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FOR 692 Capstone in Natural Resources Management

Ruth Yanai,  210 Marshall,  x6955,  rdyanai@syr.edu    http://www.esf.edu/faculty/yanai/

 

CLASS NOTES Spring 2010

 

Date

Class

Assignments Due

Jan. 20

Course Planning

 

Jan. 25

10-minute Background Presentations

Feedback for presenters

Jan. 27

Project Development

10 project ideas

Feb. 1

10-minute Background Presentations

Feedback for presenters

Feb. 3

Time accounting, networking

Your spreadsheets

Feb. 8

First Drafts of Selected Proposals

Written proposals

Feb. 10

Reflective Listening

(Conflict Resolution Center)

 

Feb. 15

How to write proposals

Examples of proposals

Feb. 17

First draft of remaining proposals

Written proposals

Feb. 22

Resume and Interview (John Turbeville)

Your resume

Feb. 24

Course Planning and Improvement

Anonymous feedback

Mar. 1

Planning Proposal Review 

 

Mar. 3

Proposals: Lisa G, Allison, Justin

Proposals or reviews

Mar. 8

Proposals: Carrie, Eric, Dan

Proposals or reviews

Mar. 10

Proposals: Lisa P, Ryan, Tyler

Proposals or reviews

 

Mar 15-19 (spring break)

 

Mar. 22

Proposals: Samantha, Steve

Proposals or reviews

Mar. 24

Research Skills: Information seeking

Three questions

Mar. 29

Eric, Ryan, Steve

Progress Reports

Mar. 31

Justin, Dan, Tyler

Progress Reports

Apr. 5

Allison, Samantha

Progress Reports

Apr. 7

Conflict Resolution Center

Interest-based problems

Apr. 12

Project Updates and Specs for Final Reports

 

Apr. 14

No class, gain time for projects

 

Apr. 19

No class, gain time for projects

 

Apr. 21

Final presentations: Justin, Steve, Carrie

Feedback for presenters

Apr. 26

Final presentations: Lisa G, Alison, Eric

Feedback for presenters

Apr. 28

Final presentations: Tyler, Lisa P, Dan

Feedback for presenters

May 3

Final presentations: Samantha, Ryan

Feedback for presenters

May 6

Project Reports due

Final Reports

 

 

Weds Jan 20

Introductions

Matt Kelly:  First semester, undergrad at NYU in music and business.  Volunteer in the Catskills, fire tower restoration and interpretation.  Here for watershed management, NYC Watershed. 

Ryan Wynne:  Third semester MPS, undergrad at ESF in wildlife science.  Recreation and natural resource management, silviculture.  Last semester he started marking a shelterwood treatment at Heiberg Forest.  Still interested in wildlife and recreation.

Dan Connors:  Second semester MPS.  Undergrad in business management, Canisius College.  Worked in the Adirondacks for a retreat center, Onondaga Lake Park, Zoo, Baltimore Woods.  Recreation management interests.

Lisa Piering:  Second semester MPS, FNRM.  Undergrad in theatrical production and costume design.  Business minor, did event planning.  Interest in environmental consulting, implementing sustainable practices. 

Justin Holgerson:  First semester MPS.  Undergrad in biology at Genesseo.  Worked as a field biologist for BLM, NPS, and USFS, fire ecology, forest inventory, sea turtles.  Interested in forest ecology, restoration, and preservation.  Project: failure of sugar maple regeneration in the western Adirondacks, which could turn into a masters thesis project.

Steve Currie:  Undergraduate at ESF, soils experience, willow project.  After graduating, Harvard Forest, lab experience, wastewater treatment, ICP, soils consultant for the last six years, especially in wetland and hydrogeo cases.  Wetlands and restoration are current interests.  Nutrient cycling.  All things soils.  Project ideas include analyzing soil boring logs in a GIS, to make use of previous data when going to a new site.

Carrie Oberholtzer:  Fourth semester MPS.  Undergrad in biology in PA, worked summer with PA State Parks, natural resources.  Interested in policy and management plans.  TA for Economics.  Project ideas include mapping invasive species in state parks and planning for control.  Developing a data dictionary for plant id. 

Allison Bodine:  Second semester MPS.  Undergrad in geography and urban planning at Buffalo.  Interested in natural resource management, combined with her social science background.  Project possibilities include working with Dave Nowak, urban forestry: tree cover and human health.

Eric Jones:  Third semester MPS, natural resources, renewable energy systems.  Background in chemistry and business (and one year of medical school).  Worked in the lab for Pioneer Hybrid, interested in energy work.  Biofuels and energy policy.  Project ideas could include working on the willow project for Tim Volk.  Energy audits.

