Zoological education in New Zealand: a 21st century perspective

Buckeridge, J 2003, 'Zoological education in New Zealand: a 21st century perspective', in A. Legakis et al. (ed.) Proceedings XVIII International Congress of Zoology, Athens, Greece, 28 August - 2 September 2003, pp. 561-567.


Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: Conference Papers

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Title Zoological education in New Zealand: a 21st century perspective
Author(s) Buckeridge, J
Year 2003
Conference name The New Panorama of Animal Evolution
Conference location Athens, Greece
Conference dates 28 August - 2 September 2003
Proceedings title Proceedings XVIII International Congress of Zoology
Editor(s) A. Legakis et al.
Publisher Pensoft Publishers
Place of publication Sofia, Bulgaria
Start page 561
End page 567
Total pages 7
Abstract Reductionist thinking has, until recently, pervaded much of Western scientific culture. Although this necessary cognitive phase led to an agreeably sophisticated understanding of the nature of our world, it is also perceived to have resulted in a degradation of the biosphere. ln response, a need to adopt a systems (or holistic) approach to natural resources management arose in the mid 20th century and this thinking was particularly prevalent in zoology. As a consequence, many zoology curricula abandoned traditional zoological foundations, particularly systematic taxonomy, anatomy and functional morphology. A new brand of biology, focussing on molecular biology, biochemistry and ecology increasingly subsumed the traditional subjects. This paper examines the effects of these changes in a New Zealand context, where the vocational opportunities that currently exist for zoologists, and the qualities of recent graduates is briefly reviewed. In order to determine the likely profile of new "zoology" graduates, a pilot questionnaire was designed to test understanding of some basic zoological principles. The questionnaire had a deliberate bias toward systematic taxonomy - this in view of the local need for scientists with an understanding of systematics in areas such as biosecurity and assessment of environmental effects. Two groups, senior secondary school pupils, and third year university students were asked to complete the questionnaire. The results of the survey are disappointing as they show little improvement in the knowledge of systematic taxonomy in the two - three years of university education.
Subjects Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy
Copyright notice © 2003 Pensoft Publishers
ISBN 9789546421647
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