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ERIC Number: ED517916
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 188
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1240-5285-4
A Search for Identity: Exploring Core Competencies for Interdisciplinary Environmental Programs
Vincent, Shirley Gayle
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Oklahoma State University
Scope and method of study: The study is national in scope, exploratory, and utilized a combination of qualitative and quantitative social science methods. Findings and conclusions: Interdisciplinary environmental (IE) programs in higher education in the United States are both diverse and dynamic in their curriculum designs. Though these characteristics afford flexibility and adaptability, they are also seen as weaknesses that can undermine their perceived legitimacy both within and beyond their host institutions. The lack of a clear identity, definition of core competencies, and prescriptions for interdisciplinary pedagogy can create confusion among program stakeholders and skepticism among institutional administrators. To address these concerns, the National Council for Science and the Environmental sponsored a comprehensive national study to learn more about IE program curricula and investigate the potential for reaching agreement on core competencies. The results demonstrate that a consensus exists on IE field identity: an applied, interdisciplinary focus on the interface of coupled human-natural systems with a normative commitment to sustainability. The results also reveal that IE program interdisciplinary core competency areas consist of three broad knowledge areas and two skill sets, and that three ideal curricular models for IE education are espoused by interdisciplinary environmental program administrators: systems science, policy and governance, and adaptive management. The characteristics and program attributes related to these models are explored and the relationships explained. The study concludes with a discussion of the implications of the findings for building capacity in the environmental professional workforce, a brief description of the next planned phases of the project, and expresses the author's optimism that a consensus can be forged on core competencies and model-specific prescriptions for curricular content for higher education IE programs. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A