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Preparing Tomorrow's Foresters: Embedding Professional Interactive Skills in a Technical Discipline

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In recent surveys, employers of forestry graduates have indicated that interpersonal skills as well as technical competencies are essential for long-term success in forestry. These employers find that many recent graduates fall short in their ability to work in teams, listen to and address public questions, and solve problems collaboratively. New classroom approaches that embed interactive skills within a disciplinary framework can assist students in developing those necessary social skills and at the same time enhance students' learning and retention of technical information. A six-course sequence for Iowa State University sophomores illustrates the concept of cooperative learning as an alternative to individual and competitive learning models. Instructors find that supervised practice of interactive skills in a classroom environment develops the professional competencies employers want.

Keywords: communication; education; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: 1: Assistant Professor Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, 50011, 2: Associate Professor Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, 50011 3: Professor Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, 50011 4: Associate Professor Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, 50011

Publication date: October 1, 2003

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.
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