Tyler Talucci:  Third semester MPS.  Undergrad from Oswego in public justice and forensic chemistry. Worked in invasive plant removal at Skaneateles Lake.  Doing something with that company, Aquatic Invasives, is a possible source of projects.  Interests in invasive plants and watershed management.

 

Lisa G:  Recreation Resource Management, background in Env Studies and Anthropology at Middlebury, Nature Conservancy and GIS experience.  Interests in GIS applications for environmental conservation and land use planning, including recreation.

Samantha:  Ecological systems.  Undergrad degree in languages, technical writing, international publishing, works in international relations program at Maxwell.  Intersection between social sytems and environmental behaviors.  She advises students on professional development. 

Skill sessions

Tyler: Conflict resolution is important, in many relationships, including employer-employee.

Eric: Research skills.  We did a lot of course work, but we don’t have as much experience as MS students in doing research.

Allison: Writing is important.  Writing for different audiences requires different kinds of writing. 

Carrie:  The undergrads are creative not effective in communication.  They also lack training in writing mechanics.

Steve: Presentation skills are important no matter what you do.  The elevator conversation and longer ones.  I’d be lucky to catch my boss for 5 minutes.

Justin:  Writing project proposals. 

Lisa:  Research skills would be good.  Mediation and conflict resolution.  Professional communication relates to writing.  Talking to people from any background, including those who might disagree.

Steve: Presentations have to be tailored to the audience.  Non-technical as well as technical audiences are important.

Dan: Research skills.

Ryan: Writing proposals is often mentioned on job applications.  And communication.

Matt:  Research skills.  Project proposals.  Proposal evaluation.

 

Each person casts 5 votes:

Technical writing, writing for different audiences, email communications.  9 

--we can use peer review for feedback for improvement, using our proposals.

--we can look at technical aspects using your examples.

--we need a way to address the need to write for different audiences.

Resumes.  Job applications, cover letters (writing skills). 8

--Ryan could ask John Turbeville.  There may also be people in the library.

Interview skills (relates to oral presentation skills, 1-minute answers), networking. 7

--Lisa will ask Bob Malmsheimer, if he is famous for this.

Negotiation skills, conflict resolution.  6

--Carrie will follow up with the Conflict Management Center <e-cmc@maxwell.syr.edu>

How to write a proposal.  5

--We’ll do this in class, with peer review for improvement.

Research skills: how to find information in databases and other sources.  5

--What will we use after we graduate?

--Proper citation of sources, including photographs, internet sources

--Go to the library and sign up for a free 1-hour session?

Spreadsheet skills, graphing, modeling.  3

Reading scientific literature:  Critical analysis, information gathering.  2

Oral presentation, powerpoint presentations and other visual aids.  1

How to find opportunities for funding support (then you write the proposal).  0

Time Tracking

Steve, Tyler, and Lisa will propose a system for us to track the time you spend in various categories for this class.  Three hours out of class for every credit of contact time would be 9 hours/week for 14 weeks or 126 hours for the semester.  This will be spent primarily in developing and executing your projects, but you may have more than one project, you may assist on other projects, and you can report how many hours your project used from other people in the class.  You will also work on tasks that can’t be billed to a project, like organizing skill sessions (or devising our time tracking system).  These should be billed to “overhead” (unless Steve, Tyler, and Lisa tell us otherwise).

Monday, Jan 25

We will have brief presentations from 5 students:  Justin, Steve, Carrie, Ryan, and Allison.  I said 10 minutes each.  If you prepare only 5 minutes, that would be fine.  We will want to ask you questions afterwards.

What did we learn about presentation styles?

Everyone seemed comfortable, in spite of the technological difficulties.

How much information to fit into five minutes?  At best, you can adjust the timing as you go.

Graphics were effective. 

Backgrounds were consistent across slides.  Transitions were clean (no distracting animation types).

Allison had animations coming up on a map background, we thought that was cool. 

Text over a picture is nice for an introduction.

Nobody put too much text on their powerpoint slides.

Practice your talk or review the slides so you know what’s coming up (you won’t see the animation unless you run through the show).

Speaking styles were more comfortable in the question and answer session.

 

More advice came out in the feedback forms:

Watch the "ums"

Make eye contact all around the room

Be conscious of what you're doing with your hands

Smile!

Slow down

Speak more loudly

Use more variation in your tone of voice

Don't read from a notebook

Don't read text slides to us

Skill Sessions:

  1. Impromptu speaking:  Lisa reported that Bob Malmsheimer says he is not the guy for impromptu speaking (but we have insider information: Ryan took a class with him where he covered this) .  When Gary Lim taught Green Entrepreneurship, he included a session on the elevator pitch.  Ryan will follow up with him.

