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6 A Call for Change This report has highlighted a number of challenges and opportunities that have the potential to transform undergraduate education in agriculture. In recognition that those opportunities will require action, this chapter out- lines a number of essential recommendations whose implementation the committee believes is necessary for the future success of the agricultural sciences. The committee sees agriculture as uniquely positioned to respond to students’ interest in making the world a better place and in responding to such important societal needs as food, health, environmental stewardship, sustainability, and energy security. Implementing the recommendations described here not only will help to ensure the future of agriculture but may help to return many colleges of agriculture to their historical place at the heart of the university. Following through on the reforms called for in this report will require lasting com- mitment on the part of many stakeholders—students, faculty, departments, colleges, universities, industry and other employers, professional societies, farmers and farm organizations, commodity and interest groups, government and other funding agencies, environmental organizations and land trusts, food and environmental justices groups, science education organizations, community and other nongovernmental organizations, and others. All those players will need to participate in the conversation and play important roles in implementing the recommendations. The suggested interventions will require commitments of time, attention, and in some cases financial resources; the urgency and the need highlighted in Chapter 1 make the case for the critical nature of these investments. On the surface, some of the recommendations may seem utilitarian and similar to those that have been made in past reports. Those who have been engaged in discussions about agricultural education for some time may see 

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00 Transforming Agricultural Education for a Changing World much that is familiar. But this report is directed to a much broader audience. Members of Congress, faculty outside of agriculture, and employers have not heard these ideas before, and the committee hopes that the messages will be compelling—and actionable—to this wider group of stakeholders beyond the college of agriculture and beyond the university. Even if some of these ideas have been offered before, they have not been universally put into practice. The committee recognizes that many institutions have adopted some of the ideas in this report, but there are few institutions that have implemented many, and virtually none that have addressed all. The true power of these recommendations comes not in imple- menting one or even two ideas but in thinking about the entire system of agricultural education and in the synergistic combination of offering many different options. Although many of the individual ideas seem modest, the committee believes that they would be potentially transformative if univer- sally adopted. The committee has tried to provide advice about how stakeholders might respond to the recommendations by describing one or more sample implementations below each recommendation. These are meant to provide an example of how the ideas might be put into practice at different kinds of institutions, not a one-size-fits-all prescription on how they should be implemented. They are written to illustrate how the recommendations can be made real, but are not intended to be proscriptive or comprehensive nor will the particular examples be applicable to all institutions. In addition to taking action, it is important that those implementing the recommendations described in this report simultaneously develop an evaluation and assessment strategy that will monitor the degree to which the interventions have been successful. The evaluations should be designed to provide formative feedback that will allow institutions and others to change their implementation strategy as the interventions are being implemented. NEED FOR INSTITUTIONAL STRATEGIC PLANNING The committee believes that all institutions offering undergraduate edu- cation in agriculture should engage in a period of conversation, self-study, and strategic planning—followed by putting the plan into action. The com- mittee has chosen not to offer prescriptive recommendations for particular actions but instead to motivate attention to general focus areas and to provide examples of the kinds of steps that might be taken. The particular interventions that will respond to these recommendations will depend on

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A Call for Change 0 the unique strengths, challenges, and circumstances faced by individual institutions, which can be addressed only by the institutions and their com- munities of stakeholders. In short, one size does not fit all in the specifics of implementing an objective. As will be discussed several times in this chapter, strategic plans and conversations about the direction of undergraduate education in agriculture should be carried out in cooperation with a variety of stakeholders who have an interest in the undergraduate experience including those who employ graduates from agriculture colleges. That means not only students, faculty, and administrators from colleges of agriculture but also faculty from through- out the campus, professionals in teaching and learning, employers, local agricultural organizations, graduates, community members, and other inter- ested parties. High-level academic administrators will need to be actively engaged in these discussions to be sure that campus leadership is committed to implementing the strategic plan and prepared to identify and commit the necessary resources. RECOMMENDATION 1 Academic institutions offering undergraduate education in agriculture should engage in strategic planning to determine how they can best recruit, retain, and prepare the agriculture graduate of today and tomorrow. Conversations should involve a broad array of stakeholders with an interest in undergraduate agriculture education, including fac- ulty in and outside agriculture colleges, current and former students, employers, disciplinary societies, commodity groups, local organiza- tions focused on food and agriculture, farmers, and representatives of the public. Institutions should develop and implement a strategic plan within the next two years and to revisit that plan every three to five years thereafter. Sample Implementation: Six months after the release of the report, one 0 land-grant institution conened a steering committee of stake- holders from in and outside of the uniersity to oersee a strategic planning process focused on undergraduate education in agriculture. The committee consisted of three faculty members from the School of Agriculture and Natural Sciences, a faculty member from each of the School of Business, the School of Health Studies, and Department of Social Sciences, the county superintendent of schools, and one repre- sentatie each from a local seed company, a large farmer’s coopera- tie, the State Department of Enironmental Protection, and the State

