Event Title

Training Generalist Practitioners in Conservation Leadership for the 21st Century: How Can Universities Contribute?

Location

Assembly Hall

Event Website

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

Start Date

26-3-2010 3:30 PM

End Date

26-3-2010 4:00 PM

Description

The natural resource conservation field is in need of leaders who can tackle the increasingly complex and multi‐dimensional conservation problems facing society. The U.S. and the world face incredible challenges and opportunities including climate change, habitat destruction, biodiversity loss, balancing livelihood goals and conservation, energy security, and environmental justice. How can we be more effective in preparing leaders to tackle these issues? In most cases, University curricula in natural resources are focused on providing deep disciplinary grounding that leads to strong technical skills and understanding. But this may not be the best approach to training leaders that require broad systems‐level thinking and who have a perspective on the interlocking social, biological and physical elements of natural resource issues. In recognition of this situation, we propose an educational approach for training conservation generalist practitioners (CGPs) not technical specialists. CGPs will have a strong foundation in science, leadership, and management. These generalist practitioners will be prepared to engage in cross‐disciplinary problem solving, to work in cross‐cultural and cross‐boundary contexts, and to be comfortable with and skilled at operating in an environment of increasing complexity and uncertainty. To train this next generation of conservation leaders, we are proposing a new approach to education. We propose a pedagogical approach to create systems thinking by teaching disciplines in a problem‐based learning format organized into a conservation‐development practice framework. Students will learn the trans‐disciplinary coordination required to take effective action as they are trained to become generalist practitioners who tackle problems across disciplines and use this knowledge to develop effective real‐world solutions. In this presentation, we describe our framework for training conservation generalist practitioners. We will provide a theoretical methodological and case study justification for our approach which provides (a) transdisciplinary (integrating the breadth and diversity of social and ecological aspects of environmental decision making), (b) problem based, and (c) resilience/systems thinking approaches to learning. The presentation will describe our demonstration of this educational approach that will occur in 2010. In this program, masters students will engage in educational activities and field work in both the US and in Mexico and will be involved with practitioners in the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico. The presentation will conclude with an overview of how we propose evaluating this program and speculations on how we will evolve over time.

Comments

Citation: Newman, P., R. Finchum, M. Manfredo, J. GOldstein, C. Pozo, R.M. VIdal. 2010. Training generalist practitioners in conservation leadership for the 21st century: how can universitites contribute. UENR Biennial Conference, Session Innovations in Pedagogy, Improving Understanding, Paper Number 1. http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cuenr/Sessions/Understanding/1/.

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Mar 26th, 3:30 PM Mar 26th, 4:00 PM

Training Generalist Practitioners in Conservation Leadership for the 21st Century: How Can Universities Contribute?

Assembly Hall

The natural resource conservation field is in need of leaders who can tackle the increasingly complex and multi‐dimensional conservation problems facing society. The U.S. and the world face incredible challenges and opportunities including climate change, habitat destruction, biodiversity loss, balancing livelihood goals and conservation, energy security, and environmental justice. How can we be more effective in preparing leaders to tackle these issues? In most cases, University curricula in natural resources are focused on providing deep disciplinary grounding that leads to strong technical skills and understanding. But this may not be the best approach to training leaders that require broad systems‐level thinking and who have a perspective on the interlocking social, biological and physical elements of natural resource issues. In recognition of this situation, we propose an educational approach for training conservation generalist practitioners (CGPs) not technical specialists. CGPs will have a strong foundation in science, leadership, and management. These generalist practitioners will be prepared to engage in cross‐disciplinary problem solving, to work in cross‐cultural and cross‐boundary contexts, and to be comfortable with and skilled at operating in an environment of increasing complexity and uncertainty. To train this next generation of conservation leaders, we are proposing a new approach to education. We propose a pedagogical approach to create systems thinking by teaching disciplines in a problem‐based learning format organized into a conservation‐development practice framework. Students will learn the trans‐disciplinary coordination required to take effective action as they are trained to become generalist practitioners who tackle problems across disciplines and use this knowledge to develop effective real‐world solutions. In this presentation, we describe our framework for training conservation generalist practitioners. We will provide a theoretical methodological and case study justification for our approach which provides (a) transdisciplinary (integrating the breadth and diversity of social and ecological aspects of environmental decision making), (b) problem based, and (c) resilience/systems thinking approaches to learning. The presentation will describe our demonstration of this educational approach that will occur in 2010. In this program, masters students will engage in educational activities and field work in both the US and in Mexico and will be involved with practitioners in the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico. The presentation will conclude with an overview of how we propose evaluating this program and speculations on how we will evolve over time.

http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cuenr/Sessions/Understanding/1