  2. Resume:  There’s a session Thursday Feb 4 at 5 p.m.  We would rather have our own session if we can get our own.  Samantha will check at Maxwell CAS, and Ryan is waiting to hear back from John Turbeville.  Ask for Feb 3.

  3. Carrie is going to schedule Reflective Listening for Feb 10.  Indicate that we might be interested in an additional class on Feb 22.

  4. On Monday, Feb 1, 9-10:30 a.m. in 437 Baker, there is a RefWorks session for my other class that you are all welcome to attend.  

Linda Galloway is offering to schedule another session on database searching for us, based on your availability, which she would then make open to other grad students as well.  You can go to the doodle she set up and indicate your availability.  Actually, Monday Feb 22 is almost at our class meeting time, and it's scheduled for a skills session!  But this wasn't one of your top choices.  Let's talk about it--you shouldn't tell the doodle that you're free during our class time unless we're all going to go.  

 

Bibliographic database searches, searching for other sources of information, and what resources are available after graduation?

Wednesday, Jan 27

Bring 2 copies of your 10 project ideas.  I’m guessing that you could fit them all on one page.  But if you want to write enough to help us evaluate scope, feasibility, and why they are interesting to you, feel free to write at greater length. 

Inventory of issues

Ryan:  What if some of these require funding? 

A project could be to develop proposals for funding.

Carrie:  Resources required.  Developing client relationships.

Alison:  Individual tasks would not take the whole semester.  How to know how many to try to combine?

Tyler:  The things I’m interested in are hard to do in winter.

Lisa:  Too many interests, how not to overcommit.

Justin:  Technically challenging project.

Eric:  No issues!  Interested in cooperating with people in other seminars.  How to evaluate assumptions?

Steve:  These ideas would require funding; also the timeline is short. 

Lisa:  Bridging between her background and where she wants to go.

Dan:  Determining the scope of the projects.

Samantha:  Need to get more specific.

Time management and time accounting

Proposal from Steve, Lisa, and Tyler.

First column is the date.  Columns are for activities, such as:

  1. Preparing for class

  2. Project development,

  3. Project implementation (people will have different categories)

  4. “Housekeeping” or “overhead,” helping with class organization

Before you start, estimate how long these activities will take, then report the actual time.

Monday, Feb 1

We will have brief background presentations from 6 students: Eric, Tyler, Dan, Samantha, Lisa, and Lisa.  

Wednesday, Feb 3

Time accounting

We looked at your spreadsheets (the 7 that came in electronically in time for me to get them).  Most had time going down the rows and categories in columns.  Some had provision for tracking predicted and actual time expended.  I don’t think we need uniform formatting, but I will request that all of them have at least those qualities.

When you make your proposals, you will need to estimate the time required for each of your tasks.  Make your spreadsheet reflect the categories you will need to do that.  A good thought experiment is this:  What will you need to know, half way through the time you have available, to see if you are on track for on-time completion?  (Of course, you will be checking this earlier than half-way through, right?)

We discussed the time resolution of your reporting, because some people had daily and some had weekly entries.  Daily is the time scale that you want to be using to record your activities--you don’t want to wait for the end of the week.  But when you describe your activities in your final report, you will show only the sums.  Your boss would want to know how you are spending all your hours, but your client (the audience for your final report) is only interested in the hours you spent on your project.

People also had different minimum time increments:

Steve used 0.25 hours (15 minutes). 

Tyler’s company used 15 minutes. 

Samantha used 10 minutes.

Let’s use units of hours.  You can use fractional hours (whole hours would be too coarse). 

Time reporting will be due every Wednesday by class time, by email to me. 

Networking Guide handout basics:

1) Talk to EVERYBODY about your interests

2) Research organizations and projects/programs before contacting them

3) When contacting someone for the first time, always tell them first where, or from whom, you got their contact info

4) Always go in to a meeting or discussion with an objective and list of prioritized questions

5) Business cards - get some!!

6) After first contact, try to move from e-mail to a phone call or in-person meeting. If discussing a project, follow-up phone calls with e-mail of details/logistics agreed upon

7) Ask questions - ask people about themselves as most people love to talk about themselves

8) Thank you notes are important and leave a good impression

Additional Comments/Questions:

Ryan - join professional organizations and attend conferences, most offer student rates

Lisa - Andrea Nuremberger (?) - remember networking is about developing/forming relationships

Allison - how do you keep professional correspondence from sounding stiff?

