Sponsored by the Education Committee of the Society for Conservation Biology
Report prepared by Rebecca White (Prescott College), Thomas L. Fleischner ( Prescott College), and Stephen C. Trombulak (Middlebury College ) .
Since its inception in the mid
1980's, the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) has been
dedicated "to help develop the scientific and technical means for the protection, maintenance, and restoration of life on this planet." SCB has identified six specific areas where it should target its time and energy; one of these six areas is "education at all levels, preparatory and continuing, of the public, of biologists and of managers in the principles of conservation biology." In a recent issue of the SCB Newsletter, President Reed Noss (1999) identified four specific areas of reform to work toward in the years to come. Among these included: "Reforming the education of conservation biologists at undergraduate and graduate levels, especially to prepare students better for careers outside of academia". However, before we can attempt to forge a new approach to conservation education, strengths and weaknesses in the current education system must be identified. Although there have been occasional spotlights on undergraduate education in conservation biology (Jacobson and Hardesty 1988, Fleischner 1990, Trombulak 1993), there has been no common understanding of what is being taught in conservation biology at the undergraduate level. To gather baseline data on the current status of undergraduate education in conservation biology, the Education Committee of SCB sponsored a survey of its membership.