Volume 52(2) - 2011 - DOI: 10.5032/jae.2011.02082

 

Abstract:

The National Research Council's (NRC) Report (1988), Understanding Agriculture: New Directions for Education, called on secondary agricultural education to shift its scope and purpose, including students' supervised agricultural experiences (SAEs). The NRC asserted that this shift should create opportunities for students to acquire supervised experience in land laboratories, agricultural mechanics laboratories, greenhouses, nurseries, and other facilities provided by schools. For example, the agricultural industry offers 52,000 job opportunities annually, including sales and marketing, specialty veterinary medicine, food safety/biosecurity, forest ecosystem management, precision agriculture, biomaterials engineering, landscape horticulture, plant and animal genetics, specialty crops production and nutrition services (Goecker, Gilmore, Smith, & Smith, 2005). Students' SAEs should reflect such aspects of the industry. Using a modified Delphi technique, this study identified the perceptions of agricultural industry experts on the role of SAE in facilitating students learning technical skills needed for entry–level employment. The experts expected that students would learn more entry–level technical skills associated with the career pathways of Animal Science and Agricultural Communications (44 of 60) than the other five pathways combined as a result of their participation in SAEs. This paper explores rationale regarding why it is important to address this "imbalance" and makes recommendations about that.

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