The inclusion and content of an international agriculture education course at the post secondary level: A Delphi study
Kingery, Thomas W.
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The purpose of this study was to determine the inclusion and content of an international agricultural education course at the post-secondary level by answering the following research questions: What disciplines of agriculture should be included in an international agricultural education course at the university level?; What competencies (knowledge, skills, and abilities) in international agriculture are needed by students and should be developed in a course in international agricultural education at the university level?; and How should an international agricultural education class be used in multiple degree programs at the university level?. A three round Delphi procedure was used to solicit expert opinions regarding each of the research questions. The results revealed the most significant disciplines as: extension and education, philosophy, policy, models, program planning, public and private systems, & evaluation; role of agriculture in a developing nation’s economy; social, economic, political issues; and cross cultural communication. The competencies that should be developed identified by the panel were: skills working with other cultures; roles of change agents; environmental, developmental, conservation, sustainability, natural resources issues; extension models; understanding non-governmental organizations; knowledge of basic agriculture; ability to listen, plan and evaluate. The panel suggested the use of such a class in a multiple degree program should be a requirement for a minor in international agriculture. The study found that items not included among the panel consensus were items on practical or technical production practices. Further studies should be conducted to determine if the area of expertise of the panelists focused more on extension since they were in fact more familiar with extension techniques than any other areas, their experiences were based more on educational typology than practical and technical systems, or their placement in those professional positions did not allow them to focus on the skills and trades that were already known to flourish in their geographical region. One recommendation is to develop a more diverse panel of experts that cover more global territory to gain further insight into the research questions. A more diverse panel may bring more variation to the results. A deeper search into the background and identity of each panel member may also be necessary to discover the uniqueness of each expert in gaining diversified responses. If a professional in international agricultural education was in a non-native country and answered the instrumentation questions based on their work in that environment, that may be different than answering the questions based on their activity in a native country.