The mission of the Undergraduate Program of DEENR is to integrate academics, research and outreach in the areas of ecology, evolution and natural resources. We cultivate a fundamental understanding of the biological principles that regulate living systems, and develop proficiencies in field and laboratory techniques. Our program puts high value of the development of quantitative and critical thinking skills, and we encourage independent intellectual growth, including a required Senior Capstone (11:216:499) experience. Overall, we provide students with a first-rate education that will serve as a solid foundation for all employment and graduate school opportunities in our discipline.
Program Learning Goals for EENR Students
Upon completion of our major, we expect our students to have mastered:
The EENR curriculum is quite broad, since it provides an understanding of how natural living systems function and evolve, and how organisms can be managed to conserve biodiversity while providing benefits to people. To achieve these goals, we utilize a range of teaching techniques, including lectures, hands-on lab, field, and computational experiences, individual and group projects based on real world problems. These in-class experiences complement the SEBS experiential learning requirement that can include conducting research or completing a teaching or professional internship.
Students are guided to pursue course work that prepares them for traditional careers in resource management, or they may take a broader array of courses to meet interests related to the conservation of natural resources, and the ecology and evolution of natural systems. As such, the exact combination of courses will differ from student to student. However, successful completion of the 9 required core courses will ensure all core learning goals are met. In addition to the general major curriculum, we offer two specialized disciplinary tracks with a more focused sequence of courses in 1) Natural Resources and Ecosystem Management, or 2) Urban Forestry (https://urbanforestry.rutgers.edu). Each specialized track features electives that contribute to meeting additional learning goals:
Natural Resources and Ecosystem Management Track Specific Learning Goals:
Urban Forestry Track Specific Learning Goals:
Where/How are Program Learning Goals Achieved
The general EENR track is quite broad, since it provides an understanding of how natural living systems function and evolve, and how organisms can be managed to conserve biodiversity while providing benefits to people. Within this track, students are guided to pursue course work that prepares them for their chosen career paths in resource management, conservation of natural resources, and/or the ecology and evolution of natural systems. As such, the exact combination of courses will differ from student to student. However, successful completion of the 9 required core courses will ensure all learning goals are met. The department website clearly lists our major requirements, courses (color coded by semester), and certificates. See courses sorted by Departmental Learning Goal.
The new UF and NREM tracks are more structured, with additional courses required to address the associated additional learning goals. Students in these tracks will be guided to the necessary specific courses (detailed curriculum map pending).
How are Program Learning Goals Assessed?
The assessment of outcomes within the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources is evaluated directly by individual faculty within the classes that they teach using direct measures from projects and examinations and indirectly through course evaluations. Every course in our curriculum now has a syllabus and course description, and all of the courses now have explicit learning goals associated with them. The most popular tool employed by our faculty is the use of formative assessment, whereby students are iteratively provided feedback to advance learning gains.
We also continue to employ the direct measures from projects and examinations and through course evaluations. In addition, we have two additional sources of student-centered data. The first is an initial entrance survey to assess student interests and motivations for entering the major. In addition, this survey covers issues related to advising and is designed to improve the efficiency and transfer of information during the advising process, and assess the effectiveness of advising. The second survey is a Senior Exit Survey that is used to assess student perception of the curriculum and advising process, and for students' perceptions of their preparedness for their future. We also now teach a mandatory Senior Capstone course (11:216:499), which in addition to the exit survey will close the loop on our assessment strategies. In the capstone course, the students create an online portfolio that encompasses a set of current skills and knowledge backed with evidence in the following form:
- Relevant coursework and associated exemplary projects
- Relevant experience including lab and fieldwork
- A downloadable resume/CV
- A personal statement, including identification of desired career paths