Volume 38 - Number 1 - 1997 | DOI: 10.5032/jae.1997.01006
Since the debut of the University of Florida's agricultural communication program in 1990, no study had been conducted to determine whether the curriculum adequately prepared graduates for the agricultural industry. The purpose of this study was to determine skills and knowledge needed by graduates of the University of Florida 's agricultural communication program for successful professional service in fields related to agricultural communication. Personal interviews were conducted with six instructors of the program's required journalism and communication courses, four instructors of the required agricultural communication courses, I4 agricultural communication practitioners in Florida, and six alumni of the agricultural communication program. All groups said instruction about Florida agriculture on a broad level (including commodities, trade/economics and policy/law) was important. However, all said that communication skills were more important than agricultural knowledge. All groups said students must have versatile communication skills and learn to network with others. Instructors and alumni emphasized in-depth communication courses. Practitioners and alumni stressed desktop publishing. Instructors and practitioners underscored internships and training in issues management. Only instructors emphasized electronic media/inter-net. Incorporation of these findings into the curriculum will help ensure that students graduate equipped to excel in their careers.