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Featured Professional: Steven Daley-Laursen, Dean, College of Natural Resources, University of Idaho

Dean, College of Natural Resources, University of Idaho

Last week, I returned from a visit with college donors in southern Idaho and to my surprise found that three beautiful, large trees standing just outside my office window had been felled and hauled away. This morning, I arrived at my office to find that Gault Hall Dormitory, also just outside my window, had been razed. My view of the world had changed; well, in my view, it had been changed for me.

It turns out those three beautiful old trees that were so much a part of our lives and landscape, and that dormitory that had housed so many years of colorful student history, had all come down to make way for a new living-learning dormitory complex and new lines of young spindle trees along the walkway. These events were examples of how the old is constantly giving way to the new – not so subtle reminders that the only constant in life is change itself.

As forest landowners, forest managers in industries and agencies, and general users of the forest resource, you are all aware of the changes going on around you. You do your best to anticipate shifts and adapt your management and decision making to meet the realities of the day. The best we can do in our evolving world is try to stay abreast of our dynamic work environments and make deliberate changes to keep up, stay healthy and stay ahead.

Here at the University of Idaho College of Natural Resources, we’re doing our best to adapt, adjust and even stay ahead of changes that affect us and our stakeholders. Beginning in January, we embarked on a redesign process for the college. This effort involves each and every faculty and staff member and many of our graduate and undergraduate students. The goal is to fully understand the changing needs of our customers and stakeholders and then redesign certain aspects of the college to meet those needs. We are determined to find ways to build on our past successes so that our future degrees, research and outreach may be enhanced. We are deeply committed to our land grant service ethic and will continue to improve natural resource management, public policy and the common good through our science. There is no better college for natural resources research and education than UI CNR, and through our redesign process, we intend to keep it that way.

One of the key elements of our CNR Academic Redesign process is our invitation of “outside voices”. We have asked leaders from various natural resource careers and college stakeholders from all walks to give us their input on how to prepare students for the future, on the type of research needed to address complex natural resource issues and on the format of outreach needed to marry our research with management on the ground. This has been extremely helpful to our faculty and administrators. In the end, it will be just the right mix of external and internal perspectives that will affect the changes we make to stay relevant and vibrant as the natural resource college of choice.

As our incoming students arrive in the Fall semester and discover new scenery on campus, new living facilities, recreation opportunities, and university leadership, we will be implementing elements of our new college design. The goal will be to offer our students an education that prepares them to be productive citizen professionals in the world outside our walls. With your help and support, we’ll be able to nurture and guide them as they put down roots in our college.

Please stay in touch. We rely on our web of relationships among our faculty, staff, alumni, donors, and working partners. We are privileged to have a firm foundation of special friends and constituents like you. Together, you represent the best results of our past efforts and the best ideas for our future efforts. We appreciate the input you’ve given us to date and hope you’ll keep on giving it as we complete the redesign process.

You can reach me at . Have a great summer!

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