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Frontiers in Soil Science Research: Report of a Workshop
societal relevance of their research; teach the capacity to communicate with nonscientists.
During one breakout session, it was noted that there has been a paradigm shift in the approach to soil science research that affects how soils should be taught, but the soil science curriculum has not undergone the same change. Many soil science departments have become part of larger programs with labels such as environmental science. This may attract more students, but some scientists question whether it dilutes the fundamentals of the discipline. Collaboration with other departments is necessary, however, to allow students to be involved in interdisciplinary opportunities and have access to high-tech instruments not found in most soil science departments. Ways to introduce undergraduates in other disciplines to soil science were discussed in several breakout groups, such as research experiences and summer field courses.
The issue of certification and licensing was also discussed during the breakout sessions. Engineers and geologists, who are licensed and certified, work in environmental consulting. Soil scientists are not being extensively involved in much of this work, and the work may be suffering by not having greater involvement by soil scientists. There is voluntary certification for soil scientists, and some states have licensing of soil scientists, but this is not widespread.
Issues in student training:
Teach students to
collaborate across disciplines
think at larger scales
relate to the general public
Provide interdisciplinary opportunities
Collaborate with other departments to give students access to high-tech instruments