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CNRE Leadership Institute

The current and future challenges and opportunities across the landscape of natural resources and the environment will require a unique blend of scientific know-how and leadership. We want to equip our students with the skills and tools needed to solve critical problems facing society in the management and utilization of our natural resources and in stewardship of the environment. Leadership means working with people to solve problems, create opportunities and move programs, organizations, and people forward. Leadership is necessary and can happen at every level of every organization.
Leadership Institute participants, learn:
  • How your personality type affects your interactions with others, how you process information, make decisions, and approach tasks
  • How effective leaders leverage knowledge of their personality type to work with and lead others
  • How effective leaders deal with change, teamwork and conflict
  • The common paths (and some unique paths) that leaders they meet have taken to arrive in leadership positions
  • How to apply principles of leadership in team projects

Who is involved?

Each year, we select 12 of the best juniors or seniors in the College of Natural Resources and Environment to participate in our Leadership Institute. Students selected for the Leadership Institute take a 3-credit course each semester for one year, developing a wide array of leadership competencies. In between semesters, the students and instructors take a week-long trip to Richmond and Washington, D.C. to visit with leaders and policy makers in natural resources and the environment.

The Institute is led by Dr. Steve McMullin, an associate professor in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, who has been developing leadership skills of natural resource professionals for nearly 20 years, and Dr. Brian Bond, an associate professor in the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials. Numerous guest lecturers from the governmental and private sectors of natural resources will enrich the students’ learning of lessons about leadership.

Minimum Requirements for Students

To be eligible for the Leadership Institute, you must:

  • Be a junior or senior in any of the majors within the College of Natural Resources and Environment
  • Have a minimum cumulative grade point average at Virginia Tech of 3.0 or higher
  • Have the desire to lead and make a difference in conservation of natural resources and the environment
  • Deadline for application is 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, March 16, 2016.

How do I apply?

Applying is a simple 3-step process:

  1. Write a brief (no more than 2 pages) letter to Institute Director Steve McMullin, explaining why you want to participate in the CNRE Leadership Institute, how you hope to make a difference in conservation of natural resources and the environment, and what you hope to get out of the experience. 
  2. Attach an unofficial copy of your Virginia Tech transcript to the letter.
  3. Provide the name of an academic reference (your advisor or other VT faculty who knows you well) in your letter.

Application deadline is 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, March 16, 2016.

Applicants selected to participate will be notified by March 18, 2016.

Leadership Institute 2015-16 Cohort

Previous Cohorts

Leadership Institute Faculty Leaders

  •     Headshot of Steve L. McMullin
  • Steve L. McMullin
  • Associate Professor
  • (540) 231-8847
  • Fish & Wildlife Conservation (0321)
    Cheatham Hall, RM 108, 310 West Campus Drive
    Blacksburg, VA 24061


Leadership Institute Profile | 2015-16 Cohort (PDF | 1MB)

Leadership Institute teaches students key skills for natural resources professionals

    Spotlight on achievement

A dozen students are selected each year to participate in the College of Natural Resources and Environment's Leadership Institute and hone their leadership skills. It’s the nation’s only undergraduate program of its kind for natural resources professionals.

NSF highlights sustainable forest management

NSF highlights sustainable forest management

The NSF Center for Advanced Forestry Systems is an innovative partnership between Virginia Tech and other leading university forestry research programs across the U.S. that is working to improve the sustainability and productivity of planted forests.

Watch the video

Trane first to partner with Sustainability Institute

Trane employee on jobsite.

Trane, a worldwide provider of heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems, is lending its expertise and support to establish the Sustainability Institute at Virginia Tech. The company has recruited Virginia Tech graduates to its workforce for several decades.

Read the Spring Newsmagazine

    CNRE Newsmagazine Spring 2016

Select a Major

We have 11 majors for you to choose from and 15 options to specialize in. Select yours now and join us in bringing the future to nature.