TOC Next Page


DISCIPLINE SPECIALIST

Essential Competencies

ENTRY/DEVELOPMENTAL LEVELS

SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE

Description: This competency involves knowledge of basic ecological and scientific principles, with advanced knowledge in a natural resource discipline (biological or physical science) and the ability to apply this information to NPS natural resource issues under supervision or guidance.

Essential Elements

A. Basic ecological principles
B. Scientific principles
C. Discipline of advanced expertise
D. Currency in area of expertise
E. Application of knowledge to issues

Knowledge, Skills and Abiliites

Working knowledge of a natural resource discipline and currency in the field

Basic knowledge of ecological principles

Ability to review and understand results of research done elsewhere for possible relevancy to park natural resource issues

Knowledge of basic scientific principles

Ability to apply standard or existing sampling and research design and quality assurance/control techniques

SCIENTIFIC METHOD

Description: This competency involves a knowledge of scientific approaches and methods relevant to the management of natural resources and the ability to apply them to answer questions about NPS natural resource issues.

Essential Elements

A. Working knowledge of the concepts and methods of scientific inquiry
B. Expertise and experience in the application of scientific methods

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Ability to propose relevant scientific approaches to natural resource management activities and problem-solving

Ability to follow basic scientific methods in conducting inventory, monitoring, and applied research projects

Ability to design studies, gather data, and present results of studies in the field of expertise

With assistance, ability to design sampling protocols outside field of expertise

Basic knowledge and proficiency in field skills and measurements

Ability to assist in analyzing data from on-going studies or studies designed by someone else

Ability to reliably collect, computer input, and summarize natural resource data

NPS RESOURCE STEWARDSHIP

Description: This competency involves the ability to effectively apply basic interpretations of laws, policies, regulations, and guidelines, in concert with scientific knowledge to protect park resources and natural systems.

Essential Elements

A. NPS mission, organization, programs, policies, guidelines, and budget process
B. Department of Interior and other natural resource agency missions and programs
C. Basic environmental laws, applicable federal regulations, and park and local regulations and policies
D. Application of scientific concepts and findings to specific problems and management actions

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Basic knowledge of NPS history, mission, goals, guidelines, and policies

Basic knowledge of the resource missions of the Department of Interior, other DOI bureaus, and other Federal and State resource agencies

Basic knowledge of general environmental laws

Basic knowledge of resource restoration and mitigation in area of expertise

Ability to incorporate scientific information in management actions, policy development, interaction with other resource managers

Ability to apply standard approaches to problem-solving in areas where established policy or guidance exists

Ability to integrate scientific knowledge and knowledge of environmental law to identify threats to natural resources and be proactive to protect natural systems using standardized approaches

PLANNING AND COMPLIANCE

Description: This competency involves the ability to apply scientific knowledge in defining resource issues, in proposing alternative management strategies, and in evaluating them in terms of their effects on natural resources and compliance with environmental laws and regulations.

Essential Elements

A. Issue identification and risk assessment
B. Environmental law
C. NPS planning process

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Basic knowledge of how to use scientific information to recognize, appraise, and describe natural resource issues and management conflicts

Basic ability to help formulate possible alternative management strategies

Awareness of risk assessment methodologies and basic ability to evaluate, in scientific terms, potential resource impacts from identified management needs/proposed management actions

Basic awareness of environmental laws, compliance requirements, regulations, executive orders, and policies related to respective resource discipline

Ability to assist in the development of various management strategies and formal plans to address resource issues

PROFESSIONAL CREDIBILITY

Description: This competency involves not only scientific knowledge and abilities and but also contributions to science and scientific endeavors which are recognized by peers in government agencies and the academic community as providing a solid foundation and leadership in the level and type of natural resources work performed.

Essential Elements

A. Professional Interaction
B. Dissemination of Scientific Information
C. Participation in Peer Review Process
D. Currency in Field of Expertise

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Ability to develop an active network of professional interaction with peers in the scientific community

Ability to publish articles in peer-reviewed publications and/or make presentations at scientific meetings

Ability to maintain a level of scientific knowledge and skill in application that is recognized by peers in government agencies and the academic community as credible and providing a basic foundation for work performed

Ability to carry out peer review of scientific reports, and to participate in developmental assignments as a member of teams reviewing natural resource programs

Demonstrated ability to maintain currency of technical/scientific knowledge

COMMUNICATION

Descripton: This competency involves the ability to effectively communicate natural resource information to diverse audiences through a variety of media.