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0 Transforming Agricultural Education for a Changing World Department of Rural Affairs. After a series of listening sessions with a group of stakeholders and discussions oer the next  months, the plan was deeloped and refined, een despite the retirement of a key senior administrator at the uniersity. Two years after the report, the plan is fully implemented, and the institution has formalized a process for regular reiew and amendment. Strategic planning should be the beginning of an extended and ongoing process of change, evaluation, and adaptation. Implementation will need to follow the ideas, and pilot-testing and continual assessment used to refine and improve new programs and policies. The committee emphasizes that action and implementation are necessary steps for achieving the goals of this recommendation and encourages academic institutions to include timelines for implementation as formal parts of their strategic plans. The committee reinforces that the stakeholders brought into discussions of undergraduate education in agriculture should be broader than those who have traditionally been involved. Faculty, students, and commodity groups should continue to be integral participants, but institutions should think broadly and include a more inclusive group of stakeholders in and outside the university than have been engaged previously at many institutions. AGRICULTURE ACROSS THE CURRICULUM One of the most important actions that institutions can take to enhance student interest in agriculture is to increase agricultural literacy. That means helping students understand such issues as where their food comes from and the role of agricultural products in energy production. It also means demon- strating that 21st-century agriculture means much more than farming. Among the ways that more students can be exposed to agricultural topics are the incorporation of agriculture examples in courses outside agri- culture and the offering of team-taught and interdepartmental introductory courses that serve students in a variety of majors. More radically, institu- tions may wish to consider whether the current organization of their natural and social science and engineering disciplines in and outside agriculture is most appropriate for today’s research and education needs. Although the committee believes that agriculture colleges have a unique and continuing role, it may be appropriate for institutions to consider the organizational structure that is most appropriate for their own setting, as many institutions have already done.

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A Call for Change 0 RECOMMENDATION 2 Academic institutions should take steps to broaden the treatment of agriculture in the overall undergraduate curriculum. In particular, faculty in colleges of agriculture should work with colleagues through- out the institution to develop and teach joint introductory courses that serve multiple populations. Agriculture faculty should work with colleagues to incorporate agricultural examples and topics into courses throughout the institution. Sample Implementation: The faculty at one of the nation’s largest agri- culture colleges decided that cross-disciplinary education was important and committed that each department in the college would offer at least one introductory course that is cross-listed with a department outside of the agriculture college. They sought support for this idea from the Provost, who provided a small amount of course development funds that enabled faculty across the campus to develop courses that fulfilled the curriculum requirements in their respective departments. The revamped series of introductory courses now enroll students from throughout the university and integrate agriculture with courses in several other colleges, including the College of Life and Environmental Sciences, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the College of Public Health, and the College of Business and Finance. Sample Implementation: The provost at a non-land-grant institution decided to hold a meeting involving all of the faculty teaching intro- ductory courses in science, technology, engineering, agriculture, and mathematics in the next semester. This meeting, which actually became a monthly conversation, helped to foster communication between the courses taught concurrently and enabled faculty to share their syllabi and suggest ways that the courses might be effectively integrated. Social science and humanities faculty are preparing similar coordination for their disciplines. The committee further encourages agriculture courses to take advantage of research in student learning and to draw on real-world examples, engage students actively, and be informed by agricultural science and practice from a variety of viewpoints. The committee hopes that interdepartmental connections extend far beyond course content and include a greater number of joint faculty appoint- ments, interdisciplinary research and education centers, and structures for