Lisa: write out what you want to say in your own voice and then re-read and edit

Ryan - don't apply to jobs you wouldn't actually want to do

Steve - sometimes can be uncomfortable to approach people you don't know

Ryan: ask them questions about themselves

Monday, Feb 8

We reviewed first drafts of proposals from 5 students, learning from their varied formats, even if we weren’t able to provide expert review of their specialist content.

Lisa G.

She is friendly with her clients, which affects her form of address.  The cover letter is an email, and the rest will be attached as a proposal.

The budget of hours is hard to predict—it looked convincing to us!

We liked the “benefits to me.”  We care about this in the class, but the client needs to know the benefit to them.

Identifying potential problems is important.  Think about including potential solutions to go with them.

Put your contact information on the proposal and on the cover letter.

Lisa used the first person active voice, we can look at other examples and compare them.

The deliverables were very specific. 

It’s hard to write a good problem statement for a project that’s not yet clearly defined.

Alison

Details in the “deliverables” helps make sure you’re in agreement with your client.

Regional scope: Northeastern US.  This would influence where you should try to get data from.

Eric has experience with these types of analyses: it’s important to decide how far back to go when looking at energy costs (boundaries).

Eric

Include contact information for the client.  Clearly indicate who the client is.

Eric says Mike doesn’t care about the proposal, but we think he should make him read it.

We think it’s fine to single-space these for future reviews.

We appreciated the background in the introduction.

Samantha says you might find manufacturers’ specs on the internet.

Eric’s case is tricky because the application is for biogas, not natural gas.

Possible problems:  getting the data, normalizing weather data, making assumptions. 

Getting the discount rate is hard.  Kelleher has done it before.

Justin

Potential problem?  Size of the data set.  It takes a long time to deal with it.

The new Excel is better than the old Excel (he got some free consulting from his brother).

See Lisa P. about a pressure point for headaches.  What about carpel tunnel?

You could move the background material on FIA into the methods section, after the objectives.  You want your problem statements and objectives to be up front.

Steve

We’d like to see your plans for your other project, too.

Embedding the CV in the proposal is unusual, but attaching it could be good.  Many proposals require an accompanying CV.

 

Next time:  Electronic proposals will be sent by 8 am Tuesday for review Weds afternoon.

For 1 point per week, send your time sheets by class on Weds.

You might want your reporting week to end on Tuesdays.

Wednesday, Feb 10

Reflective Listening Workshop

Monday, Feb 12

How to write a proposal (Notes from last year’s class)

The proposal should be addressed to the client.  You need to include your contact information and the contact information for the client.

Some of you may want to separate the cover letter from the proposal.

 

Title

Abstract or Executive Summary (one paragraph)  Is this important for a short proposal?

(A cover letter may include a brief summary, obviating the need for a summary in the proposal)

Problem statement (Background to justify the activity)

Goal, Objectives (Targets) (What are you trying to accomplish)

Methodology, Activities (What are you going to do), including assumptions if necessary.

Risks:  What could go wrong and what will you do about it. (maybe not to be shared with the client)

Estimate time needed for the different tasks.

Outputs, deliverables, services  (Svetlana included an outline of the final report)

Desired outcomes: How the client would use the outputs. 

Performance indicators (how will you know if you are successful)

Benefits to you (not to be shared with the client)

 

Here are some links to web sites describing all different kinds of proposals:

How to write proposals for non-profits and other organizations:  http://foundationcenter.org/getstarted/tutorials/shortcourse/info.html

 

How to write a business proposal (they want to sell you their books and services): http://www.captureplanning.com/!hc_how_to_write_a_proposal.cfm?

 

How to write a proposal (systems development?): 

http://www.evolt.org/article/How_to_write_a_proposal/20/271/index.html  (this explains "assumptions" if the request for proposals was not clear or if your ability to deliver depends on something provided by the client)

 

Generic proposal template:  http://fox.wikis.com/wc.dll?Wiki~GenericProposalTemplate~SoftwareEng

 

NSF's guidelines (I use these all the time; you won't): 

http://www.nyu.edu/osp/proposals/printgpg.php

 

Proposal checklist:

http://www.mcmaster.ca/ors/guide/successful_proposal.htm

 

How to write a proposal for a research paper:  http://www.ehow.com/how_2002069_write-research-proposal.html

Monday Feb 15:  What makes a good proposal?

We looked at examples of proposals, but most were research proposals.  If you want to see more relevant examples, ask your clients, ask your advisors, or search on the internet.  Next year I’ll make it a requirement that students each bring an example of a relevant proposal.

 

Notes from our discussion

You may be required to provide certain sections.  Follow instructions in the RFP (Request for Proposals).  Some may be very specific.  Formats differ.

