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Proposal 44-15

The University Senate of Michigan Technological University

Proposal 44-15 
(Voting Units: Academic)

 “Proposal for a New Bachelor of Science Degree in Natural Resources Management”

PDF Version of Proposal 44-15

School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science

Contacts: Dr Joseph K. Bump, Chair, SFRES Curriculum Committee
                  Dr.TerryL.Sharik, Dean and Professor
                  Andrew J. Storer, Associate Dean and Professor
                  Latest revision – February 26, 2015


  1. General description and characteristics of program                                            1
  2. Rationale                                                                                                                      2
  3. Related programs                                                                                                       5
  4. Project how many students can be enrolled based on current faculty
    numbers or requested faculty lines.                                                                       5
  5. Scheduling plans (Extension, Evening, Regular)                                                    5
  6. Curriculum design                                                                                                      6
  7. New course descriptions                                                                                           6
  8. Model schedule demonstrating completion time                                                 6
  9. Existing Learning Resources, Equipment, and Space                                           6
  10. Program Administration, policies, regulations and rules                                    9
  11. Accreditation requirements                                                                                     9
  12. Planned implementation date                                                                                 9
  13. Program costs, years 1, 2, and 3                                                                              9

Appendix A – New course proposals
Appendix B – Financial Documentation

I. General description and characteristics of program

  1. Mission: To develop students with the skills and training to solve 21st-century natural resource challenges, and manage ecosystems and renewable resources sustainably. The broad purpose of the Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resources Management (NRM hereafter) is to equip students with the knowledge, expertise, ethics, and perspective necessary to address complex environmental  problems that relate to renewable natural resources. 
  2. Goals: Environmental problems are fundamentally natural resource and ecosystem management problems.  Finding solutions and providing leadership on environmental issues requires a broad based foundation in natural resources science and ecosystem management. The School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science (SFRES) at Michigan Technological University (Michigan Tech) has broad expertise and offers three specialized degrees in natural resource fields (Forestry, Wildlife Ecology and Management, and Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences). The goal of this new major is to provide broad-based training and comprehensive understanding of the interdependence of ecological and sociopolitical systems in the context of natural resource and ecosystem management. 
  3.  Objectives: This proposal will implement an undergraduate Bachelor of Science  degree program in NRM that 1) attracts students with diverse interests in environmental issues, natural resource science, sustainability ,biomaterials, and ecosystem management; 2) provides a broad-based curriculum that will allow students to gain the knowledge and develop the skills necessary to design solutions for 21st-century environmental problems; 3) receives accreditation from Society of American Foresters as a Natural Resource and Ecosystem Management undergraduate degree program.

 II.  Rationale

  1. National trends in natural resources: Nationally, enrollment in Bachelor of Science majors in the area of natural resources and environmental or ecosystem management are eclipsing more specialized programs (Figures1&2).  For example, the Society of American Foresters, which accredits our School’s Forestry degree, developed accreditation standards for NRM majors for the first time in 2014. The proposed program aims to capitalize on this trend and anticipate future student interests and occupational trends. The job market for NRM is broader than our more specialized programs and this degree program provides a sound undergraduate education for students who wish to enter other areas of the job market or graduate school.

Figure 1. Undergraduate enrollment in Natural Resources by field of study for institutions in the National Association of University Forest Resource Programs (NAUFRP), 1980-2009. 

Figure 2. Proportion of undergraduate enrollment in Natural Resources in the National Association of University Forest Resource Programs (NAUFRP) in 2010. 

 B. Students: An increase in the number of students coming to Michigan Tech is expected with the implementation of this program, as it will appeal to a broader range of interests in natural resources and environmental science. Presently, the School of Forest   Resources and Environmental Science has~150 undergraduate students, divided among the Forestry, Wildlife Ecology & Management, and Applied Ecology & Environmental Sciences majors. Michigan Tech has a reputation, fostered by students and alumni alike, for having high standards for graduation. The quality of the School's incoming freshman compares very well with the at-large average for Michigan Tech. Students entering Michigan Tech average 27.0 on the ACT; those entering the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science average 27.1. This standard will be maintained or enhanced with the addition of this degree program.