Essential Elements

A. Technical and scientific writing and editing
B. Public speaking and technical and scientific presentations
C. Facility with computers and word processing and other computer software
D. Familiarity with data handling and data management programs

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Ability to write natural resource action plans, sections of agency documents and technical reports, in accordance with existing guidelines and subject to review by others

Ability to organize and orally present technical and scientific information

Ability to present briefings to agency personnel and the visiting public

Ability to give off-site, public presentations on non-controversial issues

Ability to write and orally present management summaries of research information

Ability to use computers to communicate electronically

Ability to organize, store, and analyze data with computers

PROGRAM/PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Description: This competency involves the ability to apply scientific knowledge to plan, implement, and/or administer projects of limited scope in the area of expertise.

Essential Elements

A. Project development and planning
B. Grant proposal development
C. Development of agreements or contracts
D. Oversight of project implementation, including budgets
E. Project coordination and facilitation

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Ability to conceive and define project objectives in area of expertise and to develop basic work plans

Ability to draft proposals, funding requests, and requests for proposals

Basic knowledge of types of agreements and ability to draft simple agreements or contract outlines

Ability to draft and monitor project budgets, including the status of staff and fiscal resources

Ability to coordinate and facilitate groups or teams to accomplish resource management and research project objectives

Ability to monitor basic project implementation

JOURNEY LEVEL

SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE

Description: This competency involves knowledge of ecological and scientific principles, with advanced knowledge and experience in a natural resource discipline (biological or physical science) and the ability to apply this information to NPS natural resource issues.

Essential Elements

A. Ecological principles
B. Scientific principles
C. Discipline of advanced expertise
D. Currency in area of expertise
E. Synthesis and application of knowledge to issues

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Ability to serve as a technical expert based on advanced, current knowledge of a natural resource discipline

Working knowledge of ecological principles

Ability to evaluate the results of research, including published and unpublished results of research done elsewhere, for applicability to diverse park resource issues

Ability to synthesize information from a wide variety of sources, within area of expertise

SCIENTIFIC METHOD

Descripton: This competency involves the knowledge and the ability to apply sound scientific approaches and appropriate methods to resolve natural resource management issues, including the design and conduct of inventory, monitoring, and research projects.

Essential Elements

A. Working knowledge of the concepts and methods of scientific inquiry
B. Demonstrated expertise and working experience in the application of scientific methods

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Ability to apply appropriate scientific approaches to natural resource management activities and problem-solving

Ability to develop, to coordinate, and to conduct research, inventory, monitoring, and resource management projects based on scientific knowledge and using accepted protocols and current methods

Knowledge of and working experience in the application of established scientific methods and the ability to modify and adapt methodologies

Ability to evaluate adaptations of basic research designs and sampling methods and to implement quality assurance/control protocols

Working knowledge of and proficiency in field skills and measurements, including quality assurance/control protocols

Working knowledge of data management, analytical methods, and statistics

Knowledge of standard computer systems, uses, and applications, including database and statistical software packages

Ability and experience in collecting, storing (in electronic format), summarizing, and analyzing resource management data

NPS RESOURCE STEWARDSHIP

Description: This competency involves the ability to effectively apply a working knowledge of laws, policies, regulations, and guidelines, as well as knowledge of NPS programs, in concert with scientific knowledge to protect park resources and natural systems.

Essential Elements

A. NPS mission, organization, programs, policies, guidelines, and budget process
B. Department of Interior and other natural resource agency missions and programs, and the interaction with other organizations such as OMB
C. Basic environmental laws (including legislative histories), applicable federal regulations, and park and local regulations and policies
D. Application of scientific concepts and findings to specific problems and management actions

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Working knowledge of NPS history, mission, goals, guidelines, and policies

Basic knowledge of the missions, mandates, and programs of other Federal agencies such as OMB and GAO, as well as other laws which impact resource management such as the Federal Advisory Committee Act and the Freedom of Information Act

Thorough knowledge of general environmental laws and ability to apply them to the normal range of natural resource issues, including preparation of environmental planning documents

Thorough knowledge of law and policies, etc., related to subject matter expertise

