The Consultant - 2008 - (Page 41)

CONSULTANT’S FORUM Graduate Forestry Degrees and Consulting Forestry BY THOMAS J. STRAKA, PH.D. AND HARRY V. WIANT, JR., ACF ore and more master’s-level foresters are ending up in the consulting forestry profession. A forestry master’s degree can range from a professional forestry degree to an academic degree in “forestry” that involved virtually no work in forestry itself. Likewise, it is possible to obtain a Ph.D. in forestry with few if any traditional forestry courses. There are many master’s-level forestry programs that produce foresters of ACF caliber, and there are many that produce forest scientists not at all prepared to practice forestry. Academic background checks on graduate degrees in “forestry” is advisable for any who may be hiring a forester, either as a consultant or an employee of a consulting firm. We will attempt here to describe the current status of these degrees. PROFESSIONAL VS. ACADEMIC DEGREES At the master’s level there are two types of forestry degrees offered in the United States: professional master’s (usually called a Master of Forestry or M.F.) and academic master’s (Master of Science or M.S.). The Society of American Foresters (SAF) accredits the professional forestry degree (the degree that prepares an individual for THE CONSULTANT 2008 M Tom Straka Harry Wiant entry into the forestry profession) at 50 academic institutions. These accredited professional forestry degrees can be for bachelor’s or master’s degrees. The jargon can be confusing. Technically, a professional degree (sometimes called a first-professional degree) is a post-baccalaureate degree, like a medical, dental, M.B.A., or pharmacy degree. In the U.S. a professional degree refers to academic degrees that are specific to a profession. In general usage, a professional forestry degree would be an SAF-accredited degree that allows the graduate to practice the profession of forestry. While a professional master’s degree is intended as a terminal degree that prepares the graduate for entry into the forestry profession, an academic master’s degree may be an intermediate step to the research-oriented doctorate. Generally, an academic master’s requires the preparation of a thesis and a professional master’s does not (although often a professional paper or project of some sort is required). An M.F. graduate, however, may pursue a Ph.D., and most M.S. graduates are prepared to practice forestry. So the distinctions can become blurred. It is generally assumed that M.F. graduates are prepared to practice forestry. Most institutions require 41

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