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Arboriculture & Urban Forestry Online
Volume 37, Issue 2 — March 2011

A Syllabus-based Review of Collegiate Arboriculture Course Content in the United States    (View PDF)

P. Eric Wiseman, Joseph W. Hoffman, Susan D. Day, and Terry L. Clements

Abstract: The professional skills and expertise demanded of practicing arborists are greater than at any time in the past, and many employers and educators believe that higher education plays a role in educating future professionals in this field. Although recent surveys have identified major instructional topics that are critically important for future arborists, no assessment of whether these topics are being taught in college and university programs is available. The following paper is a syllabus-level assessment of 68 arboriculture courses being taught at U.S. institutions of higher education. The most common instructional topics observed in syllabi of arboriculture courses at both two- and four-year institutions were pruning (85%), disorders (81%), physiology/biology (79%), risks/hazards (79%), and soils/nutrition (75%). Tree planting and tree selection, topics identified by educators and public sector employers in previous studies as among the most important instructional areas, were found only in 74% and 62% of course syllabi, respectively. Safety was mentioned in only 53% of syllabi. Syllabus content was similar at two-year and four-year institutions, although tree identification and arborist certification were mentioned more frequently in two-year institution syllabi. Trends in arboriculture education and implications for employers and professionals are discussed.

Keywords: Arboriculture Education; Arborist Training; Course Objectives; Educational Assessment

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