CORVALLIS - The Department of Forest Products at Oregon State University has changed its name to the Department of Wood Science and Engineering, a reflection of its increasing focus on science, engineering, business and technology.

The change, which was effective last Jan. 1, will also affect the names of the degrees offered in this field.

"The new name is a more contemporary descriptor of the activities of faculty and students in our department," said Tom McLain, professor and head of the department. "Our 20 departmental faculty educate students and professionals, conduct applied and fundamental research, and disseminate objective, timely information. We're trying to help society meet a growing demand for wood-based products in an environmentally sound and sustainable manner that benefits Oregon and the world."

According to McLain, the department now offers the bachelor of science degree in wood science and technology with six technical or business-related options. Graduate degrees will also now receive a master's or doctoral degree in wood science, and that change should facilitate graduate students more easily pursuing dual degrees with another science or engineering field.

Graduates with these degrees are in high demand in the private sector, McLain said, as the forest products industry has increased productivity and responded to market changes through the use of technology, new product development and enhanced marketing strategies.

"Contrary to public perception, the forest products and allied industries are seeking more, well- educated graduates as the industry has adapted to the changes of the past decade," McLain said. "The demand currently outstrips the supply. The more descriptive and informative degree title and added new options should help students better target these new career opportunities."

The undergraduate degree program in this department is accredited by the Society of Wood Science and Technology.

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Tom McLain, 541-737-4257