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Doctoral program approved in
natural resources management
February 8, 1999
A new doctoral program in natural resources management has won state approval.
The program, proposed to the Board of Governors for Higher Education by the Department of Natural Resources Management and Engineering, received the board's approval during a January meeting. According to a team reviewing the proposal, graduates of the program will be "a positive and important contribution to the state."
David Schroeder, head of the department, expects to begin the program, leading to a Ph.D. in natural resources management, by September. He says he receives up to 30 inquiries a year regarding such a program. Faculty are already reviewing applications for the first cohort of candidates.
"This should help us gain more national visibility, and bring more scholarly individuals into our college," Schroeder says. "It will improve our ability to win extramural funding, improve the quality of our research, and provide all the positive spin-offs you get with a good doctoral program - spin-offs to the undergraduate program and the master's program - when you involve them in the research programs. It brings new depth to our department."
In their proposal for the program, UConn officials noted that, during the past 15 years, there has been a steep decline in the number of scientists less than 35 years old, and that, combined with an aging faculty nearing retirement, there will soon be a shortage of professors in general, and a shortage of professors in the field of resource management and engineering in particular. Additionally, they said, the Connecticut Labor Department has predicted there will be a nearly 13 percent increase in the number of jobs available for natural scientists by the year 2006.
The new scientists produced through the program will be able to apply their knowledge to a wide range of fields related to natural resources and the environment, including fisheries management, water and atmospheric pollution, wildlife and forest resources, and remote sensing technologies. The researchers will be able to work with scientists in UConn's Environmental Research Institute and with state Department of Environmental Protection officers and other agencies to help improve and conserve the state's natural resources for economic and recreational purposes.
The Department of Natural Resources Management and Engineering was created in 1988 through the merger of the departments of renewable natural resources and agricultural engineering. There are 10 full-time and two adjunct faculty in the department.
School officials expect to enroll five students during the program's first year, eight in the second and 10 by the third year.