University undergraduate curiculla in wildlife: Beyond 2000

W. J. Matter, R. J. Steidl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Educational content and the practices of wildlife educators must change deliberately, not inadvertently, to best serve students, employers, and the profession. The first priority of university faculty is to help students explore new ideas and worldviews and become informed citizens, self-learners, and critical thinkers. University programs should not merely train students for careers. There is no one ideal curriculum in natural resources, and wildlife programs will continue to vary in focus, strengths, modes of course delivery, and regional flavor. However, wildlife professionals should identify a fundamental set of knowledge, skills, and competencies expected of all undergraduate wildlife students. Fostering candid and constructive exchange among faculty, students, alumni, and employers concerning these competencies is a challenge we must meet. We caution against the false dichotomy that students can either master more facts or master synthesis and critical thinking. Students need to do both. Development of a core curriculum with a mix of single-discipline courses (e.g., plant taxonomy or basic ecology) and courses in which a primary goal is integration across disciplines may be a way to increase breadth without weakening basic competencies. Education of wildlife professionals should become more of a shared responsibility among all interested parties - students, employers, and educators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)503-507
Number of pages5
JournalWildlife Society Bulletin
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000


  • Curriculum
  • Education
  • Natural resources
  • Teaching
  • Wildlife science

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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