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0 Transforming Agricultural Education for a Changing World collaboration. The close methodological and content connections between disciplines in colleges of agriculture and throughout the university—in col- leges of arts and sciences, education, medicine, and engineering, among others—demand that faculty communicate more directly and collaborate more often; it will often be necessary to break down administrative barriers to facilitate such interactions. CHANGES IN HOW STUDENTS LEARN During an undergraduate education, students should master a variety of transferable skills in addition to content knowledge. Employers value the skills at least as much as book learning. Communication, teamwork, decision-making, critical thinking, and management should be emphasized and made important parts of the curriculum. Rather than create new courses, the committee recommends that institutions integrate these experiences into existing courses so that students have opportunities to speak and write, to work together, and to lead and manage as part of the activities in their “standard courses.” Students should also have opportunities to engage in a variety of expe- riences that help to make the content knowledge come alive, including undergraduate research, internships and other extra-institutional programs, international experiences, and participation in service learning and in exten- sion and outreach. The ability to connect undergraduate education and extension is an opportunity unique to colleges of agriculture; it not only expands the sphere of institutional and statewide extension and outreach but provides a chance for undergraduate students to give back to their com- munities and become spokespeople for agriculture. RECOMMENDATION 3 Academic institutions should broaden the undergraduate student expe- rience so that it will integrate: • numerous opportunities to develop a variety of transferable skills, including communication, teamwork, and management; • the opportunity to participate in undergraduate research; • the opportunity to participate in outreach and extension; • the opportunity to participate in internships and other programs that provide experiences beyond the institution; and • exposure to international perspectives, including targeted learning- abroad programs and international perspectives in existing courses.

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A Call for Change 0 Sample Implementation: The College of Agriculture at a land-grant institution established a committee of faculty, students, and employers to deelop a list of skills and competences that all students should hae upon graduating. The list explicitly detailed how these skills were incor- porated into its undergraduate majors or how they could be included by offering additional experiences. Two faculty members requested supplements that would support undergraduate research experiences in conjunction with extension. They receied matching funds from the state soybean council to organize studies inoling undergraduate students and farmers in identifying best practices for reducing run-off. The committee recognizes that not all students will choose to participate extensively in all those activities, but every undergraduate should be exposed to them and have the opportunity to explore chosen ones in depth. Providing such opportunities will require resources, but several can be provided at relatively low cost. In some cases, public and private funding agencies may need to provide new awards or to extend existing programs to new activities. In other cases, agencies might expand the use of supplements to existing awards to support specific educational aims; for example, the National Science Foundation (NSF) offers supplements to foundation-funded research projects to support undergraduate research experiences. Even with- out increased extramural funding, however, the committee urges universi- ties to prioritize these experiences and to redirect institutional resources to support them. As will be discussed below, some of the experiences might be made available to students through partnerships with companies and other organi - zations outside the university. Such opportunities as internships, cooperative education programs, and service learning can also help students to develop transferable skills, conduct research, and gain exposure to a wide variety of viewpoints and ideas. CHANGES IN HOW FACULTy TEACH The scholarship of teaching and learning has developed substantially over the last several decades. As outlined in Chapter 3, the consensus of the research is that students learn more when they are actively engaged and have the opportunity to consider real-world situations and examples. Nevertheless, universities still tend to use an outmoded method of teaching in which lecturing is the norm and the focus on facts is predominant. Many classes fail to engage students or to take advantage of the research in how people learn.

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0 Transforming Agricultural Education for a Changing World In general, university faculty do not receive much training in effective teaching, nor are they exposed to research on student learning; faculty in agriculture are no exception. Therefore, it will be necessary to provide opportunities for faculty to learn about the research on how people learn and to have access to resources to implement course and curricular changes. A variety of stakeholders will need to devote attention and resources to faculty development both in the short term and on a continual basis. The committee especially encourages graduate programs to build those topics and competences into training for the next generation of faculty. Faculty will need access to professional-development opportunities and to the resources necessary for implementing effective instructional strategies. Educational innovation is generally much less expensive than investment in research, but it is not free. In fact, time may be a more precious resource than money for many faculty: time to develop new courses, redesign curricula, and identify, adapt, or create the necessary teaching materials. RECOMMENDATION 4 Several actions are necessary to prepare faculty to teach in the most effective ways and to develop new courses and curricula: • cademic institutions, professional societies, and funding agencies A should promote and support ongoing faculty-development activities at the institutional, local, regional, and national levels. Particular attention should be paid to preparing the next generation of faculty by providing appropriate training to graduate students and postdoc- toral researchers. Moreover, academic institutions should take steps to ensure that the responsibility for faculty development rests not with individual faculty members but with departments, colleges, and institutions. • cademic institutions and funding agencies should leverage existing A resources or provide additional resources to support the develop- ment of new courses, curricula, and teaching materials. Among the needed resources are faculty release time, support for teaching assistants, attendance at education-focused workshops, and use of education materials and technologies. Sample Implementation: One institution restructured their resources for professional deelopment to enable each faculty member teach- ing undergraduate courses to attend at least one education-focused

