Potential Applications of the 4DEE Ecology Education Framework

The 4DEE framework seeks to: 1) describe a set of concepts and practices central to ecology as requested by the membership, 2) inform students of the scope of ecology for future study and career goals, 3) describe core ideas (concepts) for practitioners seeking certification as ecologists, 4) inform and support instructors and education researchers seeking to incorporate ecology into their STEM education initiatives, 5) identify ecology practices and skills necessary for careers in today’s and tomorrow’s environmental workforce, and 6) establish ESA as the leader in ecology education.  The framework focuses on undergraduate ecology in any disciplinary context and is readily scaled from K-12 to professional levels

Undergraduate Faculty

  • Guide for curriculum development, advising and mentoring
  • Guide for assessment of student learning
  • Identifies faculty development needs
  • Facilitates teaching resource requests
  • Facilitates university and departmental budgetary decisions and hiring priorities

Undergraduate Students

  • Clarifies required /desired knowledge and skills in ecology
  • Identifies gaps in education and experience
  • Prepare for diverse range of careers


  • Guide to research on student learning, proficiencies and ways of thinking
  • Guide to research of student learning and proficiencies and ways of thinking
  • Facilitates feedback from employers and graduate programs


  • Identifies core ideas (concepts) for professional certification 


  • Informs design of relevant education/professional development
  • Informs ESA Certification program
  • Improves outreach and membership development

Beyond ESA

  • Utility for course and university accreditation agencies
  • Guide for K12 curriculum development
  • Facilitates discussion of transitions between undergraduate and graduate programs