Educational Needs of The Canadian Solid Wood Products Industry


  • David H. Cohen
  • Tom Maness


Education, teaching, wood processing, training


To address problems in wood science educational programs, the Department of Wood Science at the University of British Columbia initiated a needs analysis of the Canadian wood industry. This analysis was conducted using a national mail survey as well as more qualitative focus groups. Results indicate that the current content of a university-based wood products educational program requires a shift in emphasis. A need for analytical and managerial skills was indicated as well as additional emphasis on mechanical processing. While basic wood science should remain strong, a deemphasis was needed to provide the time required for program content expansion. The length of an undergraduate program should be expanded to incorporate an additional year of industry placement as part of the educational process. In addition, a professional master's program should be available to train graduates with non-wood science degrees to bridge into wood product careers. By starting with a blank piece of paper and addressing one (out of many) key groups who hire our graduates, a recognition of the changing needs of the wood products sector is emerging. This is the first step in a process to address many of the previously expressed critical concerns regarding declining enrollments and interest in wood science educational programs.


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