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!
Food for the city – from the city
03.09.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO
How the forest copes with the summer heat
29.08.2018 | Universität Basel
Thin-film solar cells made of crystalline silicon are inexpensive and achieve efficiencies of a good 14 percent. However, they could do even better if their shiny surfaces reflected less light. A team led by Prof. Christiane Becker from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has now patented a sophisticated new solution to this problem.
"It is not enough simply to bring more light into the cell," says Christiane Becker. Such surface structures can even ultimately reduce the efficiency by...
A study in the journal Bulletin of Marine Science describes a new, blood-red species of octocoral found in Panama. The species in the genus Thesea was discovered in the threatened low-light reef environment on Hannibal Bank, 60 kilometers off mainland Pacific Panama, by researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (STRI) and the Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR) at the University of Costa Rica.
Scientists established the new species, Thesea dalioi, by comparing its physical traits, such as branch thickness and the bright red colony color, with the...
Scientists have succeeded in observing the first long-distance transfer of information in a magnetic group of materials known as antiferromagnets.
An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome, providing the research community with an invaluable resource to decode the response of fish to...
Graphene is considered a promising candidate for the nanoelectronics of the future. In theory, it should allow clock rates up to a thousand times faster than today’s silicon-based electronics. Scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) and the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE), in cooperation with the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P), have now shown for the first time that graphene can actually convert electronic signals with frequencies in the gigahertz range – which correspond to today’s clock rates – extremely efficiently into signals with several times higher frequency. The researchers present their results in the scientific journal “Nature”.
Graphene – an ultrathin material consisting of a single layer of interlinked carbon atoms – is considered a promising candidate for the nanoelectronics of the...
03.09.2018 | Event News
27.08.2018 | Event News
17.08.2018 | Event News
18.09.2018 | Materials Sciences
18.09.2018 | Materials Sciences
18.09.2018 | Information Technology