RECOMMENDATION 7. The colleges of agriculture should require students to take at least one internship from a wide range of creative, mentored internship opportunities representing the diverse career settings for which graduates in food and agricultural sciences are prepared.
Broader use of extension internships as credited programs could be an avenue to accessing these opportunities. The colleges should work with their cooperative education programs to diversify internships for agriculture majors and to open traditional agricultural internships to students not majoring in agriculture. It is hoped that state and federal agencies and private enterprises directly or indirectly engaged in the food and agricultural system will initiate and welcome partnerships with LGCAs to provide meaningful internships for students and financial support for these programs.
"Hands-on" experience in class is another way that innovative colleges link theory and practice and thereby offer problem-solving skills to their students. Many examples drawn from traditional production courses may be found, but most important is the evidence that the "hands-on" concept has begun to be incorporated into newer courses. For example, the University of Florida offers a hands-on course in wildlife field techniques. The course includes exercises with birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and vegetation. In one exercise the students set up trapping grids for small mammals; they set the traps and check, identify, weigh, and detail what is caught. The students practice working with the animals in labs, including learning the soundest procedures for administering anesthesia and injections; and they also practice handling and radio-tracking techniques (Mastron, 1995).
The LGCAs' emphasis on experiential learning must be appropriately balanced with liberal arts and general education requirements. As Allen (1992:p. 190) writes,
… certain concepts and principles must be taught as part of an appropriate foundation for present and future learning that is a part of how we define an "educated person." Among these "musts" are … communication skills, problem solving, cross-cultural understanding, important disciplinary concepts, and sufficient grounding in liberal arts and interdisciplinary courses to serve as foundation for further personal or professional growth by the individual.
As the earlier discussion of student test scores and employer needs suggests, LGCAs must expect their students to meet minimum standards in these concepts and principles before they can be considered adequately prepared for graduate programs and the contemporary work place.
Land grant colleges still have the major role in agricultural education, particularly at the graduate level, but they also have considerable competition. Many colleges and universities that are not part of the land grant system educate undergraduates in general agriculture and agricultural business and management, in particular. As noted in the Profile report, in 1992, non-land grant colleges and universities conferred approximately 20 percent of the undergraduate degrees in agriculture, food, and natural resources generally and about 30 percent of the undergraduate degrees in agribusiness (National Research Council, 1995a). Many of the non-land grant colleges and universities, including community and other 2-year colleges, have excellent programs and reputations in community service, as well.
Additionally, non-land grant universities—both public and private—are responding to student interests in natural resources and the environment, and some of the most innovative programs are at these institutions. The Profile report also notes that in 1992 non-land grant institutions conferred approximately 25 percent of the baccalaureate degrees in natural resources and approximately 33 percent of the master's degrees (National Research Council, 1995a).
In addition to its unique opportunity to enrich the academic experience through linkages among research, extension, and teaching, the committee believes the LGCA