CitationHickman, K. R., & Murphy, M. (2012). Teaching Across Disciplines and Institutions. Rangelands, 34(3), 16-20.
PublisherSociety for Range Management
AbstractSeveral members of the Range Science Education Council (RSEC) are in rangeland programs that are being challenged by their administration to broaden the scope of courses to attract a wider audience, thus increasing enrollment, and to alter how the courses are taught (e.g., traditional face-to-face on campus, online, distance education). The challenges we face have been brought about by a couple of major issues. First, too few students are seeking degrees in rangeland science/management, resulting in a severe shortage of well-trained rangeland professionals available for current and future positions. Second, in the past decade or so, lower enrollment in many of the traditional, strictly rangeland classes put rangeland science/management programs at several universities in danger of elimination or absorption by other programs, ultimately reducing the number of graduates available to fill the growing demand. In addition, many programs no longer hire faculty with primarily teaching appointments. Because of this, our programs have fewer teaching faculty with backgrounds in rangelands, and both new and current rangeland faculty are compelled to increase class sizes, course loads, and the number of program graduates. Given these pressures, we are faced with larger classes filled with students representing a wider audience, with sometimes drastically different backgrounds and views. Although these limited resources are challenging, they also provide an opportunity to make innovative advances in curricula and produce well-rounded students that can fill rangeland employment needs. Two primary approaches to meeting the current challenges of range programs are to teach across disciplines and across institutional boundaries.