Forestry-related postgraduate programmes at Bangor University – new developments for 2015.
Last year, Bangor University celebrated its 110th anniversary of teaching forestry, providing an ideal opportunity to reflect on this legacy and to look ahead at what will be the same, and what will be different over the next century.
Three factors stand out as causes of a divergence from business as usual: technology, students as consumers, and the changing role of forestry in society. Bangor University is embracing this changing reality and, like all universities, it is responding and innovating in order to provide first class education. Electronic capture of live lectures and interactive online seminars are now commonplace; students are actively encouraged to provide information for quality assurance purposes; and social issues in forestry sit alongside silviculture as core components of learning.
Bangor recently announced several new developments relating to its ICF-accredited postgraduate programmes in forestry for students applying for entry from 2015. Since 2013, Bangor’s School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography (SENRGy) has been trialling teaching full-time and part-time postgraduate students together, using the latest learning technologies. Part-time distance learning students can attend lectures and seminars held in Bangor ‘virtually’, either live or after the event. Student outcome results, as well as student experience feedback, from these pilots have been overwhelmingly positive – there has been an increase in levels of student participation, an increase in academic attainment and a reduction in the number of withdrawals. Feedback from staff has also been very favourable – benefits include less duplication of teaching, enabling more effort to be devoted to developing higher quality teaching materials and enhanced integration of the teaching team. . Both full-time residential and part-time distance learning forestry students have been very positive about this innovation. Indeed the distinction between these is blurring, lending a freshness and flexibility to Forestry@Bangor.
The well-respected MSc Forestry (distance learning) programme, launched in 2006, which has to date produced more than 70 high-quality graduates, has now been re-structured. One of the most notable changes is that students can now choose between one of two ‘streams’, enabling them to specialise further and focus on topics aligned with their individual interests. The ‘Ecology and Management’ stream is intended for those with a strong interest in forest science, conservation and sustainable forest management, and is named after the leading forestry journal Forest Ecology and Management, founded in 1976 by Bangor University’s Professor of Forest Sciences, Lawrence Roche. It is closely linked to the areas of research in which Bangor has a leading international reputation. The ‘Forests, Trees and People’ stream will appeal to students with a thirst to learn more about the inter-relationships between forests and society. Bangor has been in the vanguard of this inter-disciplinary approach to forest and tree management, for example, as a pioneer in the subject of agroforestry, an area that is now becoming mainstream. Students on both streams attend a Forestry Study Tour in the spring term of their first year, ensuring that they meet fellow students and staff early in their degree, learn more about their university and, most importantly, spend time with professional foresters ‘in the forest’.
Similarly, the acclaimed MSc Environmental Forestry and MSc Agroforestry programmes, are now offered in both full-time and part-time modes, allowing even greater choice and flexibility to applicants. Part-time students are free to come to beautiful North Wales to attend lectures, meet staff and fellow students and benefit from feeling part of the vibrant learning atmosphere in a traditional university; full-time students can continue to immerse themselves in living and breathing their MSc as residential students.
Visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0pyjIE8buA for a short film about the MSc Forestry (distance learning) programme.
Publication date: 12 March 2015