By the numbers: Warner College of Natural Resources

Getting good grades on tests or making it to class every day for attendance points are just means to an end, the end being graduation and, hopefully, a successful career. Students in the Warner College of Natural Resources seem to be achieving this pretty well.

This year, there are 1,813 undergraduate students in the Warner College of Natural Resources. According to the 2013-2014 First Destination Report, 86 percent of natural resources graduates had secured plans six months after graduation, with 69 percent employed.

“It’s not that way with every natural resource program across the country,” said Linda Nagel, professor and head of the Forest and Rangeland Stewardship Department. “This is pretty unique at CSU that we have such high job placement rate for students.”

There are five departments within the College of Natural Resources, and some departments have a higher chance of securing students a long-term career than others.

According to the First Destination Report, 76 percent of graduates in the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology had secured jobs six months after graduation. Kenneth Wilson, professor and head of the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, believes his students are driven by passion for what they are studying.

There are three concentrations within the department: conservation biology, wildlife biology and fisheries and aquatic sciences.

Upward of 70 percent of students in the department have had internships.

“I put internships in the same category as work experience,” Wilson said. “I’d rather them have a paid job that gives them experience than an internship that doesn’t give them pay and get experience.”

The forest and rangeland stewardship department offers three majors: natural resource management, forestry and rangeland ecology.

There are 236 natural resource management majors. Last year, 80 percent of graduates secured jobs six months after graduation, 14 percent pursued more education.

“Our largest employer is the U.S. Forest Service,” Nagel said. “So, there’s a wide variety of job types that those students get given the three degree programs that we have.”

In 2013 to 2014, 80 percent of students with a forestry degree secured jobs six months after graduation.

There are three rangeland ecology concentrations: range and forest management, restoration ecology, and rangeland and conservation management.

Last year, 80 percent of rangeland graduates secured plans six months after graduation, with 60 percent employed.

“If you look at the numbers, they certainly suggest that our students are, in most cases, getting jobs that they are interested in,” Nagel said.

She believes students who join clubs within the department have a higher chance at receiving job offers.

“We have quite a number of student clubs that are really active,” Nagel said. “Those students perform really well, and when students show leadership in those organizations, that really seems to help with job placement rates.”

The Ecosystem Science and Sustainability Department offers two majors: watershed science and ecosystem science and sustainability. There are 220 ecosystem science and sustainability majors and 59 majors within watershed science.

In the 2013 and 2014 survey, 100 percent of the CSU watershed science graduates were offered jobs six months after college.

In the Geosciences Department, students can study environmental geology, geology, geophysics or hydrogeology.

In the 2013-2014 survey, 20 percent of geology undergraduates said they went on to pursue higher education.

“Our recent statistics show that over 90 percent of our graduates have gotten jobs in the geosciences, and at fairly high salaries too. Over $52,000 average, although many go considerably higher than that,” said Rick Aster, professor and Geology Department head.

There are several clubs students can join, and there are even opportunities to land internships. An internship is not required for graduation, but it is encouraged.

“We have strong associations with partners that provide internship opportunities, usually during the summer, some of which are quite high paying,” Aster said. He said the department is always providing students with opportunities to prepare for a successful career.

The department was called Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism until 2000, when the department changed its name. Now, students in the department can major in natural resource and recreation tourism or human dimensions of natural resources.

There are 91 undergraduate students in this year’s new Human Dimensions of Natural Resources major, while there are 217 students in the Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism major.

Students requested the name change so it would be more applicable in today’s natural resource job force. In 2013-2014 survey, 95 percent of students with the natural resource recreation and tourism degree said they were offered jobs six months after college.

Students in the new major will seek similar jobs, but now the degree adapts to the changes in problems natural resource managers face today.

This article was published in The Collegian December 9, 2015.


Warner College of Natural Resources introduces new human dimensions major

Due to change in the problems conservationists face today, the Warner College of Natural Resources will offer a new major to its students this spring.

The human dimensions of natural resources major was approved through faculty council Oct. 6. It will be a collaboration of different concentrations that the college already offers.

Tara Teel, an associate professor, explains how the department has pulled together the curriculum for this new major.

“We took the environmental communication and the parks and protected area management concentrations and merged them, and then added new things around that,” Teel said. “There’s still a really strong emphasis on those two areas within this major.”

Students will not be asked to select a concentration, but most said they are still proud to have this new identity.

Head of the Human Dimensions of Natural Resources Department Michael Manfredo said students pushed him to develop this new major.

“It was a contingent — it wasn’t just, like, one that came to me,” Manfredo said. “They had already started to take some of these new courses, and they wanted that identity.”

Manfredo and Teel said they spent almost three years getting the major approved. Part of this process included asking various agencies about the skills they want to see in prospective employees.

“We asked people from a wide range of organizations and agencies that also represent some of these jobs that we are talking about, ‘What skills do you feel like conservation professionals entering your organization need to have?’” Teel said.

They referred to these answers while determining what material to teach, and communication and leadership are two examples. Skills like this are now taught in the curriculum for this major.

Sara Brooker, a junior at CSU, is planning to declare a human dimensions of natural resources major. She said she is excited to put this new title on her resume.

“The main reason I switched was to get that social side of things,” Brooker said. “I wanted to know how to communicate the science to the public. Because, of course, the science is important, but it doesn’t do anything if it’s not communicated correctly.”

Toward the end of their degree, students are required to do a five-credit internship. An internship coordinator helps these students find a position that is right for them, and most of them are offered a full-time job.

“Fifty-five percent of students doing an internship in our program, right out of college, will get a long-term, permanent position,” Teel said.

Students in this major will be working in a hands-on environment. Manfredo said professors will use experiential learning techniques. This is something the department prides itself on.

“This isn’t just classroom stuff — we’re really proud of getting students out and into the field,” Manfredo said. “I mean, if you’re going to talk about parks, the best place to do it is in a park.”

This article was published in The Collegian October 14, 2015.