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Tuesday, January 30 • 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Poster Display. Is It Time for an Additional Approach to Wildlife Education: Better Preparing Graduates by Including the Professional Science Master’s in Our Educational Repertoire

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AUTHORS: Mike Eichholz, Cooperative Wildlife Research Lab. and Center for Ecology, Dept. of Zoology, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

ABSTRACT: In the 1930s, Aldo Leopold first recognized the need to actively manage wildlife, forming the first academic program emphasizing the management of wildlife populations. Since then, universities developed undergraduate and graduate programs that emphasized applied research of wildlife ecology, population dynamics, and habitat management, dramatically increasing our understanding of the information required to properly manage and administer wildlife populations.  Increased knowledge has led to a dramatic increase in the number of courses offered in wildlife programs, forcing to students to choose among the many beneficial classes.  The Wildlife Society’s Wildlife Biologist Certification Program prioritizes these offerings by identifying  course requirements for certified wildlife Biologists, but this doesn’t address the fact that, because a Bachelor of Science degree is limited to 120 credit hours at most universities, students are unable to enroll in a number of courses that would be beneficial to their career.  Furthermore, because of limitations imposed by the 120 credit-hour B.S. degree, even TWS’ efforts has been less than successful in preparing graduates with a BS for the modern requirements of a conservation/wildlife lands manager in the eyes of many potential employers.  With this presentation, I discuss why a new program is necessary and use the new Professional Science Master’s in Wildlife Administration and Management at SIUC as a case study to identify obstacles and solutions to implementing such a program.  Professional science Master’s are programs accredited by the National Professional Science Master’s Association.  Course requirements are developed by an external advisory board consisting of individuals from agencies or organizations that are likely to hire program graduates.  The degree is similar to the MS but requires students to complete an internship instead of a thesis, and in this case, specifically prepares graduates to be conservation/wildlife lands consultants and managers.

Tuesday January 30, 2018 6:00pm - 9:00pm CST
Ballroom C & Foyer