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A Call for Change 0 workshop per year. The dean of the college of agriculture committed to proide $,000 in startup funds for noel educational endeaors. One junior faculty member used these funds to support a research study to deelop and assess the effectieness of an actiity to teach a difficult aspect of plant biology; the study was subsequently published as a peer- reiewed article in the Journal of National Resources and Life Sciences Education and presented at the annual Plant Biology meeting. Sample Implementation: An agriculture college restructured its gradu- ate curriculum to include a course in teaching and learning within agriculture as part of its core curriculum. In preparation for the course, the college sent two faculty members and two graduate students to a national meeting on enhancing the preparation of graduate students for careers in teaching and inited representaties from two institutions that hae such a course to gie a college-wide seminar and meet with faculty and students. The course, which is also aailable to postdoctoral researchers and to faculty, proides an oeriew of practical education, exposes students to teaching pedagogies and resources, and proides a forum for discussion of educational issues. The course has become part of the training for graduate teaching assistants (TAs), and TAs are asked to incorporate what they learn into their own classroom practice. Many colleges and universities have developed centers for teaching and learning and have professional staff trained to provide support for high- quality teaching. Such centers are an ideal venue for programming and sup- port for faculty, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers in teaching. Institutions should look for opportunities to expand and enhance the services provided by such centers or to establish them if they do not already exist. Institutions are encouraged to involve graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and advanced undergraduates in developing educational materials and fostering excellence in teaching and learning. In addition to providing additional expertise devoted to improving education, the entire educational system benefits by engaging these potential future faculty mem- bers in thinking about teaching and learning early in their careers. The committee notes that many of the issues related to faculty devel- opment also apply to teachers at the K–12 level. For example, a wealth of resources is available to K–12 teachers (such as those described in Chapter 5), but many teachers are unaware of them.

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0 Transforming Agricultural Education for a Changing World SUPPORTING THE vALUE OF TEACHING AND LEARNING At the Leadership Summit, it was strongly expressed that achievements in teaching are rarely rewarded in substantive ways and that faculty were thus prompted to focus their attention elsewhere. That poses a particular challenge to the implementation of the recommendations in this report inasmuch as effecting change in undergraduate agriculture education will require attention to teaching and learning. Although a full vetting of tenure and promotion criteria and institutional priorities is well beyond the scope of this report, the committee offers several suggestions of actions that it believes are essential for improving undergraduate education in agriculture. RECOMMENDATION 5 Several stakeholders should take tangible steps to recognize and support exemplary undergraduate teaching and related activities: • Academic institutions should enhance institutional rewards for high- quality teaching, curriculum development, mentoring and other efforts to improve student learning, including rigorous consideration in hiring, tenure, and promotion. Academic institutions should also implement new tenure-track faculty appointments that emphasize teaching and education research in the discipline. • unding agencies should support and reward excellence in teaching F in both education and research grants. Such models as the National Science Foundation’s “broader-impacts criterion” should be consid- ered by other agencies. • rofessional societies should raise the profile of teaching in the dis- P ciplines. That may include offering support and rewards for under- graduate teaching and sponsoring education sessions and speakers at society meetings, workshops on teaching and learning, education- focused articles in society publications, and efforts to facilitate the development and dissemination of teaching materials. Sample Implementation: The faculty senate at one institution coordinated a review of tenure and promotion criteria, developing a set of rigorous criteria that enabled teaching quality, measures of student learning, and the level of faculty engagement with educational activities to be explicitly considered for hiring, tenure, and promotion decisions. The criteria developed also include methods of evaluation for measuring each of

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A Call for Change 0 these qualities and assessing student learning and the effectiveness of instruction without overreliance on traditional student evaluations. Sample Implementation: A major private funder of agricultural research began to require grant applicants to explain how their research would impact undergraduate education or how it would be incorporated into public outreach and extension activities. Applicants who wish to receive this funding must, therefore, commit to educational activities, along with evaluation of their impact and success. The sponsor organized a regional workshop of its grantees so that they might share their experiences and results with each other. Sample Implementation: The board of a major professional research society in the agricultural sciences voted to enhance the profile of edu- cation within the discipline. Within a year, they committed to sponsor at least one education-focused plenary speaker at the society’s annual and regional meetings and publish at least one education-focused article in each issue of the major research journal published by the society. INCREASING CONNECTIONS BETWEEN INSTITUTIONS Many colleges and universities offer programs in agriculture, but they tend to exist in isolation, with few connections between institutions even in the same geographic area. Moreover, community and tribal colleges are playing an increasingly important role in undergraduate education, enroll- ing large numbers of students and especially high percentages of members of groups traditionally underrepresented in four-year colleges. But there are few pathways for those students to pursue agricultural careers. Similarly, there are opportunities for colleges of agriculture to work with other, often smaller institutions to develop and enhance agriculture programs. RECOMMENDATION 6 Academic institutions offering teaching and learning opportunities in food and agriculture should enhance connections with each other to support and develop new opportunities and student pathways. In particular, four-year colleges and universities should further develop their connections with community colleges and with 1890 and 1994 land-grant institutions. In addition, four-year institutions should work with other institutions to establish and support joint programs and

