BLACKSBURG, Va., March 13, 2007 – Virginia Tech came out on top of a recently published study of forestry program research rankings by Auburn University. The peer reviewed academic study, which appeared in the Journal of Forestry, looked at the research impact of North American forestry programs.
“Virginia Tech's program, part of the College of Natural Resources, ranked second on the perceptions-based composite score and third on the citations- and publications-based index,” University Distinguished Professor and Department Head Harold Burkhart explained.
No other program in North America ranked in the top three on both composite scores. When all the scores are considered, Virginia Tech scored the highest.
Citations/publications in academic literature that reflected faculty scholarship was one of the two determining categories. The second category dealt with perceptions. In Virginia Tech’s case these objective findings were closely correlated with the outside world’s perception of the program.
“The data shows the depth and impact of our research and scholarship,” Burkhart said.
Components of the citations included total citations to the scholarly contributions of current faculty, citations per research faculty member, total number of publications in five top forestry journals, total number of pages, total number of publications per research faculty member, and total number of page per research faculty members from January 1997 to December 2001.
The results were compared against a ranking of the top forestry schools, based on a perceived research profile, as indicated by survey responses from deans and department heads.
The ranking report noted that such rankings serve various purposes, including being of interest to prospective graduate students and to postgraduate students seeking an academic career that emphasized research. Rankings also help employers of forestry students in the hiring process, assist users of research services and expert witness services, and benefit other professional consulting services.
In 2001 the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors cited the forestry program as “a University Exemplary Department” because of its outstanding teaching, Extension, and research. In a previous ranking of forestry programs in 1988, a University of Illinois study cited the Virginia Tech forestry department among the top five in the nation. All five were grouped together “among the top five.”
“All in all, our forestry programs stand tall due to consistent production of high-impact research results across a spectrum of topics that are crucial to the conservation, management, and utilization of forest resources,” said Burkhart.