Message from the Dean 2021 | UNB

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MESSAGE FROM THE DEAN

Dear Colleagues, Alumni, and Friends

The 2020-2021 academic year has come to an end, and we are already busy with plans for 2021-2022 here in the Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management. The COVID-19 pandemic made a difficult year for all of us, but I feel that we embraced the new realities of working and teaching in a different way. We are a resilient bunch and have had a successful year given the circumstances. Our students and faculty quickly pivoted to embrace a combination of alternative delivery classes and smaller face to face labs which often meant additional laboratory hours for our faculty members.

AFRC

The Atlantic Forest Research Collaborative (AFRC), who recently hired a new Science Writer – Kevin Danielle – have been providing many professional development opportunities and working to profile research done around UNB and throughout the Atlantic Provinces. Notably, some of the early blogs coming out include profiles of the 4th year 4020 capstone projects, and more e-lectures hosted by AFRC are planned for the summer, with a full schedule of talks in the fall.

Enrolment

In the 2020-21 academic year we had more than 275 undergraduate students, with an almost equal split between the BSc Forestry and Environment and Natural Resource programs, and more than 110 graduate students.
Our numbers are steadily increasing overall, and we are looking forward to help meet the current UNB Strategic Plan by expanding at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Student Engagement

The academic year saw all our 1st-year students learning remotely, with many never yet stepping foot on campus. We did have some in-person labs for upper year students with COVID restrictions in place, but students wanted and needed some level of interaction that was not a computer screen. We hired a 3rd-year BScEnvironment and Natural Resource student Hannah Haynes-MacDonald for Peer Support and Engagement and, over the period of 8 short weeks, she ran 5 contests via the ForEM Student Society Instagram page, mailed out postcards wishing student ssuccess on their exams from the Faculty, and then assembled, shipped, and even hand-delivered more than 130 care packages for students during the exam period.

Meskeyi Working Group

(Formerly ForEM Truth and Reconciliation Working Group)

The ForEM Truth and Reconciliation working group saw its name change to the Meskeyi Working Group (MWG), where meskeyi is a word found in both the Mi’kmaw and Wolastoqey languages that means ‘to make right’. The group has continued to be active over the past year and we had a group of faculty and staff participate together in Indigenous Cultural Diversity Training. In the coming months we will have a showpiece display area that will be focussed on Indigenous and non-indigenous art and culture located on the main staircase landing between the 2nd and 3rd floors in the Forestry and Geology building. A place where cultures come together and move forward. Stay tuned for images when that is complete.

FOREM Community Succession

Just like our ecosystems we undergo a process of change in people and structure, and the ForEM landscape will be forever changed as we say goodbye to Yolanda Spithoven (ForEM Student Coordinator) who is retiring after 22 years in our Faculty, and Dr. Ted Needham (Professor & Assistant Dean) who is retiring after 34 years since coming to UNB. At the sametime we will be welcoming new people to the team, so it is bittersweet to see familiar faces go while welcoming new energy into our system. Please feel free to take a moment and send Ted and or Yolanda best wishes on their retirement via social media of your choice.

Sincerely,

Dr. Michelle Gray

(Acting) Dean Faculty of Forestry an Environmental Management

June 2021