The Consultant - 2008 - (Page 12)

FEATURE The Present, from a Texas Perspective Presentation Summary: 2007 ACF National Conference DR. MICHAEL S. FOUNTAIN, CF AND DR. PAT STEPHENS WILLIAMS Professional Forestry Education: O Michael Fountain Pat Stephens Williams ne of the essential concepts taught in all forestry programs is the philosophy of “adaptive management.” Foresters have always been trained to try new techniques; to be innovative in developing and implementing new equipment and methods; to see what works, what doesn’t and make adjustments. Change is therefore something we have always dealt with in every aspect of forestry. So what is the current state of professional forestry education in the United States? It is changing! Should we fear change in what is being taught in forestry education programs across the country? We think not, but we do need to evaluate the forces that are causing the changes to ensure that we react appropriately. We evaluated the factors and trends that are creating opportunities for programs to evaluate the appropriateness of their curricula and found the answers both simple and complicated. First and foremost, professional forestry programs are accredited by the Society of American Foresters (SAF). However, the way forestry education components are measured has changed. SAF no longer requires a designated number of credits in particular subjects, as was the case when many programs received their initial or last re-accreditation. SAF now requires that programs demonstrate competency in an ever-growing list of subject areas. Why is the list of subjects expanding? It is a response to the perception of a changing profession. The definition of what constitutes a forester has been broadened to include many non-traditional areas of forestry, such as urban forestry and the human dimensions of forestry. As we broaden the definition and thus are forced to include new topics in our forestry programs, we must decide what aspects of traditional subjects can be reduced. Strongly tied to the above concern is pressure from state legislatures, who are receiving pressure from parents to get students graduated in fewer semesters. Nationwide, the average student takes 10 semesters to receive his or her undergraduate degree. This is expensive for parents and for state legislatures. In Texas, our Legislature responded to this concern by passing a law, effective in the fall of 2008, requiring all degree programs to reduce the number of credit hours to 120 semester credit hours unless the program presented major justification for staying above the maximum. The Legislature also mandated that no reductions take place in the general education component of a degree program. So the question to ask is, “What can we cut from the forestry core to attain the reduced degree requirements?” This same trend toward decreasing the total credits required for a degree is occurring across the country. Hand in hand with the above two factors are advances in technology. As we develop new tools, we must add instruction in the use of these new tools into the THE CONSULTANT 2008 12

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Consultant - 2008

Executive Director’s Message Mapping the Future of ACF
President’s Message ACF Celebrates 60 Years
Professional Forestry Education: The Present, from a Texas Perspective
The Future of Forestry Education: Will We Prepare Relics or Icons?
Forestry and Consulting: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
Carbon – A Forestry Opportunity?
Advocacy – Its Benefits May Come With Frustrations
Katrina Top 10: Public Policy Advocacy Lessons Learned After Hurricane Disaster
‘Mighty Giants’ Details Rich History of American Chestnut Tree
The Cost of Breaking in New Employees
Hiring Practices: Questions You Shouldn’t Ask a Job Applicant
Graduate Forestry Degrees and Consulting Forestry
Taxation and Land Devaluation: An Examination of the Tax Burden on Non-industrial Private Landowners
Forester Licensing: Essential to Guarding the Forestry Profession
Forester Licensing: Not Worth the Effort
ACF Code of Ethics: Canon 15 What You Don’t Say or Do Can Hurt You
Philippe Morgan: European Forestry Consultant Extraordinaire
The Final Word: A Tale of Two Technologies

The Consultant - 2008