 

Cover sheet:  include “Prepared by” and “prepared for”

For a long proposal, include a table of contents.

Project Summary: important for long proposals or for readers who will read only one page.

Background information: Set the stage, what do we already know?

Rationale and Significance: Why do it?  Benefits to the client, what about benefits to you?

Objectives.  Get to these early on.   Should relate to your deliverables.

For experimental research, you may have hypotheses and alternative hypotheses.

Methods or Planned Activities.  For some people, this was an outline of the final report.

Potential shortcomings of data and amelioration plans.

Broader Impacts (this is an NSF term, distinct from Intellectual Merit)—probably relates to your problem statement.  How about Impacts?

Expected Products or Deliverables.

Schedule of tasks.

Plan for dissemination of results.

References cited.

Budget:  We won’t have equipment, supplies, salary, travel.  You may need to request support, if not monetary.  A boat, a GPS, mileage reimbursement.  Does ESF provide funding for community service or for costs incurred in class projects?  What about software?  There is equipment available for you to use.

Budget Justification.

You might attach appendices.

In this group, we don’t have uniform requirements for length.  Many proposals have page limits. 

Wednesday, February 17

Assignment of Reviewers

Everyone is a Secondary Reviewer for 1 proposal, and the people who didn’t author a proposal this round were assigned as Primary Reviewers.  It came out even as long as I counted myself as a reviewer.  So each proposal will have been read by three people.  And those of us who didn’t just send out a proposal will read two; those hard-working folks will read one.

 

Primary reviewers should be prepared to lead the discussion for their assigned proposal.  In real review panels, we have to write a review in advance, but I won’t ask you to do that. 

 

Author: topic: Primary Reviewer, Secondary Reviewer, Secondary Reviewer

Tyler: aquatic invasives, map of dive sites:  Steve, Carrie, Justin

Carrie: Green Lakes State Park, rain garden, mapping:  Lisa G, Dan, Allison

Lisa P:  policy analysis: Eric, Ruth, Samantha

Samantha:  information flows, knowledge transfer:  Ruth, Lisa P, Tyler

Dan: visitor use, Baltimore Woods, Interpretation: Justin, Steve, Ryan

Ryan:  GIS mapping of NYS campsites: Allison, Eric, Lisa G

How to evaluate projects

1.  Content area:  This project should be an opportunity to apply knowledge skills you have developed up to this point, and it should challenge you to develop some new ones.  The skills should be transferable to other projects.  They should advance your professional development.

2.  Real need:  There must be a client (individual or organization) who will use your results.  You will develop your proposals in consultation with your clients and deliver your final reports (oral and written) to these clients, as well as to the class.  

3.  Problem solving and critical thinking:  Your solution must be novel, if only in that it applies to a specific case that has not been solved before.  Simply delivering a program that was already developed by someone else would not meet this criterion.  The best projects will be multi-dimensional and challenge you on several levels.

4.  Scope:  The project should be challenging but also feasible with the resources available to you.  

Client?

Risks?

How to evaluate proposals

Cover Page, Title, Contact Information

Problem Statement (Importance)

Objectives

Methods or Planned Activities

Expected Outputs

Organization

Clarity of writing

Monday, February 22

Resume and Interview Skills (John Turbeville)

Wednesday, February 24

Course Planning and Improvement

If you type your answers to the following questions and print them out, then we can pass them around in class and your feedback will be read anonymously by another student.  You can write them by hand as long as we can read your handwriting.

 

1.  Below is a list of the topics and activities in the course so far.  Please indicate which you found especially useful, which least useful.  Give specific suggestions for improvement if you have any.

 

A.  Background

Jan. 20           Course Planning

Jan. 25           10-minute Background Presentations

Feb. 1             10-minute Background Presentations

 

Suggestions for next year:

Course planning could be more structured. 

Students could be notified in advance to prepare the background presentations, and these could start with the first class meeting.

 

Background presentations: could be less formal

Yes, helpful (7). 

No, introductions going around the room would be sufficient.

Presentations:  Feedback forms were helpful (7)

It would make more sense to give more formal feedback on a more formal presentation.  We could use a more formal presentation of our resumes.

An advantage of these presentations is that we were really comfortable with the material.

 

Any more practice before final presentations?

 

B.  Skill sessions:

Feb. 3             Time accounting, networking

3 helpfuls,

less time,

see below

 

Feb. 10           Reflective Listening (Conflict Resolution Center)

6 helpfuls, 2 not

 

Feb. 22           Resume and Interview (John Turbeville)

7 helpfuls, do it again (2)

 

More skill sessions! (2)

 

Preplan them.