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0 Transforming Agricultural Education for a Changing World courses relevant to agriculture and develop pathways for students pursuing agricultural careers. Sample Implementation: Four months after the release of this report, a major land-grant institution organized a meeting of all academic institu- tions within 00 miles that offer undergraduate instruction in agriculture. This group included seeral community colleges as well as 0 and  land-grant institutions. The meeting resulted in a commitment to deelop cross-registration and articulation agreements to facilitate student exchange. A multi-institution faculty committee has also begun establishing a regional center of excellence in a field of agriculture rel- eant to the region, with support from USDA; when up and running, the center will offer both undergraduate and graduate instruction aailable to students at any of the institutions and will create a locus for research in that field. Articulation agreements and transfer partnerships should be developed between two- and four-year institutions when appropriate—but connec- tions should not be limited to those arrangements. Institutions may wish to develop multi-institution programs, share resources, allow easy exchange of faculty and students, and generally work together to support and promote initiatives of common interest. Partnerships should exist without regard to an institution’s official status as a land-grant institution but be based on common purpose and goals. INCREASING CONNECTIONS WITH PRECOLLEGE SETTINGS Reform of the role and perception of agriculture is a challenge far beyond the scope of this report, but it is clear that action in this area cannot occur solely in institutions of higher education. The committee believes that there are many opportunities to develop K–12 students’ interest in agriculture, including formal academic programs and extracurricular programs, such as 4-H and National FFA. Higher-education institutions have a particular capacity to effect change in K–12 settings and a responsibility to lead. RECOMMENDATION 7 Colleges and universities should reach out to elementary-school and secondary-school students and teachers to expose students to agricul- tural topics and generate interest in agricultural careers. Although the specific partnerships will differ from institution to institution, programs

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A Call for Change  that might be considered include agriculture-based high schools, urban agricultural education programs, and summer high-school or youth enrichments programs in agriculture. In addition to formal partner- ships and academic programs, colleges and universities should explore partnerships with youth-focused programs, such as 4-H, National FFA, and scouting programs. Sample Implementation: Four months after the release of the report, a non-land-grant college of agriculture called a meeting of the regional K­– school systems as well as area chapters of agriculture-focused youth and community programs. One outgrowth of the meeting was the initiation of a program for undergraduate and graduate students to spend two days per month working with middle- and high-school courses in agriculture. Seeral uniersity students also signed up to be mentors to students in the Boy Scouts interested in agriculture. Sample Implementation: In one western state, the state board of educa- tion put out a call for proposals to the state’s public institutions, asking them to propose programs in food and agriculture for secondary school students. The state made two awards: one recipient has established a Goernor’s School in food and agriculture that offers two four-week sessions each summer; the other recipient has deeloped a series of day-long actiities that are offered to high-school classes surrounding its urban location. INCREASED PERMEABILITy BETWEEN ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS AND EMPLOyERS Discussions at the Leadership Summit and elsewhere testify that academe and industry operate in largely distinct spheres, although indus- try is a major employer of food and agriculture graduates. Moreover, many employers have little understanding of how colleges and universities are organized, and academe has little understanding of needs outside the academic sector. Although a number of universities have long-standing partnerships with particular industries or corporations, there are many opportunities to expand such collaborations to a wider array of institutions, companies, and sectors. To reduce the “silo effect,” the committee offers a multipart recom- mendation to enhance communication and coordination between academe and employers at different levels. Each of the elements in the recommenda-

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 Transforming Agricultural Education for a Changing World tion is meant to provide a mutually beneficial relationship. For example, students benefit from such activities as internships and cooperative educa- tion programs to gain real-world work experiences, and industry gains an opportunity to recruit and attract talented young people and hire workers who already have experience working in the company. RECOMMENDATION 8 Stakeholders in academe and other sectors should develop partner- ships that will facilitate enhanced communication and coordination with respect to the education of students in food and agriculture. The partnerships should include the following elements: • cademic institutions should include representatives of industry and A other employers on visiting committees, on advisory boards, and in strategic planning. Companies should include academic faculty on their advisory committees. • xchange programs should be developed that enable food and agri- E culture professionals to spend semesters teaching and working at academic institutions and enable faculty to spend sabbaticals work- ing outside of academe. • pportunities for students to work in nonacademic settings should O be developed and greatly expanded. Programs might include internships, cooperative education programs, summer opportuni- ties, mentoring and career programs, job shadowing, and other experiences. Sample Implementation: A regional agricultural business consortium partnered with a local college of agriculture to convene a meeting of area companies, academic institutions, and nongovernmental organi- zations (NGOs) with a stake in food and agriculture. As a result of the meeting, the business consortium agreed to coordinate a student intern- ship program that would enable a cohort of students each semester to do an internship at one of the companies or local NGOs. Sample Implementation: A national organization representing universi- ties and one representing companies in food and agriculture partnered to establish a clearinghouse of opportunities for sabbatical research in industry and institutions willing to offer temporary visiting professorships for industry professionals. Representatives from the two organizations

