Studies in Higher Education


Project: Evaluating Undergraduate Research and Extension Experiences

A longitudinal study for three years to evaluate Undergraduate Research and Extension Experiences, a program offered by Oregon State University's Department of Wood Science and Engineering. We interviewed undergraduate STEM students about their experiences doing hands-on research compared to traditional classroom learning. The interviews were also done to their academic mentors.

Journal article: November 10, 2021


Undergraduate research experience has been proven to improve student learning and retention. Since 2018, Oregon State University Department of Wood Science and Engineering has offered Research and Extension Experiences for Undergraduates (REEU) through support from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Education and Workforce Development program. Between 2018 and 2020, 31 undergraduate students conducted research and/or gained experience in Extension projects during a 12-wk summer internship. The goal of this work is to assess the success of mentor–mentee relationships and how the program benefits the mentees’ career. Data for this research consists of transcribed interviews of seven mentor–mentee pairs. Transcripts are qualitatively analyzed to capture insights regarding participants’ experiences in the program. Students who participated in the REEU program improved their research skills and soft skills such as adaptation, writing, and communication. As a result of their participation, students are more likely to attend graduate school.


Project: Green jobs - The future of employment in the forest sector

A Joint EFI-IFSA-IUFRO Capacity Development Project.

The forest sector has been facing significant changes over the years including globalization, digitalization, changing societal demands and climate change. Thus, the nature of employment in this sector is shifting. Occupational demands keep changing, and the newly evolving “green jobs” promote sustainable development as well as the general well-being of the people. For students, our future decision makers, these developments offer a broader potential professional spectrum, and they will need adequate training to be equipped with the skills required for the new jobs. We do not know of the extent of the changes in employment, as well as the level of preparedness of students. This project will investigate the transforming employment trends in the forest sector while putting special focus on the perspective of students and recent graduates from around the world. It will further explore ways to prepare future foresters for the expected changes.

Technical report: October 29, 2021

Trends in forest-related employment and tertiary education: Insights from selected key countries around the globe

This report is part of the “Global student networking and green jobs in the forest sector”, a capacity development project coordinated by the European Forest Institute (EFI) in collaboration with the International Forestry Students’ Association (IFSA) and the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO). The project explores ways to prepare future foresters for the expected changes and provides analytical insights at the interface of trends in forest-related employment and forest-related tertiary education, and is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). Additional funding for this report was provided by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN).


Project: COVID Gendered Academic Productivity (COVID GAP)

Research team of 16 academic women across disciplines and countries focusing on the impact of COVID-19 on scholarly productivity. We have currently collected data from our first phase of research by soliciting participants from the Facebook group that brought us together - I Should Be Writing with Cathy Mazak. As we are revising the survey for further distribution across academic identities and locations, we are working on four separate manuscripts for publication. Our group came together in response to the increasing reports of reduction in productivity, i.e. research and publication, by women in academia.

Preprint: July 2021

Research Productivity Among Women in Global Academia During the Early Stages of the Pandemic: A Qualitative Analysis

The discourse on research productivity during the early months of the COVID-19 crisis has been dominated by quantitative examinations of manuscripts published since the outbreak of the pandemic. Existing findings highlight that women scholars were publishing less and less than men, but few considered the reasons behind this phenomenon. This paper offers new empirical insights into the experiences and perceptions of women scholars during the early stages of the pandemic, helping us understand why they have been seemingly less productive during this time.We coded qualitative questionnaire responses from 101 women scholars from across the world, using an inductive thematic network approach, adopting a feminist lens to examine women’s experiences (and social roles in and outside of academia). Our findings illustrate the centrality of support with respect to childcare, professional-emotional support from peers and mentors lost due to stay-at-home orders. Restricted access to institutional facilities, resources, subsequent loss of structure, additional time required to prepare for online teaching, and increased service load have negatively impacted research productivity. For many women, these factors are compounded by poor mental health with high cognitive and emotional tolls, resulting in depleted resources for the highly intellectually demanding research and writing activities. Conversely, some women scholars, particularly those without care responsibilities, reported reduced commutes, fewer meetings, and flexible working hours, resulting in unchanged or increased research productivity. As the impact of the pandemic is ongoing, it is critical to assess the underlying causes of reduced productivity of women scholars to mitigate these effects.


Global Expert Workshop

November 18-19, 2019
European Forest Institute (EFI) office
Bonn, Germany