Navigation Links
Restructuring natural resource majors

Madison, WI FEBRUARY 3, 2011 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 Bjrn 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.


Contact: Sara Uttech
American Society of Agronomy

Related biology news :

1. ActiveCare, Inc. Announces Capital Raise Commitment and Balance Sheet Restructuring
2. SLU research implicates natural toxin as triggering Parkinsons disease
3. Eggs are now naturally lower in cholesterol
4. Scripps Research scientist discovers natural molecule indirectly prevents stable clot formation
5. In scientific first, researchers visualize naturally occurring mRNA
6. Natural dissolved organic matter plays dual role in cycling of mercury
7. Researchers discover how natural drug fights inflammation
8. Natural reforestation in southern Pyrenees favors orchid
9. New initiative to develop a system that controls prosthetic limbs naturally
10. Natural compound shows promise against Huntingtons disease
11. Morrison Natural History Museum discovers baby sauropod tracks
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/10/2015)... , Nov. 10, 2015 ... biometrics that helps to identify and verify the ... is considered as the secure and accurate method ... of a particular individual because each individual,s signature ... results especially when dynamic signature of an individual ...
(Date:11/4/2015)... 4, 2015 --> ... published by Transparency Market Research "Home Security Solutions Market - ... 2015 - 2022", the global home security solutions market is expected ... 2022. The market is estimated to expand at a ... to 2022. Rising security needs among customers at homes, ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... Oct. 29, 2015  The J. Craig Venter Institute ... "DNA Synthesis and Biosecurity: Lessons Learned and Options for ... Health and Human Services guidance for synthetic biology providers ... --> --> Synthetic ... the potential to pose unique biosecurity threats. It now ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... ... Global Stem Cells Group announced the opening of a new core patient care hub ... northern Chile. The facilities are part of GSCG’s expansion efforts in Latin America. , ... cell medicine to patients from around the world. , The clinics will be headed by ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... /PRNewswire/ - BioAmber Inc. (NYSE: BIOA ), a leader in ... Business Act on Climate Pledge, alongside more than 140 companies ... Obama Administration to demonstrate an ongoing commitment to climate action ... COP21 Paris climate negotiations. ... Canada . --> BioAmber uses biotechnology to ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... 2015  Culprits beware, a University at Albany ... Halámek, is taking crime scene fingerprint identification to ... -->   --> ... --> --> Halámek and his ... straightforward concept for identifying whether a culprit is ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , Nov. 30, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Zenith Epigenetics Corp. ("Zenith" ... Norman C.W. Wong to its Board of Directors ... to Zenith with a wealth of experience as co-founder of ... biology. --> --> Dr. ... Epigenetics, board of directors. Zenith,s long standing expertise in epigenetics ...
Breaking Biology Technology: