Welcome 8 New Faculty

Eight new faculty members have joined the Faculty of Forestry.

4 faculty members have joined the Department of Forest Resources Management, 2 have joined the Department of Wood Science, 1 has joined the Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, and we have a new joint appointment between the Departments of Forest Resources Management and Wood Science.

Welcome to …

Dr Julie Cool has joined the Department of Wood Science as an Assistant Professor in Wood Machining. Julie, a mechanial engineer, received her Masters and PhD in wood science from Université Laval in 2011. Since then, she has worked closely with the forest industry while at FPInnovations and also as a research and development consultant in the private sector. Julie’s research and teaching interests focus on wood machining and quality control (both in the primary and secondary manufacturing sectors) and how these affect the value chain. Through her research, she aims to quantify and control wood recovery, surface quality, and wood adhesion, as well as productivity by developing the knowledge on wood-knife interactions. Julie is teaching undergraduate classes in wood machining and sawmilling.


Dr Bianca Eskelson has joined the Department of Forest Resources Management as an Assistant Professor in Forest Biometrics. Bianca received forestry degrees (BS and MS) from the University of Göttingen, Germany. She completed an MS in statistics and a PhD in forest biometrics at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon, where she has worked as a research associate in the College of Forestry for the past 5 years. Bianca’s research focuses on the application and extension of statistical theory and methods to inventory, monitor and model forest resources and ecosystem services. She is excited about applying her research to forest management challenges in British Columbia by advancing her work on copula models and by quantifying natural disturbance effects. Her teaching interests lie in forest biometrics and modelling and the implementation of quantitative methods in statistical software packages. Bianca looks forward to contributing to the undergraduate and graduate-level forest biometrics curriculum at UBC.


Dr Verena Griess has joined the Department of Forest Resources Management as an Assistant Professor in Forest Management. Verena comes to us from Technische Universität München (TUM), Germany, where she has been a faculty member since 2012. Verena holds a PhD in forest management and economics, an MSc in forest and wood science and a degree in forest engineering from TUM. Her research and teaching interests focus on multifunctional forest management and the integration of multiple objectives into optimization software. Much of Verena´s work promotes the utilization of ecological effects with economic consequences, such as mixing tree species or close-to-nature-forestry. Verena is interested in the economic and social potential of tropical agroforestry as well as economics of commercial plantations using native tree species and has carried out research in Panama, Colombia, China, Russia and the EU. She is teaching in the forest resources management and wood products components of our undergraduate and graduate programs and involved in our growing research on forest management.

Verna Griess

Dr Shannon Hagerman has joined the Department of Forest Resources Management as an Assistant Professor in Social-Ecological Systems. Shannon received her PhD in Resource Management and Environmental Studies from the University of British Columbia (Institute for Resources Environment and Sustainability). She held a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Climate Impacts Groups at the University of Washington.

Shannon’s research focuses on human behavioral, institutional and policy elements of social-ecological systems (SES) in a rapidly changing world. Her research interests include: the role of environmental values in shaping perceptions of risk and preferences for conservation and natural resources management (eg assisted migration, novel ecosystems, and rewilding); the politics and production of knowledge at key zones of conservation engagement (eg the Convention on Biological Diversity); and the dynamics and drivers of resource use in regional SESs. Shannon’s work combines a range of social-science research methods including interviews, expert elicitation, collaborative event ethnography, document analysis and surveys.

Shannon will be teaching CONS 200: Foundations of Conservation, and Social Science Research Methods. She looks forward to developing a new graduate-level course on Social-Ecological Systems.

As an interdisciplinary trained scholar, Shannon is excited to work with colleagues and students across disciplines to address conservation and resource management issues from an integrated perspective.

Shannon Hagerman

Dr Rajat Panwar has joined the Faculty of Forestry as an Assistant Professor of Sustainable Business Management in a dual appointment between the departments of Wood Science and Forest Resources Management. Rajat comes to us from Northland College, Wisconsin, USA where he has been a faculty member in the areas of corporate social responsibility and business sustainability since 2008. Rajat received his PhD in wood science and engineering from Oregon State University and his MBA from the University of Lucknow in India. Rajat’s research examines adoption of sustainable practices from a strategy perspective in both established and new firms. His teaching interests include forest products business, entrepreneurship, and business sustainability. Rajat is excited about the opportunity to teach undergraduate forestry students at UBC and to train them as leading thinkers in the realm of business sustainability. He is looking forward to joining sustainability focused research groups in his home departments of Wood Science and Forest Resources Management.


Dr Scott Renneckar has joined the Department of Wood Science as an Associate Professor in Advanced Renewable Materials. Prior to joining us, Scott has been a faculty member in the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials at Virginia Tech since 2005. He obtained his degrees in wood science from Virginia Tech (BS, 1997 and PhD, 2004) and the University of California, Berkeley (MS, 1999). Scott’s research program focuses on creating advanced renewable materials through cutting-edge science that will catalyze a green economy. These sustainable products sourced from nature are stronger, lighter, and more energy efficient than their petroleum analogs. He uses materials such as high performance fibers, transparent films and coatings, and nanocomposites in applications for automobile, aerospace, building, and the emerging additive manufacturing industries. Scott will also teach a course on wood adhesives and coatings in our undergraduate program applying his combined expertise in wood science and polymer chemistry.


Dr Jeanine Rhemtulla has joined the Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences as an Assistant Professor in Landscape Ecology. Jeanine comes to us from the Department of Geography and School of Environment at McGill University, where she has been a faculty member since 2009. Jeanine received her PhD in landscape ecology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her Masters in forest ecology from the University of Alberta. Her interests focus on the long-term effects of human land-use on ecosystems, and on understanding how to manage landscapes to increase human well-being while maintaining ecosystem functioning, especially in tropical regions, where conservation and development goals frequently collide. Her work combines a broad range of methods, including ecological fieldwork, remote sensing, analysis of archival records and household surveys. She has field research sites in the lowland forests of the Peruvian Amazon, in the agroforested landscapes of Kerala, in southern India, and the mixed agricultural region of southern Quebec. Jeanine will provide a valuable asset to our Faculty’s research and teaching expertise in international forestry.


Dr Joleen Timko has taken on the role of Program Coordinator for the new course-based Master of International Forestry (MIF). Joleen is also as Lecturer in International Forestry and the Managing Director of the Africa Forests Research Initiative on Conservation and Development (AFRICAD). Joleen received her PhD from UBC Forestry and her Masters from UBC’s Resource Management and Environmental Studies program. Her research program on forests and livelihoods in developing countries (mainly in Sub Saharan Africa) focuses on the dynamic driving forces and leverage points that occur at the forest-livelihoods interface. She conducts applied, policy-relevant research that addresses poverty, sustainable livelihoods, human health, and conflict, while maintaining a consistent focus on cross-cutting themes such as gender, climate change, and tenure. Joleen regularly collaborates with Indigenous and tribal communities and band councils, and is presently working with First Nation in Canada’s north, and a dozen tribal and ethnic groups in Malawi, Ghana and Ethiopia. Along with teaching in the MIF, Joleen is teaching UBC Forestry’s first MOOC (massive open online course) through the edX platform in 2014. Joleen is also an editor of the peer-reviewed open-access journal Madagascar Conservation & Development.