A New Undergraduate Degree for Forest Ecosystems & Society

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1 A New Undergraduate Degree for Forest Ecosystems & Society

2 Motivations & Rationale Prepare students for careers or advanced degrees requiring depth & breadth of skills to operate in settings integrating natural & social sciences Provide a program that leverages disciplinary strengths & interdisciplinary breadth of FES Provide FES faculty undergraduate instruction & mentoring opportunities to educate future leaders (Dean Maness: all faculty should teach ) Budget & justification for future hires & expansion (OSU administration: hires must be linked to educational programs, tuition is by far the largest part of revenue)

3 Current Undergraduate Programs Recreation Resource Management: full time students, graduates per year, declining & possibly be reduced to a minor Tourism & Outdoor Leadership: OSU Cascades Natural Resources: supported & offered by Colleges of Agricultural Science, Forestry, Liberal Arts, & Science (not a FES degree )

4 Motivations & Rationale Sharik & colleagues (2008, 2011): suggestions for new natural resource oriented degrees Outdoors & nature; experiential learning opportunities Conservation, integration, suite of natural resources Global perspectives Interesting & contentious topics; work with stakeholders Active marketing & awareness Attractive to all (including females, minorities, veterans) Diversity / range of interesting job opportunities Agencies hiring natural resource generalists than specialists

5 Focus Groups of CoF Students Undergrad (FM, RRM, NR) & graduate (SFM, FES) Why chose here: reputation, funding, applied ecology, society, multiple disciplines, broad Likes: hands on, skill building, advisors, online Would change: more hands on, skill building, writing & presentation skills, technology skills New degree wants: social aspects, more expert professors, smaller classes, job oriented degree, integrated capstone, work experience, field classes, study abroad, required minor, more rigor, fully integrated approach in classes, prepare for grad school, beyond forests, program flexibility, advisors who inform about grad school ideas

6 Surveys of CoF Students 337 past & current students (NR, FM, RRM, TOL, FE/CE, FOM, FE) Why chose: reputation, outdoors, do something important, protect natural resources, get a job Likes: breadth of topics, faculty / staff, labs, family atmosphere, online availability Would change: workload, more field experiences, connections with other stakeholders, NR too broad Must have s to attend : reputation, innovative programs, connections to agencies, partnerships with conservation organizations, comprehensive curriculum inclusive of all facets related to forests

7 A New Degree in FES Tentative name (B.S.): Ecosystems and Society Basic Structure: Baccalaureate Core: physical sciences (e.g., physics, chemistry, biology), social sciences (e.g., sociology, political science, communication) foundations Integrated Core: all students disciplinary foundation & interdisciplinary breadth: ecosystem / physical sciences, human ecosystem interactions, economics, policy & management, ecosystem services Introductory small seminar style classes Large introductory degree discovery classes, with some linked to Baccalaureate core (e.g., STS, CGI)

8 A New Degree in FES Tentative Disciplinary Tracks: Ecosystem Sciences. Example topic areas: conservation biology, landscape ecology, genetics / physiology, restoration, climate change, carbon, soils, wildfire, pests, ecosystem health Human Ecosystem Interactions. Example topic areas: community development, livelihoods, policy, recreation, nature based tourism, human dimensions of wildlife, communication, interpretation, resource economics

9 A New Degree in FES Within Classes: disciplinary depth / strength & also interdisciplinary systems thinking breadth Integrated Systems Classes: all students take at least one class per year together focusing on an integrated ecosystem problem / issue, leadership, communication, & collaboration Integrated Capstone: all students together to evaluate a large local (e.g., protected area, life cycle analysis) or global landscape scale issue (e.g., climate change, poverty, population growth, resource depletion) integrating models, tools, & theories from each track; leadership; communication; & collaboration

10 Track Human Ecosystem Interactions Track Ecosystem Sciences Final Integrated Capstone (year 4) within and between class disciplinary strength and integrated / interdisciplinary systems thinking Year 4 Year 4 Integrated Systems Classes Year 3 Year 3 Integrated Systems Classes Year 2 Year 2 Integrated Systems Classes within and between class disciplinary strength and integrated / interdisciplinary systems thinking FES Core (year 1 2) Bacc Core (year 1)

11 A New Degree in FES Other Characteristics: On campus and E Campus full degree availability (needs to be equally rigorous & consistent in content) Not just forests (interconnections among resources) Experiential, field based opportunities (e.g., field school) Non credit work experience requirement (often summer) Innovative courses (e.g., team teach, short course, hybrids) Techniques classes (e.g., GIS, data analysis, sampling) Opportunities to understand, engage in scientific research Active student club with faculty participation International opportunities & scope (e.g., study abroad) Encourage a second language, perhaps as a minor Required minor for each track

