Administrators are considering eliminating the forest administration and utilization major offered at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, pending the approval of the proposed state budget.
Low enrollment levels and lack of permanent faculty are primary reasons for the consideration.
According to the UWSP College of Natural Resources, this discipline of forestry is focused on “providing training for careers in owning a consulting firm or a higher-level management position in a forestry organization.”
While there is considerable overlap among forestry majors, this discipline is oriented to further cover topics in business and forest products.
The program has one of the lowest enrollment levels in the CNR with only about 20 students. In addition, the permanent position tied to the major is open because of a recent faculty retirement.
“We will work to make sure that current students are taken care of,” said Dr. Christine Thomas, dean of the CNR. “We have been hiring an adjunct to teach courses that are in this major that are required by other forestry options. We will continue to hire an adjunct to do that.”
Thomas said if the budget cut occurs as is, the program cannot continue without hiring additional staff. She said consideration has already been given to this program in the past for non-budgetary reasons, and faculty did not seem to think there was a way to adequately offer the required courses with the current expertise in the department.
“Not hiring is a completely different scenario from needing to let someone who is already here go,” Thomas said. “If we hire in this area, we will need to lay off a faculty member in another, more highly enrolled program.”