Thorough knowledge of restoration and mitigation in area of expertise

Ability to incorporate scientific information into management actions, policies, etc., including application in the area of expertise where little or no clear precedent exists

Ability to develop innovative approaches to problem-solving in areas where limited established policy or guidance exists

Ability to use scientific knowledge to anticipate threats to natural resources and take proactive action to protect natural systems employing standardized approaches and approaches tailored to the situation

Ability to assess the effects of proposed natural resource management projects on other park programs and to incorporate all division disciplines into resource management planning documents and programs

Ability to advise crews working on resources management projects and to work with adjacent land managers or owners when appropriate

PLANNING AND COMPLIANCE

Description: This competency involves the ability to apply scientific knowledge to the identification and definition of natural resource issues; to develop and evaluate alternative resource management strategies in terms both of the effect on natural resources and their consistency with resource-related laws, regulations, policies, and guidelines; and to ensure that compliance requirements are met.

Essential Elements

A. Issue identification and risk assessment
B. Environmental law
C. NPS planning process

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Demonstrated knowledge and ability to use scientific knowledge to define and assess complex NPS resource preservation/use issues in scientific terms

Ability to formulate and evaluate alternative management strategies related to area of expertise

Working knowledge of risk assessment and demonstrated ability to recognize and evaluate conflicts between resource preservation and management needs in scientific terms

Demonstrated ability to define information needs, including research, inventories, baseline studies, and follow-up monitoring

Comprehension of broad range of environmental laws, regulations, policies and other requirements related to natural resource planning and compliance

Good working knowledge of laws and compliance regulations, executive orders, policies and guidelines related to discipline of technical expertise

Working ability to develop management plans to address natural resource issues

Ability to work as a member of a multi-disciplinary team and to provide input related to area of expertise in the development of management plans and compliance documents

PROFESSIONAL CREDIBILITY

Description: This competency involves not only scientific knowledge and abilities and but also routine contributions to science and scientific endeavors which are recognized by peers in government agencies and the academic community as providing a strong foundation and vigorous leadership in the level and type of natural resources work performed.

Essential Elements

A. Professional Interaction
B. Presentation of Scientific Information
C. Publication of Scientific Information
D. Participation in Peer Review Process
E. Currency in Field of Expertise

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Demonstrated ability and skill in developing and maintaining a network of peers in the scientific community for routine professional interaction

Demonstrated ability to routinely publish articles in peer-reviewed publications and to present scientific information at scientific meetings

Demonstrated ability to maintain levels of scientific knowledge and skills in application that are recognized by peers in government agencies and the academic community as credible and providing a strong foundation for work performed

Recognized ability to carry out peer review of scientific reports, publications, projects, and natural resource programs

Demonstrated ability to maintain currency of technical/scientific knowledge

COMMUNICATION

Description: This competency involves the ability to effectively communicate complex or technical natural resource information to diverse audiences, including NPS decision-makers, through a wide variety of media.

Essential Elements

A. Technical and scientific writing; editing using appropriate guidelines
B. Public speaking and technical and scientific presentations
C. Proficiency with computers
D. Proficiency with word processing, graphics, and other computer software
E. Familiarity with data handling and data management programs

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Ability to write complex scientific and technical reports suitable for publication in peer-reviewed journals, as well as internal resource management documents

Ability to give complex scientific and technical presentations at professional conferences and meetings

Ability to organize and synthesize complex information from a variety of sources

Ability to effectively communicate complex scientific information to NPS managers and other non-specialists, using a variety of media

Ability to interpret complex issues for lay audiences, using a variety of media

Proficiency in using electronic communications

Proficiency in using computers to organize, store, and analyze data

Ability to use computer graphics programs to facilitate the written and oral presentation of scientific material

PROGRAM/PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Descritpion: This competency involves the ability to apply knowledge of scientific concepts and NPS programs to plan, implement, and/or administer projects in the area of expertise.

