licensing procedures

Richard Jensen rjensen at SAINTMARYS.EDU
Mon Oct 28 11:12:58 CST 1996

How does one go about deciding what is necessary for one to be properly
"credentialed" as a taxonomist?  Certainly, no one would suggest that
possession of an appropriate graduate degree is necessary, would they?
Some of the best plant taxonomists I know do not have terminal degrees.
They are considered amateurs, but their knowledge of local floras is
considerably greater than that of many Ph.D. taxonomists.  After all,
everyone who has a degree in taxonomy is not a field-oriented
taxonomist and is not necessarily well-versed in taxonomic identification.

I suppose that appropriate professional organizations (e.g., the American
Society of Plant Taxonomists) could establish a system by which their
members were somehow certified as taxonomists, but my initial reaction is
that such a system would be more arbitrary than not.  Even if a panel of
recognized experts reviewed credentials, we could still question the
individual's qualifications.

Richard J. Jensen      |   E-MAIL: rjensen at
Dept. of Biology       |   TELEPHONE: 219-284-4674
Saint Mary's College   |   FAX: 219-284-4716
Notre Dame, IN  46556  |

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