Approximately one third of the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science undergraduates enter as transfer students. These students include internal transfers as well as students who transfer from community colleges and other programs outside Michigan Tech. We anticipate that the NRM major will attract transfer students from outside Michigan Tech as well as freshman students. This program will strengthen the bond between Michigan Tech and community colleges in the Upper Great Lakes Region.

The School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science offers financial aid to students which totals around 65K annually. In addition, many students have the opportunity to gain work experience working in faculty labs and on field-based projects supported by external grants and contracts.

 C. Regional need: This program will uniquely satisfy a strong regional need. This need reflects the resource-based economy of the region. The universities in the Upper Great Lakes region lack a NRM program comparable to that proposed here. The program will provide students with a broad educational experience, emphasize the development of skills and knowledge in natural resource science, but also address the sociological, political, and economic facets of natural resources and ecosystem management. This broad-based, multidisciplinary preparation will provide students with a background for employment potential in the diverse field of natural resources management. This field is anticipated to increase in the future due to high levels of interest in sustainable resource management, a growing biomaterials economy, and threats to resources posed by development, exotic species and global change.

 D. Diversity: The Native American community is one of the target audiences, and recent trends in Native American enrollment in NRM degree programs demonstrate strong potential for development(Figure3). In addition, recruitment of students that do not belong to any specific target audience is projected to be very successful. The Lake Superior basin, with its important natural and economic resources, including state and national parks, is an ideal training ground for natural resources managers.

 E. Career flexibility: A Bachelor of Science Degree in NRM will prepare students for a  wide variety of career options. Students may find employment as resource managers in the private sector, state and federal agencies, and non-governmental organizations. The NRM program will prepare students who want to develop more specialized skills at the graduate level through research or coursework based degrees. Other students will pursue this degree program due to their interests, and use it as a more broadly defined qualification as they enter the job market or graduate, law or business school.

Figure 3. Associate and Baccalaureate degrees awarded in natural resource fields at tribal institutions in 2002-2010. 32 institutions reporting, FAEIS 2011.

 F. University and School mission: The proposed program is consistent with the mission of Michigan Tech, especially in the areas of engagement to advance sustainable economic prosperity, ethical conduct and responsible use of resources. The proposed program addresses goal 2 in the strategic plan “A distinctive and rigorous action-based learning experience grounded in science, engineering, technology, sustainability, business, and an understanding of the social and cultural contexts of our contemporary world”. It also contributes to Goal 1.2 as we work to increase diversity through this type of program offering. The mission of SFRES is to foster excellence in forestry and ecological science. The proposed program in NRM will contribute to this mission by training undergraduates to be environmentally responsible Natural Resource Management professionals in abroad and growing field.

 III.  Related Programs

  1. Within the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science: The current majors in Forestry, Wildlife Ecology and Management, and Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences within SFRES offer students more specialized approaches to focused areas in natural resources. The new NRM major will focus on the broad spectrum of technical and vocational aspects of natural resources and ecosystem management that are common across natural resource fields and environmental management occupations. Interest in NRM is both long-standing and widespread, and is growing throughout the Upper Great Lakes Region and across the country. 
  2. Supporting Programs at Michigan Tech Many academic units at Michigan Tech offer coursework relevant to students pursuing the B.S. in NRM. The following academic units provide required or elective classes for students pursuing this degree, and have each been consulted in relation to the curriculum design: Departments of Biological Sciences, Social Sciences, Humanities, Mathematical Sciences, Geological Engineering and Sciences ,and the School of Business and Economics. 
  3. At other institutions: There is no other Bachelor of Science program in NRM in the Upper Peninsula, although, in other states, many forestry programs or school's of natural resources offer similar programs that are very successful. Only one other institution nationally, SUNY ESF, has an accredited B.S. in natural resources and environmental management. The School of Natural Resources and Environment at The University of Michigan has a Resource Ecology Program at the graduate level and Michigan State University offers undergraduate degrees in Fisheries and Wildlife Management, and Environmental Studies and Applications.  Hence,a NRM degree program at Michigan Tech is expected to offer a unique experience to high school students interested in careers that focus on environmental science and natural resource fields.

