Academic Program Information for Advisors
EcoQuest offers three residential, applied field studies programs. All programs are accredited by the University of New Hampshire and open to highly motivated students from colleges and universities world-wide. Students are registered for academic credit at UNH. Upon successful completion of the program, this credit may be transferred directly to the participants home institution.
|Ecology in Action - Fall & Spring Semester||NR660, 661, 662, 663||15||4||16|
|Ecology in Action - Summer||NR660, 661||5||2||8|
|Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems Aotearoa||SAFS670, 671, 672, 673||15||4||16|
Why Study in New Zealand
Aotearoa New Zealand is a young, dynamic country in every sense of the word: geologically young, as well as young in its people-history, and is characterised by a lively and forward-looking cultural, social and political scene.
EcoQuest provides an exciting mix of academic rigour and place-based, hands-on learning. We foster intellectual curiosity and critical thinking. Students at EcoQuest learn by doing in an interdisciplinary setting, in which they develop transferable field skills, pro-active problem-solving skills and collaborative approaches. As part of our programs, students have the chance to learn in and about terrestrial, coastal, and island ecosystems.
In addition to working closely with the regular EcoQuest faculty and staff, students benefit from the expertise of a wide range of people throughout Aotearoa New Zealand. The list of guest lecturers and contributors to the EcoQuest programs includes faculty of New Zealand universities, scientists from Crown Research Institutes, people who work in non-government organizations, landowners, environmental and resource management consultants, community leaders, and local and regional councillors and politicians. All contributors to the programs are selected for their expertise and experience as well as their ability to be solid role models.
Students are always welcomed onto the local Wharekawa Marae. Basic skills in Te Reo Māori (Māori language), kawa and tikanga (protocol), as well as developing a solid understanding of the Treaty of Waitangi are integral components of all EcoQuest programs. This enables students to participate in all parts of life in New Zealand, and explore aspects of Māori culture, history and traditions, as well as issues related to customary use, traditional knowledge, ownership and kaitiakitanga (guardianship) of resources. We aim to have at least one stay of multiple days on a marae during all programs.
Alongside the necessary general theory and background information, we choose topical issues and case studies as foils for applied learning. The two courses that make up the summer program are comprised of lectures, interactive workshops, and field exercises. Field exercises are an integral part of the EcoQuest program. These exercises (up to 6 in the summer program), are designed for students to engage with topical case studies, learn about planning and carrying out field investigations, processing data, presenting findings, and investigate multiple facets of complex management dilemmas. Rigour, teamwork and peer teaching are important in all the field exercises.
EcoQuest programs are academically rigorous and challenging – both mentally and physically. Students need to demonstrate high levels of motivation, intellectual curiosity, stamina, physical fitness and resilience. Highly skilled academic staff and field leaders accompany and guide students during all field exercises and Directed Research Projects. The well-qualified and dedicated faculty and staff help to make programs at EcoQuest a great learning experience.
The high ratio of staff to students at EcoQuest aims to ensure quality program delivery. EcoQuest provides all necessary physical resources to enable students to fully partake in the programs, including all program-related transport within New Zealand. Qualified field staff provides skills-training for activities that are necessary to participate in the programs (e.g. use of map & compass, GPS, specific skills needed for the use of field equipment). All skills-training is provided in accordance with Risk Management Standard Operating Procedures. Staff reviews learning materials and learning experiences with the students on a regular basis, to make sure that the relevance of materials in the context of the program is understood.