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A Call for Change  also developed template intellectual property policies that facilitate the exchange of people and information. These opportunities need not be limited to large food and agriculture com- panies but could incorporate a wide range of employment sectors from small family farms to NGOs. The committee hopes that such collaborative opportunities will have important secondary benefits. For example, closer connections between academe and industry may encourage industry to call on academe for assistance in solving industrial challenges; such questions may serve as case studies in undergraduate classes and provide opportuni- ties for undergraduate research. ACCOUNTABILITy AND COMPLIANCE In order to provide a strong incentive for implementation, the committee has developed a “checklist” of items that should be used by any individual or group conducting a review of a program, curriculum, department, col- lege, or institution (Appendix E). Although the committee does not have the authority to enforce specific competences, it hopes that these elements will inform the establishment of review criteria and accreditation standards at all levels and in a wide variety of settings. RECOMMENDATION 9 Organizations and individuals conducting reviews related to under- graduate education in agriculture should incorporate the elements discussed in this report (summarized in Appendix E) to guide their deci- sions and reports. This includes accreditation, review of grant propos- als, department and other institutional reviews, and other venues. Sample Implementation: Regional accrediting bodies include the list of questions in Appendix E as a recommendation for the institutional self- study as well as the external accreditation reiew. Sample Implementation: An organization representing small agriculture companies decided to prepare a list of the skills and competences that they are looking for in hiring college graduates. The organization not only distributes the list to all agriculture-focused colleges but commits to including a session at its annual meeting eery four years to reiew and refine the list.

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 Transforming Agricultural Education for a Changing World For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) might incor- porate more specific elements into the evaluation criteria for the review of its programs including—but not limited to—the Higher Education Challenge Grants Program.1 USDA might also develop workshops for its staff that provide additional context and background for these issues. Accreditation bodies within the United States could use these elements to develop a spe- cific set of benchmarks that institutions might be asked to meet to receive accreditation. External review and visiting committees might ask institutions and programs to meet the standards called for in this report. Peer-review panels might use the elements in Appendix E as goals that submitted grant proposals should seek to achieve. Professional societies could use these elements to guide discussions within disciplines and to make decisions of organizational priorities based upon those elements. The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) can use the elements in this report to guide the content of teaching workshops and discussions among the Academic Programs Section. The committee expects that monitoring implementation and change will itself become a topic for research and evaluation. Faculty and graduate students in agriculture education programs may see this as a fruitful area for long-term study, tracking change and determining factors that contribute to institutional change and effective implementation. IMPLEMENTING CHANGE The recommendations offered above refer to various stakeholders that will need to take action. Although it can be easy for one party to see a challenge as someone else’s responsibility, the committee emphasizes that each of the many stakeholders has a role in and responsibility for improv- ing undergraduate education in agriculture. For example, if employers want better-prepared graduates, they need to be part of the solution. If colleges of agriculture want students to understand that “agriculture” does not equal “farming,” they need to reach students from throughout the university and the general public. If universities want to retain more students in agriculture majors, they need to foster teaching and learning that promotes student learning and addresses student interests. If agriculture is to be seen as 1Although the Higher Education Challenge Grants Program solicitation includes several priority need areas—including curricula design and materials development, faculty prepara- tion and enhancement for teaching, instruction delivery systems, student experiential learning, and student recruitment and retention—the current ealuation criteria are quite vague. See .

