An Evaluation of the Perceived Effectiveness of the Municipal Forester Institute on its Participants
Kirk, Melanie Rena'
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Despite the plethora of strategies used to educate urban foresters, many of the training programs offered are not being evaluated for effectiveness, regardless of the entity offering the training, which limits important information on whether the programs were worth the dollars spent. This study evaluates the effectiveness the Municipal Forester's Institute (MFI) had on its participants. The MFI was developed as an in-depth leadership institute to train municipal foresters in both the managerial and leadership aspects of urban forestry. The research subjects in this study were the participants of the 2006 MFI. The satisfaction survey measured the participant satisfaction rate on a 5-point Likert scale (1= Not at all, 2 = Slightly Satisfied, 3= Somewhat Satisfied, 4= Mostly Satisfied, 5=Completely Satisfied), and yielded an overall score of "Mostly Satisfied" (4.56). A five point Likert scale online evaluation was used to measure the behavior change, and change in knowledge of the study (1 = Strongly Disagree, 2 = Somewhat Agree, 3 = Neither Agree nor Disagree, 4 = Somewhat Agree, 5 = Strongly agree). The behavior change and increase in knowledge portion of the survey was divided into categories that mirrored the objectives of the study. These results had statistically significant increases, which were determined not to have happened by chance. The final section of the survey included three openended questions that participants identified as overwhelmingly positive impacts that the trainings had on their position, career, and personal life. Overall, the stakeholders of the Society of Municipal Arborists can be assured that the participants of the 2006 Municipal Forester Institute were satisfied with the training; had a substantial increase in knowledge; and positive change in behavior, which acknowledge this as an effective training program that had a positive impact on its participants.