Event Title

Out Standing in Left Field: Disciplinary Boundaries in Undergraduate Forestry & Natural Resources Education

Presenter Information

Sarah Vonhof

Location

LaSells Stewart Center

Event Website

http://uenr.forestry.oregonstate.edu/

Start Date

14-3-2008 3:30 PM

End Date

14-3-2008 4:00 PM

Description

“Left field” implies something far from mainstream. In forest and natural resources education, biophysical science is the mainstream discipline. Biophysical sciences provide the knowledge to achieve desired forest and natural resource management goals. But an education that prepares students for successful careers must also provide understanding of the social context of forestry and natural resources. Social sciences and humanities are out-— standing in the left field of forestry. A preliminary analysis of one hundred and eighteen accredited undergraduate forestry curricula at forty-four institutions revealed that there are few upper division requirements in the social sciences and humanities. Sixty one percent of curricula require only one or two courses, usually in economics and/or policy. Just one fourth of curricula require an upper division course in the humanities. Law, history, ethics, conflict management, sociology, and human dimensions are relevant topics that encompass the broader context of forestry and natural resources; but courses in these topics are seldom required. Are the social sciences and humanities in the left field of natural resources education? This study investigates the curricular requirements of undergraduate degree programs in forestry and natural resources management and analyzes these for their relative requirements among various disciplines at the upper division. Examining course requirements in biophysical science, social science, mathematics, management, and humanities, I evaluate which fields receive the most emphasis and which disciplines are under-represented. Undergraduate education in natural resources should embrace the variety of disciplines rather than designating some to left field. It is not only knowledge from biophysical science, but also from other disciplines that will empower forest and natural resource managers deal with people and grow into leaders with broader visions of their professional and societal roles.

Comments

Session #3: Recruiting and Retaining Students. Presentation for 7th Biennial Conference on University Education in Natural Resources, March 13-15, 2008, Corvallis, Oregon. Featured in the ScholarsArchive@OSU in Oregon State University. Suggested Citation: Vonhof, Sarah. 2008. Out standing in left field: disciplinary boundaries and undergraduate natural resources education. UENR 7th Biennial Conference, ScholarsArchive at Oregon State University. http://hdl.handle.net/1957/8145.

 
Mar 14th, 3:30 PM Mar 14th, 4:00 PM

Out Standing in Left Field: Disciplinary Boundaries in Undergraduate Forestry & Natural Resources Education

LaSells Stewart Center

“Left field” implies something far from mainstream. In forest and natural resources education, biophysical science is the mainstream discipline. Biophysical sciences provide the knowledge to achieve desired forest and natural resource management goals. But an education that prepares students for successful careers must also provide understanding of the social context of forestry and natural resources. Social sciences and humanities are out-— standing in the left field of forestry. A preliminary analysis of one hundred and eighteen accredited undergraduate forestry curricula at forty-four institutions revealed that there are few upper division requirements in the social sciences and humanities. Sixty one percent of curricula require only one or two courses, usually in economics and/or policy. Just one fourth of curricula require an upper division course in the humanities. Law, history, ethics, conflict management, sociology, and human dimensions are relevant topics that encompass the broader context of forestry and natural resources; but courses in these topics are seldom required. Are the social sciences and humanities in the left field of natural resources education? This study investigates the curricular requirements of undergraduate degree programs in forestry and natural resources management and analyzes these for their relative requirements among various disciplines at the upper division. Examining course requirements in biophysical science, social science, mathematics, management, and humanities, I evaluate which fields receive the most emphasis and which disciplines are under-represented. Undergraduate education in natural resources should embrace the variety of disciplines rather than designating some to left field. It is not only knowledge from biophysical science, but also from other disciplines that will empower forest and natural resource managers deal with people and grow into leaders with broader visions of their professional and societal roles.

http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cuenr/7thBiennial/Sessions/6