Web content analysis of university forestry and related natural resources landing webpages in the United States in relation to student and faculty diversity

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College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science


Under-representation of minorities and women in natural resources (NR)-related fields is common, both as students and as professionals. The perception of a predominantly white, male student body and workforce is a potential barrier to recruiting women and minorities to Forestry and related-NR fields. The images of “forestry” and “natural resources-related” fields were examined as they would be from a potential student’s perspective looking at university and college websites with these degree program majors at the 80 National Association of University Forest Resource Programs member institutions during in 2016. Results suggest the percentage of women and minorities enrolled explains little variation in a program’s website image content, whereas there is significant image under-representation of minorities in all NR fields and of women on forestry-major webpages. In addition, women and minorities are more likely to be portrayed in a passive image, such as posing on campus, rather than in an active image, such as measuring a tree. Potential students are also less likely to see diverse faculty online. A lack of diversity image inclusion in Forestry and related NR will not help students see themselves in these fields or enhance society’s view of these critical fields for future employment and economic growth.

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Copyright © 2019 Society of American Foresters. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.1093/jofore/fvz024

Publication Title

Journal of Forestry