respected and valued by employers and students alike. The challenges of hands-on educational experiences in an online world, such as those needed to develop strong field skills, need to be addressed. We see a potential role for alumni who are willing to help with this. While the experience will be different from what many of us are used to, using the newest technologies and the newest thinking in online education, we can produce programming that enhances our reputation and reaches a broader and more diverse stakeholder group. The key goal is to increase accessibility to our programs.

As practitioners, we embrace and utilize the latest technologies that make our work more accurate and more efficient. The School will remain at the forefront of incorporating the newest technologies into our educational and research programs. The exponential growth of technologies will change our concepts of productivity and efficiency, and the School needs to be sure that our graduates are prepared to share technologies with employers and be responsible citizens as we go through the 4th industrial revolution. We will ensure the high levels of professionalism and ethical standards that characterize our graduates are maintained as they become leaders in the digital era.

Most of our research programs are funded by public funds, and of course we are a state funded institution. Sharing our knowledge and perspectives with a broader audience and hearing from them are essential components of outreach that we must increasingly promote and value. Greater understanding of what we do and the questions that we try to answer will help build our reputation, and engage a community that is deeply interested and concerned about natural places and how humans interact with them.

There are a wide range of exciting opportunities for the School and all the people associated with it. I look forward to discussing these further with alumni when I have the opportunity to meet with them. Contacting me is easy: my cell/text is (906) 370-2847 and my email is storer@mtu.edu. I always enjoy hearing from alumni, so please share your stories, your thoughts about what we do, and your ideas of how you can increase your involvement as an essential part of our Forest Resources and Environmental Science family at Michigan Tech.