Where have all the students gone?

Nov 03, 2008

Why are the number of students studying soil science as a major declining across the United States? Mary Collins, University of Florida, Gainesville, writes about this in an article published in the 2008 Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education.

Collins notes that the faculties who work closely with undergraduate students have seen this steady decline for several years. And there are many reasons one can give for why this is happening.

"This decline affects not only the students but also the courses offered, quality of graduate students, and the possible merger of departments," says Collins.

The National Academy of Sciences through the National Committee for Soil Science established a subcommittee to study the declining trend of low enrollments in the major. The outcome of the subcommittee work and international commentaries on this subject are reported in this article. The international soil science education community is also facing a similar tendency.

Today many of our graduate students come to soil science with various undergraduate backgrounds including non-science disciplines.

Collins explains, "These graduates may be outstanding, but they do not have the fundamental educational background in soils common at the undergraduate level."

How can we increase the enrollment in our courses and major? Possible solutions include recruiting the "undecided" students already on-campus; having the best lecturer in the department teach the normally high enrolled introductory soils course; discussing with your colleagues if the courses offered have been static; changing the names of the courses; offering courses through distance education; establishing a combined B.S/M.S. degree program; and advertising how a student can major in soil science and still prepare for a professional school.

Source: Soil Science Society of America

Explore further: Nimoy inspired generations of sci-fi fans

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Lifeline extended for critically endangered porpoise

59 minutes ago

Mexico's recent decision to buy-out gillnet fisheries in the upper Gulf of California may give one of the world's rarest species the breathing space it needs to survive. Time is still ticking, but the move ...

Image: Training for Sentinel-2A launch

1 hour ago

On 25 February, the Sentinel-2A Mission Control Team at ESOC, ESA's mission operations centre, Darmstadt, Germany, commenced simulation training for the critical launch and early orbit phase.

Is generosity essential to human existence?

1 hour ago

When Dennis ole Sonkoi was a child he never gave much thought to sharing. Growing up in Kenya as part of the Maasai community – a pastoral group of herdsmen that travels throughout Kenya and Tanzania – ...

Applications of networked micro-drones

1 hour ago

Micro-drones are already being put to use in a large number of areas: These small aircraft face extensive requirements when performing aerial observation tasks or when deployed in the field of disaster management. A newly ...

Recommended for you

Bribery 'hits 1.6 billion people a year'

Feb 27, 2015

A total of 1.6 billion people worldwide – nearly a quarter of the global population – are forced to pay bribes to gain access to everyday public services, according to a new book by academics at the Universities of Birmingham ...

How music listening programmes can be easily fooled

Feb 26, 2015

For well over two decades, researchers have sought to build music listening software that can address the deluge of music growing faster than our Spotify-spoilt appetites. From software that can tell you ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

COCO
not rated yet Nov 10, 2008
dirt has lost its glitter

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.