 IV. Project how many students can be enrolled based on current faculty numbers or requested faculty lines. 

We project an annual enrollment of 10-20 new students per year in this program with existing faculty numbers.

V. Scheduling plans (Extension, Evening, Regular).


VI. Curriculum  Design 

To obtain a B.S. degree in NRM, students will be required to take a minimum of 69 credits in courses fundamental to natural resources management (offered by the School of Forestry and Environmental Science, Department of Biological Sciences, and Department of Mathematics), of which 9 credits are natural resource electives. In addition, 8 credits of social dimensions (5 required and 3 from an elective list), and 9 credits of economics, business, management, or marketing electives are required (Table 1). SFRES faculty voted unanimously in support of this curriculum design. 

This program would be distinct from our other programs in that:

  • It has a social/human dimensions sequence of 8 credits(5 credits more than our existing majors), with a minimum of 6 of these credits taught by faculty with primary appointments in the Department of Social Sciences.
  • It has an economics/business sequence of 9 credits, with all 9 credits taught by faculty with primary appointments in the School of Business and Economics.
  • It has a unique capstone class (3 credits); Biogeochemistry (3 credits), Natural Resources Ethics & the Environment(2 credits), and Natural Resource Conservation seminar (2 credits) required.

 VII. New course descriptions. 

Two new courses are needed for this program, Biogeochemistry and Capstone Experience for in Natural Resources Management(New Course Add Forms are in Appendix B). These courses will be taught by existing faculty members as part of their regular teaching load.

 VIII. Model schedule demonstrating completion time.

Please see Figure 4.

IX.  Existing Resources, Equipment, and Space 

  1. Faculty. All of the faculty in the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science hold the Ph.D. degree, and many are considered national and international experts. They share a commitment to quality teaching and to providing an excellent learning environment. Active in their professions, the faculty share their expertise and keep current through research and by participating in conferences, presenting seminars, and publishing in professional journals: There are ~ 35 research and tenure-track faculty and administrators in the School who contribute to our undergraduate teaching mission.  Full curricula vitae are available at 
  2.  Physical Facilities: The School of Forest Resources & Environmental Science occupies space in a number of buildings located on the campus of Michigan Technological University and in the surrounding local area. These include the UJ Noblet Forest Resource and Environmental Science building, the Ford Center and Forest, and the Isle Royale Sands Research facility. This space is adequate to meet the needs of this program. 
  3.  Library Resources: The proposed degree is based on courses currently offered for Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Wildlife Ecology and Management, Forestry, and Biological Sciences majors. The basic library resources are already in place supporting these programs, including journals, electronic databases, government documents and access to interlibrary loan services
    As the program matures, specific deficiencies in the Library holdings may become apparent.  A re-evaluation of library resources, with the potential of adding new resources should be included in the program assessment when it reaches its enrollment capacity.

 Table 1: Curriculum design for proposed B.S. in Natural Resources Management 

Major Requirements 





Vegetation of North America



Field Techniques



The Natural Resources Professional



Principles of Economics



Natural Resources Conservation



Soil Science



Forest Ecology



Biometrics & Data Analysis



Introduction to GIS for Natural Resource Management



Natural Resource Policy



Survey of Silviculture



Land Measurements/GPS



Multi-resources Assessment



Geomorphology, Landscapes, & Ecosystems



Wildlife Habitat



Aquatic Systems



Forest Health



Introduction to Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Systems   



Environmental Biogeochemistry



Landscape Ecology and Planning



Natural Resources, Ethics, and the Environment



Forest Resource Management



Natural Resources Assessment and Planning



Directed Electives (Social Dimensions 3, Business related 6, Communications 3, Natural Resource 9)



Gen Ed Core









Free Electives







 A total of 128 credits will be needed to graduate in this degree program with students receiving a Bachelor of Science in four years (Figure 4–course sequence).

