Montana Cooperative Wildlife

Research Unit 

Senate Recommendation (Academic Policy 103)


A. Written Report Summary:

1.     Purpose

This long-standing unit was established at UM in 1950.  "The Cooperative Research Unit is a unique collaborative relationship between States, Universities, the Federal government and a non-profit organization. Coop Units conduct research on renewable natural resource questions, participate in the education of graduate students destined to join the natural resource profession, provide technical assistance and consultation to parties who have interests in natural resource issues, and provide various forms of continuing education for natural resource professionals." (from Website at accessed 2/15/08).


a.     Conduct research and applied research in ecology of renewable natural resources, especially ecology and management.

b.    Provide technical and professional education at graduate and professional levels

c.     Disseminate research findings and techniques


2.     Anticipated activities:

Research: plans to continue to support short and long term research projects.  Currently has 20 projects listed on its website.

Graduate education:  10 graduate students are currently listed on the website and are linked to research projects they with which they are associated.  The Unit director or leader has five graduate students and the assistant leader has four.

Technical support: 


3.     Other organizations involved (Agency Involvement)
The unit embodies a collaboration between the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Montana, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the Wildlife Management Institute, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Numerous other agencies are involved through funding of research.

4.     Reporting line:
The Unit Director reports to the Vice President for Research

5.     Relationships with institutional mission and contribution to academic programs:
The Unit continues to advise and support a substantial portion of graduate students, teach courses, and contribute to programmatic objectives, in 2 University of Montana programs (Wildlife Biology and Organismal Biology and Ecology).

6.     Similar programs in Montana and Surrounding Region:
Montana Cooperative Fisheries Research Unit, Montana State University, Bozeman;

Idaho Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, University of Idaho, Moscow;

Wyoming Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, University of Wyoming, Laramie

7.     Budget: 
See Center Review Budget Form.     Projected decrease in budget for upcoming years is due to the recent transfer of the Wildlife Spatial Analysis Lab to the Montana Heritage Program.

Only found budget for 2007 - Of the almost $1.4 million budget, UM pays around $46,000 for one FTE admin assistant and $46,000 for graduate RA positions for a total of $0.092 million).  This leaves around $1.3million from external federal and state sources, most of which comes from funded research.

B. Review and Approval Process
The Faculty Senate through its Chair, who in turn shall distribute it to ECOS and other committees, and approve or disapprove the proposal by a vote of the Senate.

Review in terms of Scope as stated in academic policy 100.0
To provide instruction, scholarship, or service to the University, state or world by:  (1) focusing attention on an area of strength and/or addressing a critical issue, or (2) facilitating collaborative, multi-disciplinary endeavors to combine resources from several programs or institutions to address issues of common interest.

Review in terms of the University's mission.

§   Comments:

§   Does ECOS/Faculty Senate consider this center controversial? No

§   Is the relationship with academic units beneficial? Yes, expecially graduate programs

§   Is the program revenue neutral or does it consume more resources than it generates? If so, is the use of University resources justified?  Revenue neutral with opportunities to seek funding for new research projects.

§   Is the entity making progress toward objectives? YES

 Recommendation: Approve the Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit for another five years. 

Justification:  The MCWRU has been on UM campus since 1950.  It is funded primarily by extramural entities (i.e., less than 7% of budget comes from UM excluding SPABA funds from indirects) and provides opportunities for a number of graduate students to do research and obtain RA funding while at UM.