Essential Elements

A. Project development and planning
B. Grant proposal development and evaluation
C. Development of agreements and contracts
D. Oversight of project implementation, including budgets
E. Project coordination and facilitation

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Ability to identify needs and set priorities within area of expertise, including facilitation of group efforts to define and prioritize broader resource management and research needs

Ability to set short- and long-term goals, and to develop work plans

Ability to prepare proposals, funding requests, and requests for proposals

Working knowledge of cooperative agreements, MOUs, contracting, and other agreement instruments

Ability to seek and obtain partners and funding from a variety of sources

Ability to develop and manage project budgets, including fiscal as well as staff resources

Knowledge of project administration

Ability to monitor project implementation

Knowledge and skill in interpersonal relationships

ADVANCED LEVEL

SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE

Descripton: This competency involves in-depth knowledge of ecological and scientific principles, with mastery and experience in a natural resource discipline (biological or physical science) and a demonstrated ability to skillfully apply this information to highly complex and potentially controversial NPS natural resource issues.

Essential Elements

A. Ecological principles
B. Scientific Principles
C. Discipline of advanced expertise
D. Currency in area of expertise
E. Synthesis and application of knowledge to complex issues

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Mastery level knowledge of a natural resource discipline such as that evidenced by an earned Ph.D, an MS/MA degree and 6 years of professional work, or the experience gained from 11 years of professional work in the field of expertise

In-depth knowledge of ecological principles and how they apply to park resources issues and management

Ability to evaluate the results of research, both published and unpublished, conducted in different ecosystems and to use and adapt those results to resolve diverse and complex park resource issues

Working knowledge of and experience in the application of general scientific principles and the ability to develop innovative new methods and applications

SCIENTIFIC METHOD

Descripton: This competency involves the knowledge and the ability to apply sound scientific approaches and appropriate methods to resolve natural resource management issues, including the design and conduct of complex inventory, monitoring, and research projects.

Essential Elements

A. Advanced knowledge of the concepts and methods of scientific inquiry
B. Demonstrated expertise and strong experience in the application of scientific methods

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Ability to apply state-of-the-knowledge scientific approaches to natural resource management activities and problem-solving

Ability to develop, to coordinate, and to conduct complex research, inventory, monitoring, and resource management projects based on advanced scientific knowledge and using innovative protocols and new methodologies

Ability to develop and evaluate innovative research designs and sampling strategies and to apply quality assurance/control protocols

Advanced knowledge and proficiency in field skills and measurements, including the ability and experience to design quality assurance protocols

In-depth knowledge of data management, analytical methods, and statistics

Knowledge of computer systems, uses, and applications, including database and statistical software packages

Ability and experience in collecting, computer inputting, summarizing, and analyzing resource management data

NPS RESOURCE STEWARDSHIP

Description: This competency involves the ability to effectively apply laws, policies, regulations, and guidelines, as well as a knowledge of NPS and other agency/institution's programs, including instances where limited precedent or specific guidance exists, in concert with scientific knowledge to protect park resources and natural systems.

Essential Elements

A. NPS mission, organization, programs, policies, guidelines, and budget process
B. Department of Interior and other natural resource agency missions and programs, and the interaction with other organizations such as OMB
C. Basic environmental laws (including legislative histories), applicable federal regulations, and park and local regulations and policies
D. Application of scientific concepts and findings to specific problems and management actions

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Thorough knowledge of NPS history, mission, goals, guidelines, and policies

Thorough knowledge of other Federal agencies such as OMB and GAO and related other laws which impact resource management

Advanced knowledge of environmental law and demonstrated ability to apply environmental laws to a broad range of natural resource issues

Advanced knowledge of law, regulations, and policies, etc., related to the integration of subject matter expertise into multi-disciplinary approaches to natural resource issues

Advanced knowledge of restoration and mitigation in area of expertise

Ability to synthesize and incorporate diverse scientific information into management actions, policies, etc., including application in the area of expertise where little or no clear precedent or guidance exists

Proficiency in developing innovative approaches to problem-solving in areas where little or no established policy or guidance exists

Demonstrated ability to use scientific knowledge to anticipate threats to natural resources and take proactive action to protect natural systems up to the ecosystem level employing standardized approaches and approaches tailored to the situation

Ability to use advanced scientific knowledge to anticipate threats to natural resources and take proactive action to protect natural systems employing innovative approaches and approaches tailored to the situation

Demonstrated ability to understand the likely effects of proposed natural resource management projects and programs on other park programs and to incorporate all divisions and disciplines into resource management planning documents and programs

Ability to lead crews working on resources management projects and to work effectively with adjacent land managers or owners, when appropriate, and other resource scientists

PLANNING AND COMPLIANCE

Description: This competency involves the ability to apply scientific knowledge to the identification and definition of complex natural resource issues; to develop and evaluate comprehensive alternative management strategies both in terms of the effect on natural resources and their consistency with resource-related laws, regulations, policies, and guidelines; and to ensure that compliance requirements are met.