12 A New Degree in FES Why a required minor? Strengthens the major, direct synergies & complementary to degree core & tracks Students more competitive in market & for graduate school (e.g., MS, MBA) Recognizable & transcript visible Builds flexibility & diversity into degree Strengthens ties across campus Less in house administrative time & oversight

13 A New Degree in FES Goals & Guiding Principles students should: Have depth of knowledge in one specific disciplinary track Have broad knowledge in both disciplinary tracks Apply this knowledge of complex integrated socio ecological systems to develop, implement, & evaluate resource management issues Possess a professional perspective recognizing & integrating these systems into a problem based scientific approach to management & policy Think creatively & critically about complex socio ecological problems. This includes thinking, evaluating, & working with an interconnected systems approach Apply knowledge of scientific principles & processes for problem solving & have a foundation to become an effective contributor to scientific knowledge Understand legal, political, socio cultural, & economic contexts in resource issues, & differentiate these from scientific principles

14 A New Degree in FES Goals & Guiding Principles students should: Think quantitatively & qualitatively, & apply these tools to large amounts of data to answer complex questions Understand & apply a suite of field, laboratory, computer, & other technical approaches for researching, communicating about, & managing resource systems Assess limits of their knowledge, determine who possesses relevant knowledge, & seek & work with these experts Work collaboratively with a broad diversity of resource stakeholders to achieve their needs alongside needs of complex socio ecological systems Work collaboratively with other students. Learn & implement leadership & team building skills when working with others Effectively communicate in written, oral, visual, & electronic formats Recognize the need to continue being lifelong learners of multiple interrelated disciplines

15 General Program Structure Total credits: 180 credit hours Baccalaureate Core: credit hours Minor: 27 credit hours Integrated Systems Courses: 16 credit hours Upper Division Courses: 60 credit hours Remaining: core, free or restricted electives

16 Overall Benefits More contemporary, integrated, cutting edge More marketable & relevant, locally & globally Retains ecosystems & society in name given interest in similarly named graduate program International / global aspects should help boost the number of nonresident students More learning opportunities for students that provides a broader & more relevant skillset

17 Student Employment Target audience (employment, graduate school): Domestic & international local, state, federal agencies NGOs (e.g., Ecotrust, The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, WWF) Companies (e.g., Wallowa Resources, Weyerhauser) International organizations (e.g., USAID, IUCN, UNESCO, UNEP, World Bank) Graduate school

18 Compared to Other OSU Programs Reviewed 6 resource related degree majors Most have no large focus on research (except Bioresources [option in Env. Sciences]) A few claim interdisciplinary (e.g., Env. Sciences, Natural Resources), but no explicitly integrated classes where students & topics fully combined Programs with some overlap (e.g., similar track) are more disciplinary, not interdisciplinary

19 Compared to Non OSU Programs Reviewed 15 schools, 48 resource related majors Interdisciplinary degrees often separated physical / natural sciences & social sciences Environmental sciences vs. studies x credits physical sciences, x credits social sciences Many have internship and / or capstone Some include international experiences as optional; others via course content only Minimal mention of any online availability Priorities of our degree are similar to others Nothing in other degrees that is lacking in ours Our advantages: faculty, proximity to public land, fully interdisciplinary at multiple points, online

20 Overall Differentiating Factors Disciplinary strength coupled with extensive integrated & connected systems thinking & critical thinking Not just standalone classes in each discipline, but deliberately integrating students & topics at multiple points at both program & course levels Science & problem based approach to learning Regional, national, international (global) scales Local & landscape levels

21 Current Timeline Spring 2013 Compare to other OSU programs Compare to non OSU programs Focus groups & surveys with CoF students Draft vision, names, tracks, learning outcomes Summer / early fall 2013 Focus groups with stakeholders & employers Revise names, tracks, learning outcomes as needed Matrix of existing courses compared to outcomes & skills Identify new courses needed Design curriculum Liaison process Late fall 2013 / early winter 2014 External & internal letters of support Budget Category 1 finalization & submission

22 Who Contributed? Lisa Ganio Kerry Grimm Kreg Lindberg Anita Morzillo Mark Needham Christine Olsen Randy Rosenberger Hal Salwasser Clay Torset Eric White

23 Discussion

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