Thursday, August 30, 2007

Graduate Research Assistantship in Human Dimensions of Watershed Management

A Ph.D. level graduate research assistantship is available beginning as early as fall 2007 in the Department of Forestry at Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC). Project funding is anticipated to start in September 2007. The Department of Forestry offers graduate students an interdisciplinary learning experience in natural and social sciences, including fields such as land use planning, watershed management, forest recreation and community-based conservation. 

Project Title: Evaluating Watershed Health Risks through Integrated Water Quality Analyses, Community Capacity Assessments, and Outreach Appraisals  

Project Description:  This project is an interdisciplinary investigation of water quality and community capacity for planning and conservation with the overall goal of evaluating and communicating watershed and community health risks in eight sub-watershed communities. Research questions include,

  • What is the capacity of urban and rural communities in the sub-watersheds to engage in watershed planning and adopt comprehensive conservation strategies?
  • What capacity indicators are most strongly correlated with positive ecological, economic, and social outcomes?
  • What barriers or constraints to coordinated planning and cooperative conservation exist?

Specifically the student will join a collaborative team of scientists to conduct community capacity assessments in two urban and six rural subwatersheds in the Lower Kaskaskia River of southern Illinois. Community capacity indicators will be examined including community leadership, institutional support, community resources, social cohesion, shared vision, and collective action. Specific tasks are to: (1) conduct a literature review, (2) inventory social networks, leaders, and watershed information resources in the study communities, (3) conduct and analyze focus groups and interviews with key informants, and (4) communicate study findings to the research team, community stakeholders, and other scientists.  

The graduate research assistant will work with a team of researchers including social and watershed scientists from SIUC and Illinois State University.  

If you are interested, please contact:

    Dr. Mae Davenport

    Department of Forestry

    Southern Illinois University

    1205 Lincoln Dr., MC 4411

    Carbondale, IL 62901

    Phone: (618) 453-7476

Students are urged to apply as soon as possible. Minority students are encouraged to apply. 

For information about Southern Illinois University Carbondale, visit

For information about the Department of Forestry, visit


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