Kirkpatrick assumes duties as CFWR associate dean
By Lynn Davis
Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 35 - July 16, 1998
A professor in the College of Forestry and Wildlife Resources since 1966, Roy L. Kirkpatrick has assumed new duties this summer as associate dean for undergraduate studies. Dave Smith is retiring from the post to return to full-time teaching in the forestry department.
"I want to continue Dave's efforts to help students succeed in getting the best education that Virginia Tech can offer," Kirkpatrick said. "Someone once said that `education is one thing many people are willing to pay for but don't care if they really get.' I believe we can help students avoid this trap by raising our expectations of them and providing various support services to help them meet these expectations."
Kirkpatrick believes that the new University Eligibility Policy (an early-intervention strategy for students in academic difficulty for a variety of reasons) and the accompanying academic-support systems are steps in this direction. "Elimination of the Freshman Rule (which allows students to eliminate six credit hours from their QCA but often doesn't serve the student well), or limiting it to very special circumstances, also would help," he said.
"Lax policies encourage students to develop poor study habits early and to obtain a substandard education," Kirkpatrick said. "We need to stretch students to their fullest capability. I've found that I've always learned the most when my abilities were stretched to the limit."
Kirkpatrick has twice received the college's Outstanding Teacher Award. His students will attest that he clearly outlines expectations at the beginning of a course and holds them accountable. "You don't hand in reports late," they said. "But you can count on him to be fair and evenhanded."
In his 32 years at Virginia Tech, Kirkpatrick, the T.H. Jones professor of fisheries and wildlife, has mentored 28 M.S. students and 10 Ph.D. students. He has written more than 140 research articles, including four book chapters.
In 1993 the Virginia Chapter of The Wildlife Society gave him the Outstanding Wildlife Professional in Virginia Award. During the last eight years he edited more than 60 Wildlife Monographs, a major publication of The Wildlife Society.
Kirkpatrick co-chaired the University Task Force that wrote the new University Academic Eligibility Standards that went into effect last fall. He has also served on numerous evaluation teams for the college, other universities, and research stations.