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  • Author or Editor: Caula A. Beyl x
  • HortTechnology x
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In addition to being an essential part of the continuous cycle of improvement, program assessment helps provide for documented accountability, improved learning content, and enhanced pedagogy. The process of using descriptions of the ideal graduate, program descriptive material, faculty and student input, and overlapping course outcomes to develop meaningful program learning outcomes is described. Both direct and indirect assessment methods can be used to determine if the program is meeting its desired learning outcomes as well as using classroom-embedded assessment, capstone experiences, collective portfolios, standardized tests, pre- and post-tests, exit interviews, and various surveys. A program matrix can be used to track where various program learning outcomes are being addressed within individual courses. This article describes a fundamental first approach to assessing and documenting program learning.

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The landscape plants that exist on the Alabama A&M University, Normal, campus are readily accessible for a plant identification and use course. Managing location, health, and cultivar information is critical to optimizing this resource. As a classroom assignment, campus plants were inventoried; entered into FileMaker Pro 2.1, a relational database manager; characterized; and assigned locations on campus. The campus map was scanned using a Microtek Scanmaker IIxe and the image was imported into MacDraw II. A symbol library, which included symbols for trees, shrubs, and groundcovers, was developed by scanning hand-drawn images and then importing them into MacPaint. These bit-mapped images were duplicated as often as necessary and placed in appropriate locations on the campus map in MacDraw II. Students were exposed to landscape plant materials, database managers, and computer graphics capabilities. This approach has other advantages: database information can be easily coordinated with physical location, plants can be sorted based on their characteristics, and information can be routinely and easily revised and updated. The database is used in the landscape plant materials class as a teaching tool and for self-guided tours.

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While horticultural therapy (HT) has a long history in the United States, the profession has not had the acceptance and growth that related fields, such as art, music, recreational, occupational, and physical therapies have experienced. The objective of this study was to identify the current challenges and opportunities of HT in the United States. Maximum variation sampling was used to select current and former members of the American Horticultural Therapy Association (AHTA) for interviews. A total of 27 participants were interviewed between Nov. 2019 and Jan. 2020 using semi-structured qualitative interviews by Zoom. The interviews revealed six themes: 1) current state of the profession, 2) AHTA operations/structure, 3) education/credentialing, 4) funding/job opportunities, 5) public awareness/networking, and 6) research. This paper will discuss the challenges and opportunities presented in the six themes and provide recommendations for the future growth of the HT profession.

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