Environment Sch. report shows gains

Just as businesses across the nation compose detailed performance reports at the end of the fiscal year, the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies completed its own annual trends report, tabulating progress in fund raising, grant awards, faculty demographics and other facets of the school’s daily operations.

The report, a survey of 20 indicators, states the environmental school raised $12 million through fund-raising efforts, $4 million less than last year’s total, but Dean Gus Speth said the decrease is not an indication of poor growth. Additionally, the trend data showed the school has become more diverse on both student and faculty levels. One-fifth of the school’s faculty are women, and five African-Americans are currently enrolled — more than the environmental school’s chief rival, the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and the Environment, school spokesman Dave DeFusco said.

Speth said he was pleased with the performance and achievements reflected in the report, but he said the 105-year-old school needs to continue growing and improving.

The environmental school’s success, both in the academic and financial sectors, has led the University to plan expand the school in coming years, University President Richard Levin said.

“That school has been doing terrific,” he said. “It’s been a steady improvement in all kinds of dimensions. There’s growing international involvement with students and faculty, and they’ve been able to work more financial aid thanks to the good fund raising that Dean Speth has done. We’re about to build a building for them that will be a state-of-the-art environmentally friendly building.”

The dip in fund raising is not a reason for concern, Speth said. He said the school has raised over $85 million in the past six years and has surpassed financial goals.

“As our trend document shows, our fund raising varies from year to year, but we will always be extremely pleased to raise $12 million a year,” he said.

DeFusco said the school’s financial success reflects the current state of expansion and modernization, including making the school more green and environmentally friendly. The school has attracted more funds over the past two years than the usual $7-8 million annual amount, he said.

The greater sums are the result of large donations supporting construction projects, scholarships and endowed faculty chairs, in addition to average fund raising.

Finances aside, the report offers a statistical analysis of progress the school has made in various arenas, such as the number of women on the faculty and in “ladder,” or tenure-track, positions. Women comprise about 20 percent of the teaching faculty, as was the case last year. This is almost a twofold increase from 1999, when only 13 percent of the professors were women.

“During Dean Speth’s tenure, Michelle Bell, assistant professor of environmental health; Marian Chertow, assistant professor of industrial environmental management; and Lisa Curran, associate professor of tropical resources, have joined the ladder, or tenure-track, faculty,” DeFusco said. “In addition, six of the 15 non-ladder faculty appointments are women.”

DeFusco also said Angela Cropper of Trinidad, who studies conservation, will be the school’s incoming international fellow.

Comments