May 8, 2009
Faculty members within the University of Maine at Fort Kent’s Forest Technology program are cautiously optimistic about receiving accreditation from the American Society of Foresters (SAF) following a two-day visit from an accreditation team last month. The program expects to hear about its accreditation status later this year.
The anticipated accreditation should come as no surprise, as the Forestry program received notice from the Society earlier this year, extending its recognition of UMFK’s Forest Technology curriculum through 2017.
UMFK is the only SAF-recognized college or university forest technology program in Maine, and one of only two such programs in New England.
Last year, the SAF Council approved the current revisions to the Standards, Procedures, and Guidelines for Accrediting Educational Programs in Forest Technology for implementation beginning August 1, 2009.
“The Society of American Foresters is the professional organization for forestry across North America. As such, it sets the standard for professional forestry education -- what every forester or forest technician should know from their college,” said Dave Hobbins, professor of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
“The Society evaluates a college or university based on a number of factors including a faculty member’s education and experience; the institution’s commitment to the program; the success of its graduates; and other factors, including curriculum. UMFK has passed every standard for recognition by the Society and continues its strong tradition of providing excellent graduates for the forestry profession. We are confident that our program is positioned to pass the test to reach the next level – accreditation,” Professor Hobbins adds.
Members of the SAF accreditation visiting team were: Christopher L. Westbrook (chair), director/professor of the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Wanakena, New York; Barbara R. Pietrucha, a retired science teacher and currently an environmental science consultant of Bradley Beach, New Jersey; and Anthony Filauro, a retired forester of Millinocket, Maine.
Trained forest technicians play an increasingly important role in the preparation and implementation of forest management activities. Forest technicians are responsible for the on-the-ground implementation of forest management prescriptions. Employers find that UMFK-educated technicians are able to step into this role with a minimum of orientation and on-the-job-training.
Institutions that have requested SAF accreditation offer curricula that have been found to meet the minimum standards for objectives, curriculum, faculty, students, administration, parent-institution support, and physical resources and facilities.
The Forest Technology program at UMFK is a conservation-oriented program that focuses on the wise use of forests as a renewable resource. With recognition from SAF, the program ensures that students receive the best education possible.
The Society of American Foresters was founded in 1900. SAF is the national organization that represents all segments of the forestry profession including public and private practitioners, researchers, administrators, educators, forest technicians, and students.
The Society's Mission is to advance the science, technology, education, and practice of professional forestry; to enhance the competency of its members; to establish professional excellence; and to use the knowledge, skills, and conservation ethic of the profession to ensure the continued health and use of forest ecosystems and the present and future availability of forest resources to benefit society. ###