 

C.  Project-related sessions:

Jan. 20           Course Planning

Jan. 27           Project Development (10 project ideas)

Feb. 8             First Drafts of Selected Proposals (read in class)

Feb. 17           First draft of remaining proposals (in advance, with reviewers)

 

Some people needed more time for development than others.  Scheduling presentations should reflect this.  Final proposal due dates could be quite diverse.

 

Need earlier sessions on writing proposals.

Require everyone to find examples of relevant proposals. 

We could have two rough drafts before the final draft.  Okay!

 

Reading proposals before class was better.

Everyone should read every proposal.

We could have written reviews from primary and secondary reviewers.

We will take comments from anyone offering them.

Let’s do this:  Each proposal gets comments back from 1 primary reviewer and from me. 
Tabled:  Could we use a formal template for the reviews?

 

2.  Here is the calendar of remaining sessions.

 

Schedule individual sessions with Ruth

Days off from class to gain project time.

More skill sessions:

7 library (good, we already have this scheduled)

6  conflict management (okay, we’ll request it)

3  writing (cancelled)

2  impromptu speaking (never mind)

0  elevator talk: 30-second message (never mind)

 

Mar. 1             Proposal review process 

Mar. 3             Proposals:  Eric, Lisa G, Allison (draft), Justin

Mar. 8             Draft proposals:  Carrie, Samantha, Dan

Mar. 10           Lisa P, Ryan, Tyler unless he wants to go sooner.

Mar 15-19 (spring break)

Mar. 22           Project Planning

Mar. 24           Research Skills: Information seeking

Mar. 29           Design for final presentations and reports

Mar. 31           Progress Reports

Apr. 5              Progress Reports

Apr. 7              Confict Resolution session

Apr. 12          

Apr. 14           Last-chance tune-ups

Apr. 19           Final presentations

Apr. 21           Final presentations

Apr. 26           Final presentations

Apr. 28           Final presentations

May 3              Final presentations

TBA                Project Reports due

Passing on suggestions for next year, clients especially.

 

3.  Food

Shall we continue with food?  Do you have suggestions for improvement? 

No more food (2)

Yes (4)

Yes, need to know dietary restrictions

Nice but not necessary

Should be optional (2)

We discussed whether we should skip the days with outside presenters.

Lisa will continue to coordinate food contributions with a secret list—no pressure!

 

4.  Time Sheets

Suggestions for next year:

Some say it would be easier to use a pre-designed form.

Some say they don’t need to be uniform.

Clearly, if I have reporting needs, I can specify them.

There needs to be a provision for adding categories as you realize you need them.

For this year, people want to stick with what they have.

For next year, it could be helpful to provide examples from our formats.

 

5.  Other

more structure

time requirement is not necessary, just judge suitability at the start

preplan the course

open days to work on projects

 

(3) panel discussions with alumni or professors to talk about job opportunities, industry demands, govt hiring

 

We could be reading papers relevant to people’s projects and discussing them in seminar format.

 

Too many things need to happen at the start.  We can’t delay getting started on projects, but introductions and background seminars would be most useful before we review project ideas. 

 

It would be great to have a one-credit class preceding this class, which could then be a two-credit class focusing on the proposals.  The problem is that we want people to be able to start the program in either semester and finish in as little as two semester and we can’t afford to offer it every semester.  So making it two semesters would cause some people to have to stay an extra semester.

Monday, March 1

Review Process

Everyone should read every proposal before class.  Anyone can give written comments on any proposal.

Each proposal will get a written review from 1 primary reviewer and from Ruth, using a simplified Proposal Review form.

We will write these reviews in advance of the discussion. 

We didn’t say what role the author has in the discussion—who presents the proposal, the lead reviewer or the author??

Proposal Evaluation Criteria

Ruth will revise the Proposal Review form by Tuesday at noon and we’ll test that version on Wednesday.

Project Presentation Formats

We expect PowerPoint presentations.  What other formats would be suited to your projects?  We think PowerPoint will work.  We will schedule three presentations per class session.  So plan on 10-15 minutes for your presentation, 5-10 for discussion and completing our notes.

Presentation Evaluation Form

We liked the “Speaker Evaluation Sheet.”  We will all fill out this 2-page form.  We will allow time for discussion of the content of the presentation, and we will allow time for comments on the presentation style to be written on the forms.  Written comments will be returned to the speakers at the next class session.

Final Report Evaluation

We aren’t completely satisfied with the Evaluation form that was used last year.  We think evaluation should more heavily weight the products.

A version of the Proposal Review form might work.  Ruth will work on this.

