Location

Cascades

Event Website

http://www.cpe.vt.edu/cuenr/index.html

Start Date

26-3-2010 2:30 PM

End Date

26-3-2010 3:00 PM

Description

Undergraduate enrollment in agriculture and natural resources‐related programs has steadily declined for the past decade or more. College administrators and faculty struggle to separate the real causes of this decline from the superficial and often mythical factors. How programs should address this decline is of similar concern. Rather than speculate on why students do not pursue a degree in a natural resources field, specifically fisheries and wildlife (FW), we decided to investigate the question of FW student retention from the perspective of the students themselves. Specifically, we wanted to know: (a) Why do students say they chose to leave the FW program at MSU? (b) Why did students who persisted in program say they chose to stay? and (c) What reasons did transfer students give for choosing FW as a major? We conducted a series of face‐to‐face interviews with these three groups of students, and asked them a series of 10‐14 questions related to their experiences in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Michigan State University in an effort to better understand student reasons for leaving, persisting, and immigrating into the program. Although our project is just beginning, preliminary results offer some interesting insights into the departure puzzle. Specific, but limited, findings from interviewees include: (a) the importance of job prospects and earnings potential, (b) a general reluctance to pursue postgraduate education, (c) a degree of disillusionment at the relative lack of outdoor experiences offered by the program in classroom and extracurricular activities, and (d) a desire for more active participation and field experiences in the undergraduate program. Several students in this study told us that they selected FW out of a desire to spend more time in the field, and were disappointed this was frequently not the case. Some students expressed a general feeling of deception at the realities of the departmental curriculum, although these were poorly defined and may be the product of other issues such as unrealistic program expectations. This ongoing study has the potential to inform natural resource programs on techniques to attract, retain, and educate undergraduate students.

Comments

Citation: Millenbah, K.F., B.HK Wolter, R.A. Montgomery, J.W. Schneider. 2010. Factors affecting retention of undergraduate students in fisheries and wildlife programs. UENR Biennial Conference, Session Recruitment and Enrollment, Paper Number 3. http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cuenr/Sessions/Recruitment/3/.

 
Mar 26th, 2:30 PM Mar 26th, 3:00 PM

Factors Affecting Retention of Undergraduate Students in Fisheries and Wildlife Programs

Cascades

Undergraduate enrollment in agriculture and natural resources‐related programs has steadily declined for the past decade or more. College administrators and faculty struggle to separate the real causes of this decline from the superficial and often mythical factors. How programs should address this decline is of similar concern. Rather than speculate on why students do not pursue a degree in a natural resources field, specifically fisheries and wildlife (FW), we decided to investigate the question of FW student retention from the perspective of the students themselves. Specifically, we wanted to know: (a) Why do students say they chose to leave the FW program at MSU? (b) Why did students who persisted in program say they chose to stay? and (c) What reasons did transfer students give for choosing FW as a major? We conducted a series of face‐to‐face interviews with these three groups of students, and asked them a series of 10‐14 questions related to their experiences in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Michigan State University in an effort to better understand student reasons for leaving, persisting, and immigrating into the program. Although our project is just beginning, preliminary results offer some interesting insights into the departure puzzle. Specific, but limited, findings from interviewees include: (a) the importance of job prospects and earnings potential, (b) a general reluctance to pursue postgraduate education, (c) a degree of disillusionment at the relative lack of outdoor experiences offered by the program in classroom and extracurricular activities, and (d) a desire for more active participation and field experiences in the undergraduate program. Several students in this study told us that they selected FW out of a desire to spend more time in the field, and were disappointed this was frequently not the case. Some students expressed a general feeling of deception at the realities of the departmental curriculum, although these were poorly defined and may be the product of other issues such as unrealistic program expectations. This ongoing study has the potential to inform natural resource programs on techniques to attract, retain, and educate undergraduate students.

http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cuenr/Sessions/Recruitment/3