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Projected futures in competency development and applications: A Delphi study of the future of the wildlife biology profession

, University of Minnesota, United States

University of Minnesota . Awarded


The purpose of this study was to identify important trends and competencies projected to impact the future of the wildlife biology profession by 2025. An extensive cross-disciplinary literature review investigated how accelerating paradigms of global change, technological innovation, and the emergence of a new economy built on knowledge, innovation, and ideas could be expected to redefine the future of wildlife biology organizations, work, and workforce preparation. The findings of the literature survey were used to develop the investigative framework for the study.

An exploratory Delphi methodology was subsequently used to obtain the anonymous input of 30 expert panelists concerning the research topic. The Delphi study was Internet and e-mail-based, and consisted of three rounds of survey questions administered sequentially. The results from each round of questions provided the basis for the next round. Zoomerang web survey software was used to format and distribute the surveys, and collect participant responses. Over 11,000 responses were recorded.

Participants in the Delphi study included selected federal wildlife biology managers, researchers, educators, and field specialists with extensive professional experience who were employed within the state of Minnesota. Based on their expert opinions, the Delphi participants were asked to assess the probability and importance of key wildlife biology trends and competencies existing in the present and projected for the year 2025.

Using the Delphi process, the expert panelists evaluated 50 key trends and 39 major competencies. Continuous learning and its rapid, effective application was identified by participants as the most important competency for wildlife biologists in the future. Closely ranked in importance or probability were competencies involving the effective application of digital technologies; effective networking and partnering with coworkers, stakeholders, and customers; strategic thinking and action; role flexibility regarding teams; dealing effectively with change and complexity; knowledge creation; and innovation.

The findings of this study are expected to provide an important focus for future policy formulation and direction in wildlife biology programs, and serve as guidance for the development of post-secondary education and training programs directed at preparing wildlife biology students for the future.


Kubik, G.H. Projected futures in competency development and applications: A Delphi study of the future of the wildlife biology profession. Ph.D. thesis, University of Minnesota. Retrieved January 21, 2020 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

Citation reproduced with permission of ProQuest LLC.

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