Dr. Riley is a professor in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, and a scientist in the Partnership for Ecosystem Research and Management (PERM), sponsored by the Wildlife Division of Michigan's Department of Natural Resources. In the Land Grant tradition at MSU, Dr. Riley has a three-way assignment in research, teaching, and outreach. Currently, he is also chairman of the graduate program in Fisheries and Wildlife.

At MSU, we conceptualize the system of wildlife management being comprised of three overlapping dimensions: habitats, wildlife organisms, and people. What drives Dr. Riley's day-to-day activitities is a desire to create more effective management of wildlife through increased knowledge and synthesis about human dimensions of the conservation enterprise. No matter where you are in the world, the work of conservation gets done through management in a framework of governance. That fact necessitates better information about people and understanding of their interactions with wildlife, and the systems within which those interactions occur and are governed.

Current research projects include: extent and effect of game meat consumption under various forms of governance in the US and Sweden; causal factors in the decline of deer hunting in Michigan; human tolerance of wildlife in suburban settings; public trust and confidence in state wildlife agencies; and, assessment of a long-standing game management cooperative in Pennsylvania. His active outreach program works to improve capacity of resource agencies to make effective decisions, and professional development of agency personnel. Dr. Riley's regular classroom teaching is a required upper division course, Human Dimensions of Fisheries and Wildlife.


Shawn earned a PhD from Cornell University (1998) in Wildlife Science (minors: Resource Policy Analysis and Management, and Environmental Economics), a MS (1982) in Fish and Wildlife Management and a BSc (1980) in Biological Sciences from Montana State University.

Professional Progression:

Dr. Riley came to Michigan State University in 2001 from Cornell, where he was a Research Associate in the Human Dimensions Research Unit and a Lecturer in the Department of Natural Resources. He spent 2009-2010 as a Senior Fulbright Fellow and Guest Professor in the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences at Umeå. Prior to his doctoral studies, Shawn served 16 years as a summer field worker, lab tech, graduate research assistant, research biologist, wildlife management biologist, and statewide program biologist for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. He is a Certified Wildlife Biologist (1989) and active participant in The Wildlife Society.