Reaccreditation Process of Forestry Curriculums Underway

March 4, 2015
SENR faculty, staff, students and alumni are currently engaged in the process of reaccreditation of the School's forestry curriculums by the Society of American Foresters (SAF). SENR Associate Professor and Forestry Program Coordinator David Hix discusses the process of reaccreditation in a recent edition of the Ohio Society of American Foresters publication, The Ohio Hetuch (starting on page 2).
 
The article, "Ohio State Forestry Program Up for Reaccreditation" is reprinted below with permission from the Ohio Society of American Foresters. 
 
The faculty, staff, students and alumni of the School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR) are currently engaged in the process of reaccreditation of the two SENR forestry curriculums by the Society of American Foresters (SAF). The first forestry course was taught at The Ohio State University in 1881. Our forestry curriculums were first accredited by SAF in the 1980s, and then again in 1993.
 
Forestry, Fisheries, and Wildlife is currently one of five distinct majors offered to undergraduate students in the School of Environment and Natural Resources. Students in the major learn the basic and applied biological principles that are applied when managing ecosystems for the benefit of society and sustainability of our environment. They also learn how forestry, wildlife, and aquatic specialists address the biological, economic, and social aspects of managing forest, grassland, freshwater, coastal and other ecosystem types for plant and animal species, and while incorporating landscape restoration and habitat conservation into their practices.
 
Within the Forestry, Fisheries, and Wildlife major, there are two different forestry specialization options that have been accredited by SAF since 2004:
1) Forest Ecosystem Science and Management
2) Forestry and Wildlife
 
Students in the Forest Ecosystem Science and Management specialization option take courses with a central focus on the ecology and management of forest ecosystems. Students graduating from this option will be prepared for careers involving the management of private and public forest lands, pulp and timber operations in the industrial sector, domestic or international consulting, wildland fire-fighting, research, or teaching.
 
Following a major revision of SENR curricula in 2003 to address students’ interests in both forestry and wildlife management, the other specialization option was created. We were motivated by feedback from students that identified their needs and desired educational outcomes. Another reason for this combined option was to allow students to seek professional employment opportunities upon graduation in both fields.
 
Both of our specialization options provide the necessary coursework to eventually become a Certified Forester through the Society of American Foresters. Students graduating from the Forestry and Wildlife option can also apply to become Certified Wildlife Biologists.
 
Since April, we have been working on a self-evaluation report. There are six standards for accreditation that must be met, including explaining how the forestry program faculty, staff and administrators effectively offer the two curriculums. We must detail the organization of and all levels of support for the program, and how we fulfill our mission, goals and objectives. It is also necessary to present our procedures for assessment of expected outcomes as well as our internal processes of curriculum revision and program planning for the future. Please direct any feedback, comments or questions about our forestry program to me or to other faculty members, and we can provide additional information to interested Ohio SAF members.
 
A visiting team of three professional foresters is tentatively scheduled to conduct an onsite review during April of 2015. During this three-day visit, we will present our self-study for their review, and they will meet with faculty, staff, students, alumni, employers and administrators. The team will review and comment on our written document, and present their findings to the SAF Committee on Accreditation just prior to the 2015 National SAF Convention. At the conclusion of this process, we anticipate the reaccreditation of our two forestry curriculums for an additional ten years.
 
Photo caption: ENR 3222 students sampling during field trip. Photo courtesy of David M. Hix.