Science and Ecological Literacy in Undergraduate Field Studies Education
thesisposted on 01.05.2015, 00:00 by Kim J. Mapp
There is an ever-increasing number of issues that face our world today; from climate change, water and food scarcity, to pollution and resource extraction. Science and ecology play fundamental roles in these problems, and yet the understanding of these fields is limited in our society (Miller, 2002; McBride, Brewer, Berkowitz, and Borrie, 2013). Across the nation students are finishing their undergraduate degrees and are expected to enter the workforce and society with the skills needed to succeed. The deficit of science and ecological literacy in these students has been recognized and a call for reform begun (D'Avanzo, 2003 and NRC, 2009). This mixed-methods study looked at how a field studies course could fill the gap of science and ecological literacy in undergraduates. Using grounded theory, five key themes were data-derived; definitions, systems thinking, human's role in the environment, impetus for change and transference. These themes where then triangulated for validity and reliability through qualitative and quantitative assessments. A sixth theme was also identified, the learning environment. Due to limited data to support this themes' development and reliability it is discussed in Chapter 5 to provide recommendations for further research. Key findings show that this field studies program influenced students' science and ecological literacy through educational theory and practice.