A system of two-year agricultural technology programs was established in South Carolina in 1966. These programs were designed for persons having a high school diploma or its equivalent, who do not plan to pursue studies leading to a college degree, and who are otherwise qualified to profit from such instruction. The technical program complements and does not duplicate the educational programs in agriculture now being offered. Courses completed in the two-year technical programs do not count toward a bachelor’s degree.
Horticulture students in an entry-level course (plant propagation) and an upper-level course (small fruit crop production) were assigned brief lecture-based writing tasks at the end of each class period. For the first 5 minutes of each subsequent class period, students divided into small groups to discuss their responses to the previous day s task and to generate questions related to the task topic. The class then reconvened as a whole for a question-and-answer session before the lecture was resumed. Students collected their task responses in a workbook that they turned in for experimental evaluation at the end of the quarter. When compared to previous and concurrent sections of the same courses, students engaging in the writing tasks more frequently posed questions in class, posed questions of increased complexity, and demonstrated improved ability to perform well on complex exam questions requiring integration and synthesis of information.
This study was conducted to determine if there is a difference between the career advancement of alumni of ornamental horticulture associate (terminal) degree and nondegree programs. A survey of the alumni of three associate degree and three nondegree training programs was administered, using guidelines from career advancement validation research conducted at Alverno College, Milwaukee. Wis. (Ben-Ur and Rogers, 1994). Six programs were selected from North Carolina, Maine, Ohio, and southeastern Canada, including parts of Ontario and Quebec and all of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The programs were selected because of their perceived high reputations, as based on a survey sent to eight selected Longwood Gardens staff (Kennett Square, Pa.) and six professors in the Plant and Soils Science Department at the University of Delaware (Newark). Survey respondents were initially chosen based on their knowledge of the field of horticulture and of ornamental horticulture educational programs. The statistical analysis of the data did not support the presupposition that there would be a significant difference between the career advancement in favor of graduates from horticultural associate degree programs.
The 6-month student intern program offered by the Department of Horticulture at Iowa State University assists rural and urban Iowans in home food production through extension programs, mass media, and community projects. Advanced undergraduate horticulture students are granted internships at the county/area level and receive credits and a salary for their work. An extension horticulture associate based in the department provides the overall leadership and coordination.
Intern training sessions concentrate on the type of questions to expect and problem diagnosis methods. More than 50% of homeowner concerns are related to home food production. The intern program has been received enthusiastically and has reduced the summer workload of county staff and state specialists.
Nursery personnel certification programs are designed to advance professionalism throughout the nursery and garden center industry. Certified nursery personnel may be perceived more favorably by their employers, peers, and, most important, by the public they serve. Certification programs currently are conducted in 39 states. Many state nursery or related organizations also offer landscape certification programs; however, such programs are not addressed here.
Graduate students received training in total crop management (TCM) techniques including pest scouting and trapping, nutritional monitoring, and graphical tracking of crop height. In 1995, one student visited five greenhouse businesses biweekly during the poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd.) season to provide TCM training to one greenhouse employee per business. In 1996, a second student visited one greenhouse business every week during the poinsettia crop to conduct the TCM program for that business. The students benefited from the gained practical knowledge of greenhouse production techniques and TCM techniques, and they also benefited from the opportunity to visit commercial greenhouses and interact with staff throughout the production cycle for an entire crop. This program also provided the students with the opportunity to develop their teaching, communication and training skills. The participating growers benefited during this study from receiving useful production information and TCM training. An evaluation of the program conducted in 1998 indicated that four of the five participating businesses continue to use some TCM techniques, while two of the five have fully integrated the TCM program into their normal production routines.