Demand for Botanists on Public Lands: Challenges and Solutions
Renzaglia, Karen S. , Hemingway, Claire .
How to engage the next generation of plant enthusiasts.
Attracting and retaining students in science disciplines is challenging at best. Young scholars are especially difficult to entice into plant biology because the field is unfamiliar and career opportunities unknown. So how do we tap into the diverse talents of upcoming college generations? Because of the ease at which plants can be grown and manipulated, botanists are especially fortunate to be able to provide a wide array of hands-on learning experiences for students. Problem-solving and research skills are easily integrated into the curriculum and through mentored research experiences. Undergraduates are energetic, keen to participate and for many, research is the single most influential experience in their academic career. Research provides an opportunity for students to apply knowledge from courses, to gain real world experiences, to pursue interests and to instill a sense of ownership, all of which are critical to intellectual and personal development. Mentoring is the key factor in successful research experiences for undergraduates. Funded programs to support students at all levels in the research enterprise are numerous and these provide the infrastructure and resources to change attitudes and lives. The BSA-led PlantingScience initiative is an innovative example that integrates best practices into online-mentored student designed. There are also services on the BSA and other society web sites that make opportunities known and accessible all along the pipeline leading to applied plant-related careers. Integrating research into all aspects of the educational experience is one way to equip future scholars with the process skills necessary to solve the challenging environmental problems that require botanical expertise.
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1 - Southern Illinois University, Department of Plant Biology, 1125 Lincoln Drive, Carbondale, Illinois, 62901-6509, USA
2 - Botanical Society of America, PO Box 299, St. Louis, MO, 63166, USA
Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Location: 182/I K Barber
Date: Wednesday, July 30th, 2008
Time: 10:20 AM