 Figure 4. Course Sequence for B.S. in Natural Resources Management 

 D.   Computer Facilities 

The existing computer facilities are adequate to support this program. This includes computer teaching labs in SFRES and around campus, software and network access. GIS and Remote Sensing software utilized for teaching includes: ERDAS, Arc/Info, and ArcView. The major portion of undergraduate instruction in geographic information systems is conducted in a computer teaching laboratory that exists for this purpose.

 X. Program Administration, Policies, Regulations and Rules. 

Responsibility for administration of the program will reside with the Dean of the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, who reports to the Executive Vice-President and Provost for Academic Affairs.

 XI. Accreditation  requirements. 

A goal in developing this new degree is to meet The Society of American Foresters accreditation standards for NRM programs.  The proposal and specifically the curriculum were developed with these standards in mind.

 XII.  Planned implementation date.

Fall 2015

XIV. Program costs, years 1, 2, and 3. 

No new resources are requested at this time. Classes to be offered under this proposal are either already offered and can accommodate the students in this program, or are being proposed as part of regular faculty workloads. 

Please see Appendix B, Financial Documentation.


Faculty of SFRES–Feb10, 2015 (unanimous)

Provost’s Office

University Senate 

Provost and University President

Board of Control

 Appendix A: Course Add Proposal Forms 

Appendix B: Financial documentation

 I. Relation to University Strategic Plan 

a. Relation of program to the university's educational and research goals.
The proposed major fits with goal 2 of the strategic plan. “GOAL 2: A distinctive and rigorous action-based learning experience grounded in science, engineering, technology, sustainability, business, and an understanding of the social and cultural contexts of our contemporary world. ”Specifically, the proposed major integrates science, sustainability, business and the social and cultural contexts of natural resources and natural resource management. 

b. Consistency with the university's resource allocation criteria. No new resources are being requested at this time 

 II. Impact on University Enrollment

 a. Projected number of students in the program.

We project an annual enrollment of 10-20 new students per year in this program.

b. Source of new students; in particular, will the students be drawn from existing programs, or will they be students who would otherwise not have come to Michigan Tech?

It is possible that some students may come from other majors within the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science (SFRES), but we project that most enrollment will be of students who are looking for a more broadly based degree program than those currently offered.

 c. What is the likely correlation between demand for the new program and existing enrollment patterns at Michigan Tech?

We project that enrollment in SFRES will increase while undergraduate enrollments in many other units is projected to remain in a steady state.

 d. What is the current enrollment in the unit?

155 undergraduates, 75 graduate students

III.  Impact on Resources Required by Department in Which the Program is housed. This would include, but not be limited to:

a. Faculty lines.

No new faculty lines are requested.

b. Faculty and student labs, including ongoing maintenance.

Adequate classroom and laboratory space is available. The school has recently remodeled a classroom to house over 60 students, which replaces a classroom that housed 32 students.

c. Advising.

The current arrangements for advising will be adequate.

d. Assessment.

This program will be assessed as part of the ongoing University assessment program. All of the University learning goals will be addressed by one or more classes in the proposed program. Courses that are outside of the general education requirements will address disciplinary knowledge as well as other university learning goals.

IV. Impact on Resources Required By other Units Within the University. This analysis would include, but not necessarily be limited to, the impacts on:

 a. Other academic (e.g., GenEd) units with regard to faculty, labs and assessment.(NOTE: The current Student to Faculty ratio for the university as a whole is approximately 12:1 per Institutional Analysis.)

Classes in other academic units have been reviewed by those units, and the capacity is available to serve the students in the new major.

b. Information Technology, the Library, central administration and career planning with respect to the impact on the need for computing services, library resources, advising, recordkeeping, development of employer relations etc.

Existing resources are sufficient to support the new major.

V. Assessment of the ability to obtain the necessary resources assuming requested funds are obtained

a. For high demand fields (e.g., business fields, etc.), will it be possible to fill allocated lines.

No lines are requested at the initiation of this degree program

VI.  Past proposals. Has the department initiated any other new degree programs in the last five years? If so:

No undergraduate degree programs have been proposed in the last 5 years. A Master’s of Geographic Information Science was recently approved and is now offered

a. Describe the extent to which the new program has met the original goals with respect to: 

1. Enrollment,

Enrollment in the new MGIS degree program is low as advertising outside of Michigan Tech has been limited. Students are starting to register for the accelerated version of the degree as they near completion of their undergraduate degree programs. Enrollment in the classes that have been added to the new MGIS have been good–their subject area appeals to a range of graduate students, and they have enhanced the graduate student experience for many. 

