Success in meeting those needs can be reduced by increased faculty specialization and intensified competition in subfields for money and recognition. Managers of academic programs must be aware of the time and resources necessary to support synthesis and cooperative efforts by faculty and students. Students must be presented with observable evidence that a core knowledge of science and work among disciplines “pays off” and that these must be added to, rather than replace, a specialty. Students will do this only in so far as their role models on the faculty are seen to pursue this course successfully and that will likely require retraining many faculty members.
Universities should develop joint programming in geographic regions to ensure a “critical mass” of faculty and mentoring expertise in fields where expertise might be dispersed among the universities.
There are a wide variety of subfields in forestry and natural resources, and few institutions can produce doctoral graduates in many subfields. Regional cooperation might be viewed as a way to expand capacity by pooling resources in important areas. The building of regional coalitions among universities for the purpose of graduate education could enhance the education of students and lead to cost-effective expansion of the capacity to develop forest and natural-resource scientists.
Universities, government, industry, and private groups should work toward innovative and creative partnerships to a much greater extent than in the past to ensure that the spectrum of forestry education, research, and development interests is covered ( Box 4–2). Each organization should play a unique role. The unique opportunities offered by each research entity should be better identified, and mechanisms for coordinating across institutional niches should be better developed. Furthermore, each institution, or consortium of institutions, should concentrate its research capital in specific (and perhaps limited) fields of forestry research where it operates best or has some recognized institutional advantage. One of the ways to increase cooperation is to bring federal, state, and private sector scientists into the academic fabric where needed to augment the expertise of university faculty in preparing future scientists. Collaboration of non-university scientists in the academic fabric could expand the critical mass of scientists and educators preparing future scientists.