Date of Award

5-1-2015

Document Type

Masters Plan B

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Science & Mathematics Teaching Center

Advisor

Dr. Jason Katzmann, Chairperson

Second Advisor

Dr. Mark Lyford, External Department Member

Third Advisor

Dr. Anna Peterson

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Doug Wachob

Abstract

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 dataderived; 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.

Comments

A thesis submitted to the Science and Math Teaching Center and the University of Wyoming in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of MASTERS IN SCIENCE in NATURAL SCIENCE

The members of the Committee approve the thesis Kim Mapp presented on April 27, 2015:

Approved by:

Dr. Jacqueline Leonard, Department Chair

Dr. Suzanne Young, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies

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