Enter College Woods on a brilliant fall day and be prepared to see students and Professor Matthew Chagnon up in the trees for their Arboriculture course. Taking students into the woods is what Matt's courses are designed to accomplish. As a Professor of Forest Technology, Matt's philosophy of teaching infuses the practical application of the academic knowledge in each class or lab session he holds.
It is not enough to understand the science of forestry for Matt's students; they must be engaged with the living trees and the ecosystems they are a part of, especially in this salient New England industry. He helps students understand the need to be technologically savvy in the 21st century discipline of forestry by incorporating tools such as tablets, GPS, GIS and hand-held data collectors; however, students still need to find their way out of the forest using a compass!
Matt is equally passionate and enthusiastic about his discipline and his undergraduate students. His students claim he is awesome and when the students aren't in class, they are more than likely found outside of his office just seeking interactions with Matt. As one student wrote in his nomination, "I love studying everything I can in school if Matt is the teacher!"
By: Regina A. Smick-Attisano, Executive Director, Thompson School of Applied Science