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Diversity Beyond Demographics: Environmental Worldviews of Forestry and Natural Resource Undergraduate Students
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  • Sativa Cruz,
  • Chelsea Batavia,
  • Ana Spalding,
  • Ivan Arismendi,
  • Michael Nelson
Sativa Cruz
Oregon State University College of Forestry

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Chelsea Batavia
Oregon State University College of Forestry
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Ana Spalding
Oregon State University College of Liberal Arts
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Ivan Arismendi
Oregon State University
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Michael Nelson
Oregon State University College of Forestry
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In U.S. academic institutions, efforts often concentrate on enhancing the recruitment of students from underrepresented groups, focusing on gender and/or race. Yet, non-demographic forms of diversity have received little attention, such as environmental worldviews, i.e., differences in the metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical beliefs that define how humans view, value, and interact with the natural world. Here, we develop an exploratory measure of environmental worldview diversity among undergraduate students enrolled in natural resource related programs. We tested our procedure at Oregon State University, a large public land-grant university in the US. Many students reported metaphysical, epistemological, and/or ethical beliefs that deviate from what has been philosophically characterized as the dominant western worldview of natural resources (anthropocentric, dualistic, hierarchical, utilitarian, mechanistic). Our results suggest that, although forestry students’ environmental worldviews are in some ways more closely aligned with the dominant western worldview than other students in natural resources, generally their worldviews reflect long-term generational shifts away from a strict resource-commodity value orientation, as documented in past research. Our findings highlight the importance of considering environmental worldviews as a dimension of diversity within the new generation natural resource students. Future efforts toward understanding these levels of difference can be important assets in designing programs which appeal to wide variety of students; ultimately helping efforts to recruit and retain a diverse of aspiring natural resource professionals.
20 Oct 2021Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
01 Nov 2021Submission Checks Completed
01 Nov 2021Assigned to Editor
17 Nov 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
02 Feb 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
04 Feb 2022Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
30 Jun 20221st Revision Received
01 Jul 2022Submission Checks Completed
01 Jul 2022Assigned to Editor
01 Jul 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
12 Jul 2022Editorial Decision: Accept
Aug 2022Published in Ecology and Evolution volume 12 issue 8. 10.1002/ece3.9203