University of Central Florida Undergraduate Research Journal - Are we producing society-ready foresters? A quantitative content analysis of graduate-level forestry curriculum
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Abstract

Forestry education in the United States has been hailed for its ability to provide students with the scientific and technical skills needed for a career in forestry as much as it has been criticized for ignoring social dimensions of the discipline. Its inability to adapt curriculum to the increasingly multidisciplinary nature of the forestry profession has led to stagnant or decreasing enrollment and lack of student diversity in recent years. While forestry education and curriculum has been thoroughly analyzed at the undergraduate level, no such analysis exists for graduate curriculum. This study analyzes the course content of 40 graduate-level forestry programs across 31 public and private institutions in the United States, using a quantitative content analysis to determine what curriculum disparities exist and how future course content can be improved. We classified courses into three categories: Science/Technology, Economic, and Social courses through a dictionary of key words to search institutions' curriculum documents, excluding special topics, directed studies, thesis, and independent research credits with non-descriptive course titles and/or course descriptions. We conclude that graduate curriculum across universities is composed disproportionately of scientific and economic courses, fostering understanding of these forestry topics, while social curriculum is persistently lacking. Analysis and suggestions for improvement follow.

KEYWORDS: forestry; education; social science; curriculum; content analysis

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