MONTICELLO — The University of Arkansas at Monticello is merging its academic programs in agriculture, forestry and natural resources.
The School of Forestry and Natural Resources and the School of Agriculture will now be the College of Forestry, Agriculture and Natural Resources. The merger was formally approved recently by the UA System Board of Trustees.
Philip Tappe, who will serve as dean of the newly-formed college, said the decision to merge will “strengthen both programs and allow us to share resources that will increase opportunities in agriculture, forestry and natural resources to best benefit our students.”
According to Tappe, there will be no significant curriculum changes in the short term and no faculty positions will be lost.
“Long term, we’ll be looking for ways to leverage our combined resources,” Tappe said. “There are many shared interests among the agriculture, forestry, and other natural resources disciplines, and this merger opens up new, exciting opportunities for enhancing student learning experiences.”
UAM Chancellor Karla Hughes called the merger a “significant step in bringing similar disciplines under one umbrella, which I believe will have a positive impact on our students. Our programs in agriculture and forestry have established reputations for excellence and by bringing them together we are strengthening both.”
UAM’s programs in forestry and agriculture have close ties to the UA System’s Division of Agriculture. With the merger, the Division of Agriculture will maintain its agriculture extension component in Monticello but agriculture research will be led by UAM faculty and administered through the university.
According to Tappe, UAM will continue to maintain a beef cattle herd for research and teaching in the animal science program. Forestry and natural resource management research will continue to be conducted through the Arkansas Forest Resources Center, a UA System Center of Excellence administered through the Division of Agriculture.
Agriculture faculty will move to the Chamberlin Forest Resources Complex along with many of the agriculture classes, according to Tappe.
“This will provide access to more resources and support staff than they had as a stand-alone unit,” he said. “Additionally, consolidating faculty, staff and students will facilitate increased collaboration among faculty and enhance student diversity and interactions. The College of Forestry, Agriculture and Natural Resources will continue to utilize the agriculture building for some classes and laboratories. Moving forward, we will be exploring the potential for renovation and space use in the agriculture building to provide additional capacity for teaching and research. I’m excited about the future direction of these programs. In the end, our students are the winners.”
— Jim Brewer is director of media services at UAM.