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A Call for Change  science-based, it needs to take its place among other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines. The committee hopes that aca- demic institutions, food and agriculture employers, government agencies, professional societies, and others will take the recommendations in this report seriously and implement changes to improve undergraduate educa- tion on individual campuses. The Role of Students As the prime “consumers” of education, students will be most directly affected by implementation of the recommendations in this report. Although none of the recommendations explicitly calls for action by students, the committee believes that students have a responsibility to become edu- cated consumers and to be advocates for their own education. Students are encouraged to make the kinds of connections that are described in this report, enrolling in a variety of courses and taking full advantage of the opportunities they are given. Students should ask for and pursue the kinds of experiences that will serve their professional and personal interests, pre- pare them for a wide array of careers, and provide them with a valuable undergraduate experience. This report is more likely to make it into the hands of faculty and admin- istrators than into the hands of individual students, and the committee calls on colleges and universities to help students to fulfill their responsibilities. That is, we hope that academic institutions pass along the committee’s encouragement to their students and engage undergraduate and graduate students as full participants in discussions about teaching and learning. The Role of Faculty Many of the recommendations in this report are focused on the classroom—what is taught and how. Thus, faculty members make up one of the primary audiences for this report and should be intimately involved in discussions about how to implement its recommendations. Faculty have primary responsibility for what and how material is taught, so they should pay particular attention to the discussions about course content and peda- gogy. They can lead by example in devoting themselves to high-quality teaching in their departments, disciplines, and institutions and in recruiting and supporting colleagues who demonstrate a strong commitment to educa- tion. Faculty also make up departments, colleges, and universities and will

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 Transforming Agricultural Education for a Changing World need to be committed to the changes that these administrative structures seek to implement. The Role of Departments The academic department is often the most crucial level of organization in a university setting. Faculty appointments, promotion and tenure, under- graduate majors, graduate programs, credit for teaching, and even recovery of indirect costs are often tied to departments. The role and size of academic departments provide an excellent locus for reform of undergraduate educa- tion and for recognizing the scholarship of teaching. In fact, the commit- tee hopes that departments will collectively take on the responsibility for teaching and learning, not relying on the good will of individual faculty. In addition, departments have the opportunity to work together on administra- tive and content issues to reduce barriers to cross-department offerings and provide students with cohesive undergraduate experiences. The Role of Colleges of Agriculture As described in Chapter 4, colleges that include agricultural disciplines have undergone extensive evolution and transformation, often incorporat- ing such additional fields of inquiry as natural resources, environmental sciences, and life sciences in addition to traditional agricultural disciplines. As the home of agriculture, they have the most at stake and the most to gain from implementation of the committee’s recommendations and from taking the ideas presented in this report seriously. Therefore, it is essential that agriculture colleges play a leading role in changes that may ultimately spread throughout the university, such as revisiting promotion and tenure policies, establishing a student-centered curriculum, and providing oppor- tunities for students to engage with the wider community as part of their education. Discussions should occur within and between colleges of agriculture and should involve faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, and staff. The APLU Academic Programs Section has been interested in these issues for some time and provided the initial discussions and impetus for this project; the committee hopes that other groups in and especially beyond agricul- ture colleges will devote the same attention to the reform of undergraduate education in agriculture.

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A Call for Change  The Role of Universities This report and its recommendations extend beyond the college of agri- culture to the entire university. Agriculture colleges will need to collaborate with other parts of their institutions to offer introductory-level courses that can serve students in a variety of majors, and they should take advantage of opportunities to participate more fully in general education and extend the reach of agriculture. In addition, many of the policies and practices that hamper reform in colleges of agriculture are present throughout the university. The committee hopes that agriculture colleges can lead the way in reforming tenure and promotion practices, implementing active learn- ing, and providing students with greater access to and awareness of career opportunities, but it will be imperative for universities as a whole to address these issues. It is vital that institutions give these issues high priority. Most institu- tions will claim that undergraduate education is one of the top priorities, but do their actions demonstrate their commitment? How are decisions made? Where are resources allocated? Which criteria are used to hire and promote faculty, to establish new programs, and to construct new buildings? Institutions will need to back up their spoken commitments and mission statements with action. The Role of Industry and Other Employers Although industry has served as an important consumer of agriculture graduates, employers have rarely played a large role in education despite a general concern in industry that today’s agriculture graduates do not meet the needs of today’s employers. The committee believes that indus- try and other employers should play a more direct role in the reform of undergraduate education in agriculture. Only by being more involved in education will industry have the opportunity to provide input with respect to the skills and competences that agriculture colleges should be instilling in their students. The committee has addressed several recommendations to employers and urges companies with an interest in food and agriculture to take a leadership role in discussions, advocacy, and support for high-quality under- graduate education. The committee calls on employers to be a full-fledged partner in the educational processes and to help to implement the changes that are necessary for preparing graduates who have the skills necessary to work in the food and fiber systems, to work across international boundaries

