MSU honors Chen for doctoral work

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Xiaodong Chen, a former center member, will be honored in this month’s MSU International Award Ceremony for his doctoral work on addressing complex interactions among policies, people, and wildlife habitat in China's Wolong Nature Reserve.

Chen, who now is a Giorgio Ruffolo Post-doctoral Fellow in Sustainability Science in the Sustainability Science Program at Harvard's Center for International Development, will receive the Gill-Chin Lim Award for Outstanding Dissertation in Global Studies March 23 at a ceremony at the Spartan Club.

The award acknowledges a graduate student for an outstanding doctoral dissertation completed the preceding year, and focusing on global studies. It’s named after Gill-Chin Lim, MSU Professor of Geography and Urban Planning and Dean of International Studies and Programs, who died in 2005.

“Xiaodong’s dissertation explored the efficiency and effectiveness of payments for ecosystem services -- an exciting and important frontier of research on coupled human and natural systems,” said Jianguo “Jack” Liu, director of the Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability. “He creatively integrated theories and methods from multiple natural and social science disciplines to link many complex issues such as social norms , labor migration, conservation policies, panda habitat, and forests.

“Findings from his dissertation have been published in prestigious journals such as Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, have been widely featured in the news media and have broad implications to natural resources management, environmental sustainability, and the business community.”

Chen received a PhD from the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife in 2010. Xiaodong worked with a number of faculty and other members at the CSIS and other departments at MSU, such as Frank Lupi, Ashton Shortridge, Tom Dietz, Ken Frank, Andres Vina, and Sandra Batie. He also was assisted by collaborators in the Chinese Academy of Sciences such as Zhiyun Ouyang, and Wolong Nature Reserve (e.g., Hemin Zhang). His work was supported by NSF, NASA and other organizations.

Chen also holds a master of science degree in applied statistics from MSU, and in geographic information science from the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and a bachelor of science in urban and environmental sciences from Peking University in Beijing.

Lim served as ISP dean from 1991 to 1995. In his faculty role, he was professor of urban and regional planning in the School of Planning, Design and Construction, holding an endowed chair as MSU Endowed Professor of Asian Studies in a Global Context. He also directed the Program on Humanistic Globalization.

During his tenure as ISP dean, Lim provided intellectual leadership for international activities at MSU, oversaw a restructuring of ISP, and worked to establish endowments for all area studies centers as well as other units across campus. He also established the annual International Awards Ceremony.

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