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Not teaching what we practice: undergraduate conservation training at UK universities lacks interdisciplinarity

Gardner, Charlie J. (2020) Not teaching what we practice: undergraduate conservation training at UK universities lacks interdisciplinarity. Environmental Conservation, . ISSN 0376-8929. (doi:10.1017/S0376892920000442) (KAR id:84288)

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The practice and science of conservation have become increasingly interdisciplinary, and it is widely acknowledged that conservation training in higher education institutions should embrace interdisciplinarity in order to prepare students to address real-world conservation problems. However, there is little information on the extent to which conservation education at undergraduate level meets this objective. I carried out a systematic search of undergraduate conservation degree programmes in the UK and conducted a simple text analysis of module descriptions, to quantify the extent to which they provide social science training. I found 47 programmes of which 29 provided module descriptions. Modules containing social science content ranged from 3.8% to 52.2% of modules across programmes, but only 55.2% of programmes offered a social-focused conservation module and only one programme offered a module in social science research methods. On average, almost half the modules offered (46.2% ) comprised biology and ecology modules with no conservation focus, and 17.9% comprised skills-based modules (research and vocational skills). Conservation-focused modules comprised a mean of only 22.5% of modules. These results show that undergraduate conservation teaching in the UK is still largely biocentric and failing to deliver the interdisciplinary education that is widely called for.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1017/S0376892920000442
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Depositing User: Charlie Gardner
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2020 22:39 UTC
Last Modified: 08 May 2021 23:00 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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