Reasons and Reservations for Enrolling in Foestry Degree Programs: A Survey of Undergradaute Students Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/conference_proceedings_or_journals/8c97kr66h

Presentated at the 7th Biennial Conference on University Education in Natural Resources, March 15-17, 2008, Corvallis, Oregon.

Terry L. Sharik and Stacey Frisk, Department of Environment and Society, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322-5215 ( Terry.Sharik@usu.edu)

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  • Undergraduate enrollments in forestry degree programs have been dropping sharply since the mid-1990s, causing considerable concern on the part of academic institutions that offer these programs and entities that hire graduates in this field, especially in the light of projected increases in the demand for these graduates. Declining enrollments have been consistent across all regions of the United States, indicating a strong nation-wide trend. Accordingly, in 2004 and 2007 we surveyed undergraduate student leaders in forestry from around the country for relevant demographic characteristics as well as the positive and negative factors influencing their decision to matriculate in a forestry program. Student respondents were predominantly junior/senior-level white/non-Hispanic males. Respondents also reported having lived about the same number of years in urban/suburban environments as in rural/wildland environments. The primary reasons cited for choosing to pursue a forestry degree included a love of outdoors/nature and a desire to work outside. Students also cited childhood outdoor activity and early exposure to forestry as positive influences. The predominant reasons listed for hesitancy to entering a forestry program were uncertainty over job availability and low wages. Additionally, students indicated confusion over the profusion of programs and specialties. Low gender diversity in the workforce and concerns over a negative public image of forestry were also cited as sources of hesitancy to matriculating in a forestry program. To counter declining enrollments, this survey suggests that high school students should be targeted to reduce uncertainty surrounding academic programs in forestry and post-graduate career possibilities. Marketing of forestry programs should endeavor to improve the social image of forestry and to encourage gender and ethnic diversity in enrollment. Moreover, employers of forestry graduates should consider raising salaries to levels competitive with many other professions. The survey also indicated that childhood activity in the outdoors and an appreciation for nature positively influence forestry enrollment and should be encouraged in youth. Authors' Note: Publication of the content of this presentation in a peer-reviewed journal is anticipated within a year.
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  • description.provenance : Made available in DSpace on 2008-05-16T20:16:21Z (GMT). No. of bitstreams: 2 UENR Enrollments Sharik Final.ppt: 1005056 bytes, checksum: c34b1f9fa8cdfcb410694a2c75d4799f (MD5) UENR Enrollments Sharik Final.ppt: 1005056 bytes, checksum: c34b1f9fa8cdfcb410694a2c75d4799f (MD5)
  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Bonnie Avery(bonnie.avery@oregonstate.edu) on 2008-05-16T18:51:26Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 2 UENR Enrollments Sharik Final.ppt: 1005056 bytes, checksum: c34b1f9fa8cdfcb410694a2c75d4799f (MD5) UENR Enrollments Sharik Final.ppt: 1005056 bytes, checksum: c34b1f9fa8cdfcb410694a2c75d4799f (MD5)
  • description.provenance : Submitted by Terry Sharik (terry.sharik@usu.edu) on 2008-05-16T18:14:15Z No. of bitstreams: 2 UENR Enrollments Sharik Final.ppt: 1005056 bytes, checksum: c34b1f9fa8cdfcb410694a2c75d4799f (MD5) UENR Enrollments Sharik Final.ppt: 1005056 bytes, checksum: c34b1f9fa8cdfcb410694a2c75d4799f (MD5)

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