Wednesday, March 3  Proposals

Proposals by the following authors (followed by primary reviewers)

Lisa G (Tyler), Allison (Carrie), Justin (Dan)

Please send your proposals by Tuesday at noon (Sorry, Samantha, but we know you’re not at work!)

Topics we discussed

Review Form:  Include Date, Capitalize Title

References Cited:  Some don’t have it, so I reduced the point total.  Next year, we’ll start the semester with literature review.

Timeline, or sequence, or priorities?

From the point of view of the client, times of delivery are more important that they amount of time you spend on each task.  Schedule a progress report!

What do we do if the project changes?  What if it changes even before you finish writing the proposal?

You can propose to do the parts you feel confident of, and list the others as future possibilities.

List vs. Narrative (outcomes, objectives)

Jargon:  “tax parcel” for property—it took us a while to realize that this is the data source for property boundaries.  It sounds normal to Lisa, but some of us stumbled on it.

Whether to share the time estimates with the client:  Lisa knows that her clients underestimate time requirements and she doesn’t want them to overload her.  You can share dates without sharing hours if you want to.

Monday, March 8

Eric (Ryan), Carrie (Lisa P), Dan (Samantha)

Please distribute your proposals on Friday

Topics we discussed

Products, expected outcomes

Some methods sections look expected outcomes.  Detail is good.
Titles:  Make them not too lengthy, but informative.  Indicate scope.

Be specific with the date on your proposal.  You might have more than one draft in a month.

Indicate your “position” at ESF:  MPS candidate

Wednesday, March 10

Lisa P (Eric), Ryan (Steve), and Tyler (Justin)

Please distribute your proposals on Monday.

Topics we discussed

How to introduce both the big-picture problem and the smaller problem you’ll solve for your client

Subheadings in your Introduction (not to include “Summary”)

Better to separate Objectives and Methods.  In fact, Objectives is often the last part of the Introduction.

There is often a need for review with your client (or other expert consultants) as you continue to develop the details of your implementation plan.

Spring Break

Monday March 22: Progress Reports (in class)

Proposals from Samantha (Allison), Steve (Lisa G.)

Please distribute your proposals on Friday.

Project updates and meetings

Tyler:  It’s not easy to communicate with my client.  Later is better.

Carrie:  It’s going well, I’ve been asked to get paper.  Soon is good.  This week.

Lisa P:  She has a game plan, soon is good.  This week.

Steve wants to send out his proposal a.s.a.p.  This week.

Eric:  Things are going well, I may need to narrow down the scope.  Whenever.

Allison:  Things are going well.  Later is probably better.

Lisa G:  She’s already out of time and will be running over.  Later is probably better.

Justin:  It’s going well, I finished what we were aiming for and we’re looking at future directions.  I need help with how to make maps.  After next Tuesday.

Samantha:  Much later.

Dan:  Next Wednesday.  Survey is designed and I’m going to start implementing. 

Ryan:  No problems.  Campgrounds are going well.  The education project needs development.  Whenever.

 

Mar 23:  Carrie: 2 pm  (my office)

Mar. 24:  Lisa P:  12 pm (my office)

Mar. 29:  Eric 2:15, Ryan 2:45, Steve 3:15  (324 Bray)

Mar. 31: Justin 2:15, Dan 2:45, Tyler 3:15  (324 Bray)

Apr. 5:  Lisa G. 2:15, Allison 2:45, Samantha 3:15 (324 Bray)

Wednesday, March 24

Linda Galloway gave a session on Information Seeking.  She had handouts on open sources and on how to use RefWorks.  I had to leave; I hope the rest was useful!

April 7, Conflict Resolution

Martha Ketcham wrote:

For our session on April 7, we will talk about positions and interests.  Often in a conflict people get “stuck” in a position- the “what” of what they want.  It is best to move beyond the positions to the interests- the “why” of why the parties want what they want.

 

Think about New York Governor David Patterson’s plan to shutter numerous parks in NYS in order to save about $11 million.  His position is to close the parks.

 

On March 21, 2010, there was a protest at Clark Reservation State Park (one of the parks targeted for closure) to fight the proposal.  The people who attended want to keep the parks open.  That is their position.

 

This is an excellent example of a positional conflict.  We know the “what” of both parties, but we don’t necessarily know all the “whys”- the interests.  If you picture an iceberg, the position is what’s visible; the interests are what are underneath, out of sight.

 

Once you get to the interest, or “why” level, it opens up an entirely different set of possibilities in order resolve the conflict.  We will talk about how to move from positions to interests.

 

For our class time, we may draw upon this park closure situation to discuss and work on potential solutions.  But, I’d also like you, as a class, to come up with a few real life scenarios that perhaps you’ve run across in your work that you think fits this “position vs. interest” bill.

