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Summary During the next ten years, colleges of agriculture will be challenged to transform their role in higher education and their relationship to the evolving global food and agricultural enterprise. If successful, agriculture colleges will emerge as an important venue for scholars and stakeholders to address some of the most complex and urgent problems facing society. Such a transformation could reestablish and sustain the historical position of the college of agriculture as a cornerstone institution in academe, but for that to occur, a rapid and concerted effort by our higher education system is needed to shape their academic focus around the reality of issues that define the world’s systems of food and agriculture and to refashion the way in which they foster knowledge of those complex systems in their students. Although there is no single approach to transforming agricultural education, a commitment to change is imperative. WHAT IS THE URGENCy? Our world is changing at an increasing pace and unleashing a com- plicated set of problems and opportunities. For example, it has always been acknowledged that the growing world population exerts a looming pressure on the global food supply, but few anticipated how population growth would converge with rising incomes in the developing world to cre- ate an unprecedented demand for more food, especially animal protein. It is now far from clear if an expansion of animal and grain production, and its associated impact on the environment and land use, both in the United States and in other agricultural countries, are even capable of satisfying the need for nutritious food in the long term. This is made even more difficult, because another new demand—that for biofuels—has placed further pres- 

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 Transforming Agricultural Education for a Changing World sure on supplies. We are only beginning to understand the meaning of the emerging bio-economy for world food and energy security, and how this development in our agricultural system can be achieved more sustainably, if at all. It is not an exaggeration to observe that world stability depends on reliable supplies and stable prices for food and energy, which are now linked in agriculture, and on the preservation of the natural resource base that underpins all economic activity and the global way of life in the long term. Is the next generation of leaders in agriculture prepared to address these critical demands on our agricultural systems? Can we sustain the edu- cational institutions that will prepare the leaders of tomorrow? The search for solutions to meet urgent food, fiber, and fuel needs is complicated by issues that are beyond the control of a single nation or even one economic sector. A decade ago, the reality of climate change and the prospects for serious, negative impacts on food production and on human and animal health were not recognized. Now, the expansion of world food production must occur in potentially difficult environmental conditions at the same time that the agricultural enterprise is increasingly obligated to mitigate its own greenhouse gas emissions. Addressing the relationship of climate change and agriculture will require the sharing of insights by a diverse set of experts and actors, from scientists and engineers to regula- tors and policymakers both in- and outside of agriculture. Where will we find individuals with the knowledge and ability to communicate across disciplinary domains on these issues, and who will bring them together to explore solutions? The collective global enterprise that supports and carries out the pro- duction of plants and animals and that buys, processes, and distributes agricultural products to the world’s markets is huge and growing. In con- cert with the public institutions that both support and regulate their activi- ties, hundreds of thousands of local, national, foreign, and multinational firms—some of them large and integrated operations, others small and specialized—orchestrate a level of economic activity that is staggering in its magnitude, breadth, and diversity of scale. It would take pages to list all the niches that have emerged in the agricultural enterprise beyond the farmer— this workforce includes scientists, seed suppliers, crop insurers and bankers, food chemists, ethanol producers, packaging engineers, food safety and quality control experts, agro-ecologists, veterinarians, meat inspectors, risk assessors, contract negotiators, shippers, grocery and retail store suppliers, institutional food buyers, and on and on. This collection of individuals, businesses, and institutions must work together across disciplines, language gaps, physical distances, and national differences to achieve their goals.

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Summary  Often they must grapple with issues beyond their immediate control—such as the spread of avian flu, a plant disease outbreak, or the introduction of melamine—that threaten food supplies and shake the confidence of their buyers and consumers. Because agriculture is affected by so many condi- tions, its participants must always be prepared to react, to adapt, and to think ahead. How do we recruit and cultivate the workforce of the future for this diverse and dynamic universe of enterprises? As the largest food producer in the world, the U.S. agricultural system has benefited from years of investment in technological improvements to agriculture, entrepreneurial and well-developed markets for agricul- tural inputs and products, public support of agricultural businesses, and a natural environment that is conducive to growing plants and animals. But because agricultural production is embedded in social and natural systems, it is affected by changing circumstances in those systems, such as increas- ing international competition in agricultural products, changing consumer demands and expectations of agriculture and food, declining levels of public research support, evolving immigration and labor policy, growing demands to regulate the environmental externalities of agriculture, and emerging constraints of the natural resource base. In addition, rising rates of obesity are leading to increased incidence of preventable disease while structural and economic issues affect access to fresh fruits and vegetables in many communities. How will we respond to these challenges? Do we have a pool of individuals capable of navigating us through these changing waters? If colleges of agriculture believe they provide the logical focus for preparing these individuals, then a greater effort is needed to be success- ful in taking on this responsibility. Herein is the challenge to colleges and departments of agriculture: to establish a place at the forefront of academe where students and scholars are prepared to learn about the complexities of agriculture and grapple with its evolution and change, and in so doing, find their opportunity to contribute as leaders and participants in the agricultural enterprise. Only this will ensure a system of agriculture and of agricultural education that is sustainable, able to adapt to and thrive in constantly changing times. WHy UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION IN AGRICULTURE MUST CHANGE It is not simple to keep up with the evolving nature of the agricultural enterprise. It requires a much more dynamic approach to the curriculum and teaching than most colleges of agriculture have developed. Moreover, many of the colleges have not fully recognized that changes have also taken place

