In collaboration with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, an initial 2-year research assistantship (including summer) is available to work with Dr. Kenneth Wallen in the Dept. of Natural Resources and Society on a multi-phase project to earn Ph.D. in Natural Resources from the College of Natural Resources at the University of Idaho. Subsequent years of funding will be in the form of teaching or research assistantships, as available. Funding is also allocated for travel and professional conferences. The student will work with faculty to apply for additional funding and fellowships.

Public land access is one of the most salient and prevalent natural resource issues in the Intermountain West. But access is a variably understood term, concept, and issue. How to address issues of access can be informed by multiple disciplines, e.g., psychological, sociocultural, regulatory policy, institutional, or geospatial.

Phase 1 of the project is an initial 2-year study (Aug 2021 – July 2023) funded by Idaho Fish and Game to understand meanings of and experiences with access among wildlife stakeholders on public and private land in Idaho. The objectives of this human dimensions study are to understand how stakeholders define access, their experiences with access on state and federal lands, and why access issues persist among stakeholders.

Phase 2 will extend and expand upon Phase 1. The student will work with Dr. Wallen and collaborators (e.g., Idaho Fish and Game and the Policy Analysis Group) to co-develop additional independent studies that address the issue of access in Idaho or the broader region, including potentially access to private multi-use lands. The student will have the opportunity to establish a scholastic and/or methodological expertise with practical application.

Target start date is August 2021 (negotiable, January 2022).


  • Master’s degree in a relevant social or natural resource social science field (candidate should want to pursue a mixed methods social science Ph.D.)
  • Experience with qualitative research methods; interviews, focus groups, and/or facilitation
  • Experience with qualitative analysis; MaxQDA, ATLAS.ti, or NVivo platforms
  • Interest in becoming an expert on the issue/topic of access
  • Interest in addressing issues from multiple disciplinary and methodological perspectives
  • Interest in working directly with stakeholders and agencies in the Intermountain West
  • English language proficiency

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience with statistical analysis; open source (R) or proprietary (SPSS, JASP) platforms
  • Experience with geospatial analysis; open source (QGIS) or proprietary (ESRI) platforms
  • Experience with programming language (R, Python, etc.)
  • Understand psychological, sociological, institutional, and/or political science perspectives and methods
  • Understand recreation, land use, and/or natural resource regulation and policy

To Apply

Review Dr. Wallen’s prospective student statement.  Send (1) cover letter, (2) CV, (3) transcripts from Master’s and undergraduate program, and (4) names and emails for 2-3 references in one PDF to [email protected]. Priority review date is April 5, 2020. Email Dr. Wallen with any questions. Click here for more information.