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FOR 692 Capstone in Natural Resources Management

Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:30-1:50 

Students will integrate and apply their knowledge of forest and natural resources management to practical problems in their areas of professional interest.  Class sessions include opportunities to develop advanced knowledge and professional skills, such as research, analysis, management, and communication.  The final project outcomes will be delivered to clients through written reports and oral presentations. 

Criteria for Project Selection

  1.  Content area: Forest and Natural Resources Management is very broad.  I don't expect this to be a limitation, but obviously some topics would not be suitable (promoting SU's chess team, reducing drunken driving, documenting the history of jewelry making).  Your interests should define the topics.  

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.

  1.  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.  
  2.  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.
  3.  Scope:  The project should be challenging but also feasible with the resources available to you.  We will use a system for Time and Effort planning and reporting.  In the real world, you would be counting billable hours for your client.  Using such a system is a good way to ensure that the very different projects undertaken by different students or teams are similar in the amount of effort (time) you put into them.
  4.  Number:  I will not limit the number of projects or number of persons per project, except that I want each of you to have the opportunity to participate in many components of the process and the total amount of effort should be sufficient and not excessive.

Examples of past projects include guidelines for planning trail maintenance for Highland Forest, fact sheets for the ESF Willow Biomass program, research into city ordinances regulating urban gardens for Syracuse Grows, assisting Siberian lumber companies with sustainable forestry certification, and writing grant proposals to the World Bank.

The schedule (see past class notes) devotes the majority of our time project planning and reporting, with sessions reserved for development of professional skills.  The content of the skill sessions will determined by student needs and interests and organized by students in consultation with the instructor.  We will revisit and revise the schedule as needed throughout the semester.

Impact on Grading (see grading, for details):

The majority of your grade will be based on your projects:  25% for oral presentations and 40% for written reports or other products.  The project proposals are 10% and the remaining 20% is for other assignments such as time and effort accounting and feedback for presenters, and preparing for skill sessions if needed. 

Late assignments will be discounted at the rate of 10%/day.  Assignments required for class participation will be worth 0% after the day we needed them.