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 Transforming Agricultural Education for a Changing World in their own educational institutions. The pool of potential candidates for the agricultural disciplines is no longer a relatively homogenous group of young people who grew up on farms. That number is diminishing, while the student population has grown increasingly diverse in terms of age, background, and culture. The diverse and broader student body is generally unaware of the multi-dimensional and challenging nature of the agricultural disciplines and the exciting career opportunities open to them, despite evidence that many students have an interest in a variety of scientific, business, economic, envi- ronmental, and social issues related to food and agriculture. The problem is that educators have not helped students to make the connection between those issues and a degree in agriculture. In many ways, agriculture is intertwined with other disciplines in the natural and social sciences, with agriculture professionals using similar approaches and systems as those in other fields. Agriculture now so thor- oughly combines basic and applied aspects of the traditional STEM dis- ciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics that the acronym might rightly expand to become STEAM, joining agriculture with the other fundamental disciplines. Many faculty members do not have experience in the broader food and agricultural enterprise (let alone in traditional production) that would enable them to give students a “real-world” interpretation of the ideas, concepts, and skill sets they need to acquire to be effective in the diverse agricultural workplace. And few academic institutions support faculty and students in gaining real-world experience as part of learning; neither are there sufficient resources for faculty to experiment with how to refashion the way they teach or provide experiences that reflect the challenges that food and agriculture graduates will need in their future careers. This report describes aspects of the undergraduate educational experi- ence in food and agriculture that need to be created, strengthened, or modi- fied. If institutions of higher learning do not address the changes needed, their colleges and departments of agriculture may eventually become irrel- evant. Their graduates will have difficulty in keeping up with the changing needs of society and in securing stable careers. And the nation will miss its opportunity for leadership in addressing the global challenges related to food and agriculture. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CHANGE The following recommendations for change are objectives, not prescrip- tions for specific actions. Across the nation, the institutions that house food

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Summary  and agriculture are very different from one another—they range from large research universities to two-year tribal colleges—so the notion of recom- mending that some particular new program or structural change be adopted by all of these institutions would be inappropriate and destined to fail. The committee believes that individual institutions must address each objec- tive with interventions they develop, considering each institution’s unique strengths, challenges, and circumstances. Although the full report provides examples of different approaches, drawn from those developed at different institutions, the most important aspect of the recommendations is the need for colleges and universities to commit to addressing these objectives. The final recommendation of the report calls attention to an appendix in the report, where a “checklist” of issues is contained. They provide the basis for self-evaluation that might provide institutions and others with a sense of how well they are making progress. Thus, the transformative power of the recommendations lies in the process of their implementation. The more of the objectives that are addressed, the greater their synergy, and the more positive their impact on teaching and learning and on the quality of the scholarship associated with colleges of agriculture in general. 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, 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. Strategic planning should be the beginning of an extended and ongoing process of change, evaluation, and adaptation. Implementation will need to follow the ideas, 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.

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 Transforming Agricultural Education for a Changing World 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 col- leagues to incorporate agricultural examples and topics into courses throughout the institution. 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. Agriculture colleges have a unique and continuing role if they can bridge the many academic domains that can contribute to a broader understanding of agricultural issues. 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. During an undergraduate education, students should master a variety of transferable skills in addition to content knowledge. Employers value those skills at least as much as book learning. Providing students the opportunity to engage in a variety of experiences, such as those listed above, helps to make content knowledge come alive while strengthening the so-called soft skills important in the workplace. 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 outreach but provides a chance for undergraduate students to give back to their communities and become spokespeople for agriculture.

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Summary  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 post- doctoral 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. The scholarship of teaching and learning has developed substantially over the last several decades. 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. In general, university faculty do not receive much training in effective teaching, nor are they exposed to research in student learning; faculty in agriculture are no exception. Therefore, it will be necessary for a variety of stakeholders to devote their attention to ensuring that current and future faculty members learn about the research on how people learn and have access to resources to implement course and curricular changes. The committee especially encour- ages 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.

