Changes to Human Dimensions of Natural Resources degree program

Human Dimensions of Natural Resources students in Kenya for Integrated Field Methods class.

New undergraduate major

The Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, in the Warner College of Natural Resources, will accept the first students into a new undergraduate major, Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, in the spring of 2016.

This change highlights the need to emphasize the social aspects of conservation issues, as the field of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources is one of the fastest growing in the natural resources sector.

‘Working with diverse demands’

“Natural resource management has changed a great deal in the past twenty years,” said Human Dimensions of Natural Resources Department Head Michael Manfredo. “Increasingly it involves working with diverse demands of the public. It involves educating and communicating with people, managing conflicts among publics, facilitating collaboration among those who have a stake in natural resource decisions, and managing the visitors that come to our public recreation areas. Our new program provides a pathway for this new generation of natural resource professionals, one that works at the interface of people and the environment.”

Warner College students studying outdoor recreation impacts for the Human Dimensions section of Natural Resources Measurements course near CSU’s Mountain Campus.

Previously, HDNR had one undergraduate major, Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism, with four concentrations: Environmental Communication; Global Tourism; Natural Resource Tourism; and, Parks and Protected Area Management.

In addition to the new degree the department will retain the Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism degree with concentrations in Global and Natural Resource Tourism. This distinction is important for HDNR, as the department is globally known for creating natural resource professionals who are leaders in tourism and conservation.

At the forefront of the field

“We’re proud that the Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources continues to be at the forefront of the field and is proactively implementing changes in response to industry trends,” said Warner College Dean John Hayes. “This new degree will make our students even more successful in securing employment and making their marks as leaders in conservation and natural resources management.”

Human Dimensions of Natural Resources Professor Rick Knight teaching students near Mummy Pass.

The new major seeks to accurately reflect the training students are receiving and will better prepare students for professional positions with public, private, and non-governmental organizations in the field of natural resource management and conservation.

Focus on communication

This change ensures that students graduating with this new major can effectively communicate the depth of knowledge that they possess. The curricula for the new major will concentrate on communication, conservation, protected areas, stakeholder processes, environmental governance, planning and policy, ecosystem services, and public/private land management practices.