Repositioning Rangeland Education for a Changing World
Rangelands are the landscapes that dominate the earth's land surface. They are the grasslands, shrublands, woodlands, and deserts that comprise nearly half of the landmass of the world. Rangelands are inherently important to those who manage or inhabit those landscapes, but also to all who rely on the ecosystem services they provide. A strong workforce of well-trained professionals is needed to manage these important ecosystems. Rangeland education faces two major challenges: 1) College and university rangeland curricula have not changed to reflect recent advancements in technology, nor do they provide adequate focus on vital emerging issues, and 2) Too few students are seeking degrees in range science/management, resulting in a severe shortage of well-trained rangeland professionals for current and future positions. A workforce of land
management professionals is needed to manage the world's vast rangeland ecosystems and the ecological services they provide. Current rangeland curricula are tied to standards for accreditation by the Society for Range Management (SRM) and meet hiring standards set by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for Rangeland Management Specialists, however they do not encompass significant technological advances that have occurred nor do they address emerging, important issues such as global sustainability, climate change, rural communities, and food and water security. Furthermore, strategies are needed to meet the demand for rangeland professionals when few students are seeking degrees in natural resources and agriculture. Audience: This project will affect future rangeland management specialists, employers of rangeland professionals, rangeland educators and researchers, and rangeland
conservationists and other stakeholders. Products: We will produce 1) a needs assessment for rangeland education, 2) revised rangeland curricula, 3) a searchable catalog of online and alternative format courses, 4) contemporary learning modules, 5) a clearinghouse of reusable learning objects, 6) faculty development opportunities, and 7) student recruiting materials and strategies. Outcomes/Impacts: Benefits include 1) a modernized rangeland curricula , 2) increased accessibility of range-related courses for traditional, non-traditional, and place-bound students, 3) greater accessibility of high quality teaching materials for university educators, 4) improved teaching skills of rangeland faculty, including the use of modern teaching approaches and relevant technologies, 5) greater numbers of college and university students majoring in rangeland management/science, and 6) more graduates
with the knowledge and skill to manage rangelands.