Cooperative Research Units
Education, Research And Technical Assistance For Managing Our Natural Resources
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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are Tennessee Unit students required to do any teaching?

    No. All Tennessee Unit students are on research assistantships.

  • Are Tennessee Unit students USGS (federal) employees?

    No. All Unit students are University employees and must abide by Tennessee Tech rules and regulations. Unit students are "special" in the sense that they must also abide by some of the rules and regulations promulgated by the Department of Interior and the USGS. For instance, students can operate Unit boats only after they have taken the DOI's Motorboat Operators Certification Course. Similarly, they must take an online DOI course before they are allowed to use any electrofishing gear.

  • Do Tennessee Unit students have to use their own vehicles for fieldwork or is there a motorpool where vehicles can be checked out?

    No, students do not have to use their own vehicles to perform their research. The Tennessee Unit currently maintains five field vehicles that are available for students to use. The Water Center on campus also maintains a small fleet of vehicles that Unit students can check out.

  • How are Tennessee Unit students supported?

    Our graduate students are supported by external grants and contracts. Currently, our MS students on research assistantships receive a year-round stipend of $1,285/month and all tuition costs and fees are waived.

  • How is a student's thesis or dissertation topic chosen?

    Each student prepares a thesis or dissertation proposal under the direction of their graduate advisor. That proposal is then submitted for review and approval by the student's graduate committee. Members of the committee are selected by the advisor and the student. The research that is conducted is usually tied in some way to the scope of work outlined in the contract or grant that is supporting the student.

  • How long does it take to complete a MS program?

    It usually takes at least two years to complete all of the requirements for a MS degree at Tennessee Tech (coursework and thesis).

  • What are the expectations of Unit students in regards to public speaking?

    Communicating effectively with peers and constituents is a vital job skill. Thus, all Tennessee Unit students are given plenty of opportunities to present their research findings at state, regional, and national meetings.

  • What kind of boats are available for students to use if their research will require the use of a motorboat?

    Once a student completes mandatory DOI -training in motorboat operation, the following vessels are available:
    R/V Spoonbill cat (24', 150HP big river net boat)
    R/V Big Blue (18', 115 HP net boat)
    R/V Big Boy (18', 115 HP electrofishing boat)
    R/V Salmo (16', 60/40HP jet drive shocking boat)

    In addition, the Tennessee Unit maintains and operates two 16', 60/40 jet-drive tunnel-hull runabouts; one 14', 40/25 jet-drive runabout; and an assortment of motorized and non-motorized canoes and jon boats.

  • Where do Unit students conduct office work?

    All Unit students are housed in Pennebaker Hall, home of the Department of Biology at Tennessee Tech. They are assigned to either a private office or cubicle in a larger office. The Unit provides a computer and printer for each student and all the office supplies they will ever need.

  • Who decides what classes I will take?

    Students and their advisor draft a proposed list of coursework that address each student's research and career interests (and possible weaknesses). That proposed Program of Study is then submitted to the student's Graduate Committee for review and approval.


Current Staff

Federal Staff: 2

Masters Students: 4

Phd Students: 1

Post Docs: 1

University Staff: 4

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 8

Scientific Publications: 33

Presentations: 86


Contact Us

Tennessee Cooperative Fishery Research Unit Cookeville, TN 38505-0001 Phone: (931) 372 - 3094 Fax: (931) 372 - 6257

Tennessee Cooperative Fishery Research Unit Cooperators

  1. Tennessee Technological University
  2. Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
  3. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  4. U.S. Geological Survey