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 Transforming Agricultural Education for a Changing World in a global marketplace, and to become more educated consumers and more active citizens. Employers can also foster interactions with academic institutions, for example, by offering student internships, supporting career workshops and job-shadowing opportunities, and facilitating exchanges of academic researchers and industry professionals—including sabbatical opportunities and encouragement for food and agriculture professionals to seek visiting-faculty or adjunct-faculty positions. The Role of Government and Other Funding Agencies Government and other funding agencies have an obvious influence on agriculture education. For example, the USDA provides critical funding to land-grant universities through the Cooperative State Research, Educa- tion, and Extension Service, the U.S. Department of Education supports the National FFA Organization, NSF supports research and programs related to undergraduate education, and a variety of private foundations support education and agriculture. Despite that investment, the committee asked whether additional roles could be played by federal agencies and other funders—roles that could benefit undergraduate education. Although addi- tional resources are often helpful, the committee believes that refocusing small amounts of funds or tweaking the criteria for existing funding programs may produce important rewards with minimal new investment. Moreover, as agriculture has become increasingly science-based, the committee hopes that agriculture will be fully embraced by agencies that support science education in general. The Role of Professional Societies As stewards of the discipline, professional societies have an important role to play in speaking on behalf of those in a given field of study. They also play an essential role in bringing together faculty across institutional boundaries and are therefore in a unique position to effect change nation- wide. One of the most natural roles for professional societies is to provide discipline-specific information and resources, including maintenance of repositories of relevant teaching materials and sponsorship of workshops targeted to specific fields of study. It will also be important for professional societies to raise the profile of education and of education scholarship in their disciplines. Professional societies have a number of unique resources that allow the dissemination of ideas through a discipline, including scholarly journals that

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A Call for Change  offer opportunities for dissemination and discussion of new ideas and that allow scholars to read the ideas of others and to publish their own, profes- sional meetings and conferences that bring together hundreds or thousands of practitioners and allow face-to-face meetings and informal conversations that are essential for moving ideas further, and the ability for a discipline to speak with one voice, to support new ideas, and to advocate for positions of common concern. As recommended above, professional societies can give high priority to education and education reform, demonstrating this com- mitment by giving space to educational topics and papers in their journals and newsletters, offering sessions and prime speaking slots at their meetings and conferences to education topics and speakers, and considering how they can promote and implement education reform nationwide. The Role of Commodity Groups Several participants in the Leadership Summit mentioned the impor- tance of state-level agricultural organizations and commodity groups in influencing university decision-making and, in particular, of being barriers to change. The committee believes these groups may be a source of powerful leverage and hopes that they can be encouraged to think broadly about the needs for educating the next generation of professionals in food and agri- culture. Engaging those groups in discussions that extend beyond the needs of a single department, crop, or industry can help to provide the consensus needed to move universities forward in a more integrated fashion—the interdisciplinarity called for in Chapter 4. The Role of Other Stakeholders Listing employers, professional societies, and commodity groups only scratches the surface of the array of stakeholders with an interest in the issues who should be brought into discussions. The future of agriculture depends on the education and preparation of the next generation of professionals and citizens, and it is essential that all the stakeholders be brought into the conversation. Alumni, donors, boards of trustees, community members, and others all have important roles to play not only in influencing decisions about what should be changed but in helping to bring about that change. All groups should be encouraged to think beyond their individual interests and to focus on the future of the agricultural education enterprise as a whole. If agriculture colleges and disciplines cannot remain vibrant, the future of the entire food and agriculture system is threatened.

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0 Transforming Agricultural Education for a Changing World CONTINUING THE CONvERSATION The changes recommended here will not all be achieved immediately; there will need to be a continuing conversation as plans are implemented and the context continues to evolve. The committee hopes that a continuing national conversation will encourage constant sharing of best practices and implementation experiences and will serve as an opportunity for account- ability. If academic institutions, food and agricultural industries, professional societies, and others report on their progress periodically, it will not only continue the momentum but provide constant encouragement of action and reform. The community has already taken steps to continue the conversation of the Leadership Summit. For example, Texas A&M University organized the 2007 National Conference on Changing Higher Education in Agriculture and Related Sciences with the theme “From Dialogue to Action—Reinventing Teaching and Learning.”2 It is hoped that this important follow-up meeting will be the first of many steps, and the committee hopes that the interest shown by both APLU and USDA will continue—supplemented by interest from other national groups that extend beyond land-grant institutions. APLU and USDA have an obvious national and cross-disciplinary interest in the issues, and the committee hopes that regional consortia and professional societies will continue to discuss them in geographic regions and in disci- plines. Students, employers, and other stakeholders should be fully engaged in follow-up discussions and specifically invited to participate. 2See for more information about this conference, which was held June 11–13, 2007, in College Station, Texas.