From the Dean's Perspective
August 15, 2016
We enter the fall semester with our largest class ever of new undergraduate students, which includes entering freshman and students transferring from other institutions. The college has met its in-state and out-of-state enrollment goals for fall 2016, and we are excited about the quality and diversity of our new students. Our undergraduate enrollment will continue to grow over the coming five years parallel to Virginia Tech’s enrollment goals. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to grow not only in size but in relevance to the global challenges of the 21st century. I assure you we are committed to maintaining a quality experience, familial atmosphere, and personal attention to our students as we grow. An exciting horizon lies ahead.
Our faculty finished the fiscal year with the highest amount of research awards in the college’s history, attracting over $21 million in external support for their research programs. Much of this funding supports our graduate students. This level of external support is testament to the creativity, curiosity, intellect, hard work, and persistence of our faculty.
We completed a number of renovation projects over the summer months to create additional desk space and modernize several graduate student rooms and other offices. Quantity and quality of space remains our greatest challenge, and this scenario will become increasingly more evident as we continue to meet enrollment goals and hire additional faculty and staff.
Steve McMullin, professor of human dimensions of fisheries and wildlife, retired in June. Steve is the founding director of the college’s Leadership Institute and has agreed to help with the 2016-17 cohort — our seventh since the program’s inception. Well done, Steve, and thanks. You will be missed.
Bill Carstensen has stepped down as head of the Department of Geography, returning to full-time teaching and research following 10 years of service to the department and college. It has been a pleasure to work with him in this leadership role, and he leaves the department in great shape. During the decade of Bill’s leadership, we developed the new meteorology degree program, added a significant number of faculty, and saw undergraduate enrollment increase considerably. We will start a global search for a new department head in the fall. Thank you, Bill.
I am excited about our upcoming conference, Women in Natural Resources: Leading, Mentoring, and Connecting, taking place in October. We have put together an excellent program, and I hope you will consider joining us.
We are moving closer to the 25th anniversary of the College of Natural Resources and Environment. Established in 1992, the college today is one of North America’s leaders in education, research, and outreach in natural resources and the environment, and is ranked No. 1 nationally for the second consecutive year. With a strong foundation in forestry, wildlife, fisheries, and wood, and the addition of geography as well as the development of many new degree programs, the college is well positioned for the future. Watch for details on our celebration of this important milestone. I hope you can join us in Blacksburg for some of the events.
Fall semester is off and running, and we once again recall the excitement and anticipation we experienced as new students heading off to college. We welcome the exuberance of our new and returning students. Our future lies in them!
Warm regards from our faculty, staff, and students,
Paul M. Winistorfer