2. Costs,

To date, the MGIS has met its goals in terms of costs. 

3.  New faculty,

A lecturer is supported under the new MGIS program. 

4. Other resources required for the program

 b. How have degree programs added in the past five years affected total enrollment in the department?

The MGIS is too new to have significantly impacted over all enrollment.

VII. Departmental Budget contribution 

a. What is the department's total general fund budget?

2013-2014  $3,658,751

b. How much tuition does the department generate? This information should be provided for both the credit hours taught by the department and the number of credit hours taken by the department's majors. 

2013-14 SCH data from compendium – all instructional activity











If all students are in state, based on 2014-15 tuition rates, undergraduate revenue = 467*(520+2829)=$1,563,983. Graduate revenue = 820.50*(644+321.5)= $792,192

 2013-14 SCH data from compendium – tenure/tenure track instructional activity









 For SFRES students taking 32 credits a year (undergraduate) and 19 credits a year (graduate), based on 2014-15 enrollment, total tuition revenue = 155*467*32 (undergraduate) plus 75*820.50*19 (graduate) = $3,485,532

VIII. How do the benefits from this program compare to other alternatives that are currently under consideration or development. Will approval and allocation of resources to this program preclude the development of other programs? 

A major in Natural Resource Management is the top priority for a new undergraduate degree program within the School. Natural Resource degree programs have been performing very well at the national level.

Appendix C                        BS in Natural Resources Management: sample degree audit

Major Requirements

Course                                  Credits

FW2010                                 4
FW2051                                 2
FW1050                                 2
EC2001                                  3
FW2030                                 2
FW3330                                 4
FW3020                                 3
FW3200                                 4
FW3540                                 4
FW3110                                 3
FW3012                                 2
FW3170                                 1
FW3190                                 3
FW3180                                 2
FW3600                                 3
FW3640                                 2
FW3840                                 3
FW3510                                 3
FW4710                                 3
FW4380                                 3
FW3115                                 2
FW4150                                 3
FW4830                                 3 

One of
SS3630                                  3

Course                                  Credits
Two of
EC4650                                  3
EC4640                                  3

One of
HU3871                                  3

 9 credits from (credits)
FW1035 (4)
FW3320 (3)
FW3410 (3)
FW3610 (4)
FW4120 (3)
FW4140 (3)
FW4220 (4)
FW4240 (4)
FW4300 (3)
FW4370 (3)                            9
FW4540 (3)
FW4541 (1)
FW4545 (2)
FW4610 (3)
FW4620 (3)
FW5115 (3)
BL4442/BL4447 (4)
BL2160 (4)
BL2170 (4)
GE2100 (3)
GE4150 (3)   

STEM requirement (16 credits)

BL1040                                       4
MA1032 Or MA1135                4
CH1150 and CH1151               4
MA2720                                     4 

Free Electives                                                                                                 3 

General education requirements (Credits 24) 

Course number

UN1015                                                                                                             3
UN1025                                                                                                             3
HUFA                                                                                                                 3
FA2330, 2520, 2720, 2820, HU2130, 2501, 2538, 2700, 2720,2820, 2910
SBS                                                                                                                    3
EC2001, PSY2000, SS2100, 2200, 2400, 2500, 2501, 2502, 2503, 2504, 2505, 2600, 2700 

HASS Distribution Course: 12 total credits required
No more than 3 credits from the HASS Creative Endeavors List
Six (6) credits must be at the 3000 or 4000 level
No more than 3 credits from the HASS Supplemental List


*A 3000-level or higher modern language course may be used in place of UN1025, Global Issues. 

TOTAL                                                                                                             128

Proposal 44-15:
Introduced to Senate:  1 April 2015
Approved by Senate:  15 April 2015
Approved by Administration:  22 April 2015
Approved by Board of Trustees:  01 May 2015
Approved by State:  04 June 2015