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Abstract:

Surveys were sent to colleges of agriculture to document changes of mission, departments, and majors from 1997 through 2002, as well as to document respondents' perceptions of competencies, skills, methodologies, and pedagogy in the classroom; approaches to student learning; and key issues for the future of agriculture and food-systems education. The institutions responding to the survey are in the midst of change, with 94% of the responding 52 institutions changing mission, departments and/or undergraduate majors from 1997 through 2002. Problem solving, written and verbal communication, and critical thinking were the competencies and skills rated highest by the respondents, who also rated hands-on learning (experiential learning and field trips) as equally important to traditional lecturing as a learning approach.

 

Respondents identified the key issues facing agricultural and food systems education in the future as: changing the image of agriculture and how it relates to student recruitment; encouraging a systems (interdisciplinary) approach to the study of agriculture; fostering appreciation of diversity and development of global perspectives; facilitating the transition from a teaching paradigm to a (student-centered) learning paradigm; finding new educational applications for technology and developing appropriate instruments for assessing technology's impact on learning; and developing more stable sources of funding and other resources necessary to provide top-quality undergraduate education.

 

Keywords:

Land-Grant institutions, changes

 

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