Government shutdown impacting research projects at UWSP

STEVENS POINT (WSAW) -- According to faculty at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, the ripple effect from the government shutdown is now impacting graduate and undergraduate students enrolled at the College of Natural Resources.

Since the federal government has been shut down, two federally funded scientists who teach courses and oversee multiple research projects through the university have been unable to work.

“We have 20 to 25 research projects that are active an ongoing,” explained Brian Sloss, Associate Dean for Outreach and Extension. “Although the unit scientists are federally funded, we consider them faculty. They mentor our students, they lead our projects, they do research and they oversee staff,” Sloss added.

Throughout the winter break students have been unable to work with the unit scientist who oversees their ongoing projects. If the shutdown continues past winter break, the college may be forced to cancel a spring semester course which could dramatically impact a student’s course of study.

“We do a lot of collaborative research with that part of the staff,” included Professor Justin VanDeHey. “It’s tough not to have them around to work on projects and pick each other’s brain.”

The College of Natural Resources at UWSP is one of the largest in the nation and staff are working hard to ensure all courses and research projects that are funded by the federal government continue.

“As a staff, we will step up and help mentor the graduate and undergraduate students if the unit scientists aren't able to come back to work," VanDeHey said.

Research projects for this school year were paid in full at the beginning of the government fiscal year. Staff tell NewsChannel 7 that these projects will continue despite the government shutdown.

Nearly 300 undergraduate students are enrolled in the Fisheries and Water Resources and are expected to return from winter break on January 22, 2019. These student courses will not be impacted by the government shutdown.