A troublesome trend is occurring at colleges and universities around the country: fewer students are graduating with degrees in natural resource related degree programs. As a result, the number of qualified professionals to manage fish and wildlife programs is dwindling.
What is even more troubling is that nationally, the percentage of students enrolling in the major has increased. For reasons unknown, students have been leaving the natural resource degree path after enrollment to pursue other degrees. Finding cause for the steady decline in student interest was the focus of a Michigan State University study, published in the January 2011 issue of the Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education.
After interviewing students that had been enrolled in a fish and wildlife degree program, but had left to pursue another major at Michigan State, researchers identified seven categories for student departure. All the interviews were conducted in the same manner, using the same questions.
Engagement and employment were two themes identified by researchers. Previous research indicates students dislike lecture-based learning classes and prefer a more active learning environment. However, fish and wildlife students felt they had little to no access hands on experiences or field work. At the same time, many of the students believed that finding a job after graduation would be difficult, unless they received a masters or Ph.D.
Academic rigor and awareness of the major were also included in the seven categories. Students who left admitted they were not expecting face paced, advanced math and science pre-requisite courses, nor did they understand the relevancy of such courses. Even students that were academically competitive in high school found these courses to be a challenging task. Many students had not even heard of the major until visiting campus or while enrolling in classes. Others simply equated it to be being like a biologist on television, walking through nature and easily finding animals to study.
Although programmatic quality and experience as well as motivation ranked high on importance with students that left the major, almost none of the students being interviewed had any negative comments about the actual fish and wildlife courses. In fact, many were impressed with the close relationships formed with the professor and the students due to the majors smaller class sizes. While some students cited a past connection with the wilderness or experience in outdoor recreation as motivation for picking the major, leaving the major had not changed their views of the natural world.
"Understanding what motivates students to pursue natural resources careers has far reaching implications for both university programs and management and any attempt to address these issues is a step in the right direction regarding student retention. However, failure to address these issues will likely perpetuate the dwindling enrollments of natural resources programs," says Bjørn Wolter, one of the authors of the study.
Wolter hopes the study will motivate schools across the country to develop strategies aimed at increasing enrollment in natural resource related majors.
Sara Uttech | EurekAlert!
Climate change, population growth may lead to open ocean aquaculture
05.10.2017 | Oregon State University
New machine evaluates soybean at harvest for quality
04.10.2017 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
20.10.2017 | Information Technology
20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research