Mentoring

Academic mentoring

PhD training in the Department of Forestry follows an apprenticeship-model where students work closely with faculty mentors through all stages of the research process. NNF Fellows will select two faculty mentors (co-advisors), each representing a different academic discipline. Faculty in the Department of Forestry have expertise across the disciplinary spectrum to mentor students in almost any project.

Interdisciplinary dissertation research

Fellows will work closely with their mentors to design and implement an interdisciplinary dissertation research project. Research projects could range in scope from local to global scales and can be focused on natural ecosystems, production forests, urban forests, forest products or social, economic or policy systems. Projects should incorporate approaches and perspectives from a combination of natural science, social and behavioral sciences, or technology and engineering. Potential disciplinary focus areas include (but are not limited to): 

  • Natural Sciences
    • Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Science
    • Community and Spatial Ecology
    • Fire Ecology
    • Carbon and Climate Change
    • Ecology and Silviculture
    • Pathology and Entomology
    • Restoration
    • Wildlife Conservation
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences
    • Agroforestry Systems
    • Economics
    • Environmental Justice
    • Carbon Finance and Trading
    • Social Dimensions of Forestry
    • Urban and Community Forestry
  • Technology and Engineering
    • Measurements and Modeling
    • Geographic Information Science and Technology
    • Green Design
    • Sustainable Bioproducts Technology
    • Wood Science

Fellows will work closely with mentors to design and implement an interdisciplinary dissertation research project. Each student’s dissertation research must address a compelling problem related to forest resources. These can range from local to global scales and can be focused on natural ecosystems, production forests, urban forests, forest products or social, economic or policy systems.

Non-academic mentoring and residency experience

All NNF Fellows will be required to have a non-academic mentor. This individual will provide input on practical and applied aspects of the fellow’s research. The non-academic mentor will work with the student to ensure that the fellow’s dissertation research addresses real-world challenges. The mentor will also ensure that fellows develop skills in effectively communicating with stakeholders outside of academia.

The non-academic mentor could come from industry, a state or federal agency, government, or a non-governmental organization. The non-academic mentor will work with the student on their dissertation research proposal and attend their final dissertation defense.

Each fellow will complete a residency experience with the non-academic mentor sometime during the first three years of their graduate program. Faculty mentors, department staff and the extensive MSU Forestry alumni base are available to assist the student in identifying a suitable non-academic mentor. Funding is available to support travel to fulfill this residency requirement.

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