 

Don’t worry if this interest-based problem solving is fuzzy- I will go through it in greater detail when we meet but I wanted to present just a bit of groundwork so you can start thinking about possible scenarios we can explore.

 

If you can discuss as a class and then email me a brief paragraph of some of them it will put us a little ahead of the game as our class time is brief.

 

Please let me know what you’ve come up with by March 30 if possible.

 

If you can any questions, please feel free to drop me a line at: mhketcha@syr.edu<mailto:mhketcha@syr.edu>

 

Looking forward to seeing you next month!

 

Regards,

Martha

Here are the scenarios we came up with:

What if you have a problem with a supervisor and there’s nobody above that level feels responsible for the problem?  Problem:  We would be given one task at a time; we wanted more understanding of the big picture and more control over sequencing the tasks.

If the problems with a subordinate aren’t bad enough to get them fired, and also not bad enough to get help from higher up, what can you do?  Problem: obstructionism.

Multiple supervisors ask for conflicting things.

How can a moderator promote discussion of a divisive issue?  People are entrenched in their positions and don’t want to listen to the other side.

How to motivate people to do work without being overbearing?  Sometimes you can’t accomplish anything without the cooperation of a particular person.

We have been in situations where performing to the best of our abilities was unwelcome, because underperformance is the norm.

April 12 Reports and Presentations

Reports

We discussed how your products relate to your final report (answers differ) and what sources should be referenced. “For full credit, you must cite at least five references, including scholarly work, not just web sites.”

In Allison’s case, her product consists of a list of information found in the literature, with a long reference list.  This document will form one part of her final report.  The reference list for her final report will be limited to the references she cites in the narrative portion of the report.

Eric will provide an Appendix with calculations and scenarios.  The rest of his product will correspond to his report.

For Justin and Steve, the product is the final report.  They have plenty of scholarly references, because these are research projects.

Lisa’s references will include newspaper articles.  She wants to see the effect of similar laws that have been enacted in other places.  We don’t know how similar policy analyses would be made available.  There should also be peer-reviewed publications by scholars.

Carrie:  Her product is the plan for the Stewardship Days at Green Lakes.  This will be included in her report, lesson plans for the days.  She will tell us about outcomes under the Evaluation section.

Tyler’s product is a map.  He will review the use of diving for invasive plant control.   

 

The Final Report that you write for the class might include content not meant for the client (probably in the Evaluation section).  In this case, prepare a version appropriate to your client.  I don’t need to see it.

Presentations

Allison:  My excel files describing manufacturer’s data are not very interesting for the class.  The background is interesting: the costs and benefits of grass and tree cover in residential settings.  So her presentation will give more time to the introduction and methods rather than on the product.  She might tell us what she has learned about the research process.

Eric: Background in PowerPoint, then show his computer model, maybe a sensitivity analysis.

Steve had two projects.  He will share with us some elements of the class he taught, which leads into his second project, which was proposal development.  Challenges and obstacles are interesting, too.  People will be interested in how to get a project funded for something they want to do.

Lisa P’s presentation will be similar to her report.  We’ll learn something about policy analysis as well as about hydrofracking.

Carrie:  One of her Stewardship Days will be completed at the time of her presentation, so she’ll focus on that one.  She can show us her plans for the other two.  If you’re free this Friday and want to help out, tell Carrie.  They doing geocaching, a nature walk, picking up trash along the way, and making pots and decorating recycling bins.

 

Tyler:  He’ll show us his map.  He can tell us who will be using it, there’s demand already.  Background on substrate type and how it affects dive conditions.  There’s plenty of news coverage to make a show. 

Justin:  Background on sugar maple and beech and their interactions, background on FIA and why to use that data.  The results are maps, and he can interpret them and talk about future uses.

May 3 Final Advice

Client and Project Selection

We have identified clients who hope for future students to work with them.

Tom Hughes, Green Lakes

Mike Kelleher has plenty of work, energy analysis and emissions

The Nature Conservancy has good projects but requires a lot of lead time. 

Joan Christensen was good to work with.  Dan Maffei’s office was also interested.

Baltimore Woods can always use help.

Steve Currie could be a contact for his old company, Earth Dimensions.

 

Advice?

Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

Know what you want to do and what you’re willing to be flexible on.

Developing the proposal helps you defend your position when the client asks for changes.

Converting class time to project time was a big help, at the end, when we were busiest.

In the future:

Contact students in the spring prior to the fall course.

Final Reports

If you want to submit the Final Report that will be read by your client, then material that’s not for your client (your evaluation of the project and what you got out of it) should be provided separately.


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