Essential Elements

A. Issue identification and risk assessment
B. Environmental law
C. NPS planning process

Knowledge, Skills and Abillities

Advanced knowledge and demonstrated ability to use scientific knowledge to define and assess highly complex NPS resource preservation/use issues in scientific terms

Ability to formulate, apply, and continuously evaluate and refine alternative management strategies

Advanced knowledge and demonstrated skills in risk assessment, including the ability to recognize, evaluate, and characterize subtle (including cumulative) resource issues and conflicts with management needs and to define conflicts and risks in scientific terms

Recognized ability to define in-depth, complex information needs, including research, inventories, baseline studies, and long-term monitoring

Sound working knowledge of the broad range of environmental laws, regulations, executive orders, policies, and guidelines related to natural resources planning and compliance

Advanced knowledge of the laws, regulations, executive orders, policies, and guidelines related to discipline of technical expertise

Demonstrated ability to develop and implement management plans to address complex resource issues

Ability to assemble and lead a team working on a complex resource issue and to provide expert input related to discipline of expertise in the development of management plans and related compliance documents

PROFESSIONAL CREDIBILITY

Description: This competency involves not only scientific knowledge and abilities and but also routine, on-going contributions to science and scientific endeavors which are recognized by peers in government agencies and the academic community as providing a strong foundation and vigorous leadership in the advanced level of natural resources work performed.

Essential Elements

A. Professional Interaction
B. Presentation of Scientific Information
C. Publication of Scientific Information
D. Participation in Peer Review Process
E. Currency in Field of Expertise

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Demonstrated ability and skill in developing and maintaining a wide and diverse network of peers in the scientific community for routine professional interaction

Demonstrated ability to publish articles in peer-reviewed publications and to serve as an editor for publications and reports

Demonstrated ability to present scientific information at scientific meetings and to organize and chair workshops and seminars at meetings

Demonstrated ability to maintain levels of scientific knowledge and skills in application that are recognized by peers in government agencies and the academic community as credible and providing a strong foundation for work performed

Recognized ability to carry out peer review of scientific reports, publications, projects, and natural resource programs

Demonstrated ability to maintain currency of advanced technical/scientific knowledge

COMMUNICATION

Description: This competency involves a well-developed ability to effectively communicate highly complex, technical, or controversial natural resource information to diverse and sometimes hostile audiences through all available media. Consequential management decisions are made based on this communication.

Essential Elements

A. Advanced technical and scientific writing; editing using appropriate guidelines
B. Public speaking and technical and scientific presentations
C. Proficiency with computers
D. Proficiency with word processing, graphics, and other computer software
E. Proficiency with data handling and data management programs

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Ability to write complex scientific and technical documents dealing with advanced and highly technical natural resource information and issues

Ability to organize complex technical and scientific information and prepare briefings from which decisions are made by high-level agency personnel and Congress

Ability to effectively convey complex information concerning politicized or controversial issues to potentially hostile audiences

Ability to effectively negotiate, persuade, and resolve conflict

Ability to evaluate and synthesize information from conflicting sources

Ability to use sound judgment in drawing conclusions

PROGRAM/PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Description: This competency involves the ability to apply knowledge of scientific concepts and NPS programs to plan, implement, and/or administer complex natural resource projects.

Essential Elements

A. Project development and planning
B. Grant proposal development and evaluation
C. Development of agreements and contracts
D. Oversight of project implementation, including budgets
E. Project coordination and facilitation

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Ability to lead and coordinate groups to define resource management and research needs to address issues that are complex or with little precedent

Ability to develop innovative work plans for complex projects that involve multiple components and a need for careful coordination and sequencing

Ability to prepare complex proposals, innovative funding requests, and requests for proposals

Ability to prepare complex or innovative cooperative agreements, MOUs, and other agreement instruments

Demonstrated ability to successfully seek and arrange partnerships

Ability to develop and manage complex project budgets, including fiscal as well as staff resources

Ability to oversee and monitor implementation of complex projects

Demonstrated skill in interpersonal relationships

National Park Service
Training and Development Division
Essential Competencies
displnsp.htm

TOC Next Page