Student Awareness and Impressions of Urban Forestry as a Career Choice — International Society of Arboriculture

Student Awareness and Impressions of Urban Forestry as a Career Choice (#AREA 01C)

Keith O'Herrin 1 , Susan Day 1 , Eric P Wiseman 1 , Greg Dahle 2 , Joe Sullivan 3
  1. Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, United States
  2. West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, United States
  3. University of Maryland, College Park, MD, United States

Understanding and managing recruitment is common practice among professions in the U.S. today. Especially important is the impressions held by pre-career choice students, the potential future of a profession. There is currently a gap in understanding how students perceive urban forestry as a career choice, if they are aware of it at all. Improving our understanding of how students come to be aware of urban forestry as a career choice, and their opinion once aware, could have significant importance to urban forestry recruitment efforts.

After spending a year reviewing literature on recruitment into professions, I have identified an excellent theory to help examine our gap in understanding. This research is grounded in Social Cognitive Career Theory where a student’s impression of a profession as a career choice is influenced by their demographics (e.g. race) and their background such as socioeconomic status during youth. In the next year I will administer a survey to be used to examine the relationship between college freshman and sophomore students’ awareness and opinions of urban forestry as a career choice and their personal backgrounds, values, and demographics. We will determine if students are aware of urban forestry and several allied professions as career choices, and if so how they were exposed to those professions and whether or not they were left with positive impressions. In this presentation I will provide an overview of how I plan to use Social Cognitive Career Theory to investigate student awareness and impressions of urban forestry as a career choice.