Preliminary Results of ATCOFA’s Revision of the Bachelor of Science in Forestry Curriculum
To help assure the Bachelor of Science in Forestry (BSF) program produces society-ready, society-engaged forestry and natural resource professionals prepared for tomorrow’s challenges and opportunities, a project of reviewing and revising the BSF curriculum was initiated in May of 2012. A Curriculum Revision committee was formed that was composed of ATCOFA’s BSF faculty. Additionally a Research Sub-committee was appointed to develop an in-depth research design for studying the needs associated with a BSF curriculum revision. The sub-committee met twice a week during the 2012-2013 academic year, and as a result of these meetings, a two-phased research study was developed and implemented in November 2012 through February 2013.
The first phase of the research involved surveying over 3,000 individuals associated with the ATCOFA BSF program, as well as forestry/natural resource programs. A detailed survey was provided to participating individuals in either a paper format or an electronic version. The second phase of the research was conducted through Focus Group discussions led by a non-forestry/natural resource professional. Sixteen focus groups were held across Texas that were made up of a diverse combination of forestry/natural resource professionals, including federal and state agency members, ATCOFA alumni, landowners, and forestry/natural resource businesses.
Analysis of the research data from both the surveys and the Focus Groups began in early March 2013, showing that communication skills, professionalism, and technical skills and knowledge are all vitally important for society-ready, society-engaged foresters and natural resource professionals. The final step in the curriculum revision process was to conduct a series of six three-hour BSF faculty meetings to discuss research results, plans and actions needed to update and revise the curriculum, and to discuss how to best implement those plans.
Over the course of the summer of 2013, various faculty groups have been formed to continue with the BSF curriculum revision process. Additional analysis of the data will continue to be conducted in the future, as well as assessment and review of the updated BSF curriculum. The paperwork and approval process for revising the curriculum will be submitted in the fall of 2013, with the goal of implementing the new curriculum in the 2014-15 academic year.
Successful curriculum revision would not have been possible without critical input provided by the forestry and natural resources professional community. Everyone’s participation is greatly appreciated. Continue to check out the ATCOFA website for further updates on the on-going research findings.
Download 2013 Forestry Curriculum Revision handouts.