Education for Wildlife/Wildlands ManagementWere I to do it over again, knowing what I know now, I would make my Wildlife degree a masters degree, and for a bachelor's degree I would major in...
Were I to do it over again, knowing what I know now, I would make my Wildlife degree a masters degree, and for a bachelor's degree I would major in History concentrating in government, that is constitutional and political history. That is because every job I had in the field was a government job, for which coping with the bureaucracy of, I was not prepared. Also, an education in history helps with making the brain more useful as a thinking machine and with understanding why people and institutions do what they do. Another major comes to mind as almost equally as useful; that is the study of the history and literature of classical Greece and Rome; I personally prefer history of government. I would certainly have to get a second undergraduate major, in biology, in order to be admitted into a graduate Wildlife program.
My wildlife professors gave good advice on one aspect of a college education for wildlife/wildlands management. That is, academic time and money are better spent taking principles courses than taking techniques courses. Any body can pick up techniques on the job. Principles cannot be so easily or quickly picked up on the job as in the classroom. People with education in principles are better prepared to pick up techniques on the job. Education in techniques does not prepare one to pick up principles on the job. Yes, most of the job is going to be techniques and not principles, but those times when you need principles are going to make or break your career. Those times when you need techniques are not going to make or break your career; you are just going to turn to a fellow worker or a supervisor and ask.
I agree with some of both. Some of the most useful and profound principles come only from experience not theory. This is especially true in education. As to whether or not a college curriculum should focus more on principles and theories or actionable skills and abilities would depend, I think, on what kind of field you were going into. As an educator, I can tell you I use very little of the philosophy taught to me in my core education classes. Most of my professional principles have come from years of gritty experience with thousands of students. To me, anyway, they are the principles that count for something.
I agree....I have known too many teachers who were brilliant in their subject matter but couldn't teach their way out of a bucket. On the other hand, classroom management and dealing with people in general (students, parents, other teachers, administration, etc.) is not taught in the education classroom. Life is a mixture of both...learning on the job and being prepared for those lessons when they come your way with knowledge gained from scenarios, reading, and past experiences.
I agree strongly with geosc. I always advise students to major in disciplines that prepare them for broad thinking. Unless you already know as an undergraduate that you want to be a CPA, a physician, or similar career, a degree in liberal arts is an excellent way to prepare oneself for a variety of careers. Picking up techniques on the job is very true for many career positions.
One of my education professors said the exact opposite. You can know a lot about theory and principles, but without knowing specific actionable techniques to put everything into practice, then knowing principles and theory does not do any good. It is one thing to know about class management principles, but it is the specific techniques that help you deal with behavior, discipline, motivation, determination and drive.