CORVALLIS, Ore. – Hal Salwasser, professor and dean of the College of Forestry at Oregon State University and director of one of the nation’s leading programs of forestry education and research, announced today that he will step down from the dean’s position at the end of the 2011-12 academic year.
At OSU, Salwasser is also executive dean of the Division of Earth Systems Science and director of the Oregon Forest Research Laboratory. He will remain on the OSU faculty after leaving these positions.
Salwasser, who had a long career in both academia and the U.S. Forest Service, was dean of the college for 12 years. It was a time of significant change in the forest products industry, social and scientific challenges in natural resource management, and growth in educational and research programs.
A search for his replacement will begin soon, university officials said. They also announced today that Salwasser will hold a newly created endowed chair during his remaining tenure as dean, the Cheryl Ramberg and Allyn C. Ford Deanship of Forestry.
“Hal Salwasser has provided strong leadership during difficult economic times, changing social demands and new educational opportunities,” said Sabah Randhawa, the university’s provost and executive vice president. “OSU has one of the finest forestry educational and research programs in the nation, a program that Oregon needs to build both a healthy economy and a healthy natural resource base.”
“No one has understood these multiple demands better than Dr. Salwasser,” he said. “We’re grateful for his work, his leadership in the College of Forestry to align academic programs with needs of industry and society, and his efforts to increase collaboration across colleges in his role as executive dean of the Division of Earth Systems Science. The new endowment is a fitting capstone to his achievements.”
Under Salwasser’s tenure, the college has revamped degree programs to better meet employer needs, raised more than $39 million during the Campaign for OSU, created five faculty endowments, developed new distance education degree programs, and grew enrollment by more than 50 percent. Demand for its graduates is continuing to increase.
The traditional forest products industry has been under enormous pressure in recent years, with mills closing, ownership of forest lands changing and new products emerging. At OSU, programs in forest engineering and management have been joined by new research initiatives in climate, forest ecosystem protection and renewable material science.
“Going forward, there will be continuing changes in the forest industry, as companies strive to maintain markets and competitiveness,” Salwasser said. “The college will have to continually adapt its education, degree and research programs to meet these changing needs. And as state and federal funding for research continues under pressure, we’ll have to forge stronger partnerships with industry.”
Before joining OSU, Salwasser held many positions in the U.S. Forest Service, culminating as regional forester in the northern Rockies and research station director in California in the 1990s. An expert in wildland resource science, he published more than 80 professional papers during a long career, is a member of the board of directors of the World Forestry Center, and is a fellow of the Society of American Foresters.
“As populations grow and climate changes, forests will be more important to quality of life than ever before,” Salwasser said. “OSU and the College of Forestry are perfectly positioned with the people and programs the nation needs to meet those challenges.”