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 Transforming Agricultural Education for a Changing World RECOMMENDATION 5 Several stakeholders should take tangible steps to recognize and sup- port exemplary undergraduate teaching and related activities: • cademic institutions should enhance institutional rewards for high- A 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 a discipline. • unding agencies should support and reward excellence in teaching F with 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. Achievements in teaching are only rarely rewarded in substantive ways, so faculty are generally motivated 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, improving undergraduate education in agriculture depends on raising the profile of teaching. 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 courses relevant to agriculture and develop pathways for students pursuing agricultural careers.

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Summary  Academic programs in agriculture tend to exist in isolation, with few connections between institutions or even in the same geographic area. Community and tribal colleges are increasingly producing large numbers of students and especially high percentages of members of traditionally underrepresented groups for four-year colleges, but there are currently few pathways for those students to pursue agricultural careers. Articulation agreements and transfer partnerships should be developed between two- and four-year institutions when appropriate—but connections 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, regardless of an institution’s official status as a land-grant institution. 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 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. The public perception of agriculture is a challenge beyond the scope of this report, but it is a factor that influences the perspective of future undergraduate students. Actions related to this issue cannot occur solely within institutions of higher education, but colleges and universities do have the capacity and responsibility to effect change in K–12 and other extracurricular programs. In fact, it is in the self-interest of these institutions to foster interest in and awareness of the role of agriculture in society among its youngest citizens. 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:

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0 Transforming Agricultural Education for a Changing World • 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. There is a need to increase the permeability between academe and the private and public sector employers of graduates from agriculture programs. Industry has little understanding of how colleges and universities are orga- nized, and academe has little understanding of industry and public sector needs. 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 private and public institu- tions, companies, and sectors. To reduce the “silo effect,” the committee endorses steps such as those listed above that enhance communication and coordination between academe and employers of agricultural graduates at different levels. Each of the elements in the recommendation is meant to provide a mutu- ally beneficial relationship. For example, students benefit from such activi- ties as internships and cooperative education 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 work- ing in the company. Closer connections between academe and industry may result in other opportunities, such as participation of the colleges in solving industrial challenges; such questions may serve as case studies in under- graduate classes and provide opportunities for undergraduate research. 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 decisions and reports. This includes accreditation, review of grant

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Summary  proposals, department and other institutional reviews, and other venues. 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. The checklist includes questions about the nature of the curriculum, the ways that courses are taught, and the teaching style and knowledge of faculty about how students learn, among others. Although the committee does not have the authority to enforce specific competencies, 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. 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 as appropriate including—but not limited to—the Higher Edu- cation Challenge Grants Program. Accreditation bodies within the United States could use these elements to develop a specific 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 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 Universities1 can use the elements in this report to guide the content of teaching workshops and discussions among the members of its Academic Programs Section. The committee hopes and expects that monitoring implementation and change will itself become a topic for research and evaluation. Faculty and graduate students in agricultural education programs may see this as a fruit- ful area for long-term study, tracking change and determining factors that contribute to institutional change and effective implementation. CONCLUSION In 1991, the National Research Council joined with the USDA to sponsor what was termed a landmark national conference to outline the changes necessary to meet the needs for professional education in agricul- 1Formerly known as the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges.

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 Transforming Agricultural Education for a Changing World ture. The present report considers the progress since that 1991 meeting and identifies opportunities to effect change in undergraduate programs that will enable programs to produce a flexible, well-prepared workforce. In meeting its charge, the authoring committee engaged many people in academe, industry, professional societies, and interest groups, including those in the food and agriculture community and those outside the tradi- tional group of stakeholders. Central to the committee’s data-gathering was a Leadership Summit that brought together over 300 leaders, from under- graduate students to university presidents and from entry-level employees to CEOs of multinational food and agriculture companies. Discussions at the summit provided the committee with diverse viewpoints that were consider- ing in drafting this report. The committee recognized that undergraduate education in agriculture has changed fundamentally since 1991. The university and food and agri- culture are different and have greater scope and scale. Teaching and learn- ing have been informed by advances in how people learn and by a wealth of research on effective teaching methods and advances in instructional technology. We know better about what to teach and how to teach, but this knowledge is not always used to inform practice. Students are different—in background, in demographics, in interests, and in values. All those changes provide important background for the actions called for in the report. Although conversations about improving teaching and learning in agri- culture have been under way for many years, implementation has been slow. The time to act is now. The changes in our students, in our universi- ties, in our society, and in our environment will not wait any longer. Only with a sustained commitment to improving education in agriculture will the necessary transformation occur. To maintain momentum, a continuous conversation will need to occur in universities and in disciplines, nationally across institutions and fields of inquiry. Agriculture departments, colleges, and institutions need to lead. The investment they make in undergraduate education will play a role in shaping the future of agriculture and its role in sustaining our world.