By necessity and design, horticulture's place in society is changing. As the society itself changes, each part of the whole is subjected to pressures, from within and without, to find ways to adapt itself to better meet the changing needs of the society and of its people. One of these needs is the difficulty many people have in coping with the “rush and scramble of life.” Horticultural therapy is helping people solve this difficulty. Horticultural therapy itself is not new, but its professional status is. The program now available at Kansas State University for training students in this field is the first in the nation. The following paper is adapted from a presentation “The Therapeutic Value of Horticulture,” as a part of the education symposium “Modern Methods of Horticultural Teaching,” at Kansas State University, Tuesday, August 3, 1972, during the 68th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Horticultural Science.
Land-grant institutions throughout the US face declining resources in general. Particularly reduced is institutional ability to offer core graduate and upper level undergraduate courses in production agriculture and agricultural science. For example, while North Carolina (NC) State University is still able to offer a wide range of upper-division production courses in Horticulture, many sister institutions are facing restrictions on offerings in Fruit and Vegetable Production and Floriculture courses. New areas such as Sustainable Agriculture and Organic Farming also justify course offerings but few resources exist to create and teach such courses. At NC State, distance education (DE) is able to begin overcoming these problems in several ways. First, high demand, low-seat-available classes such as Postharvest Physiology can offer additional enrollment for credit if open to DE students. Second, courses offered asynchronously or with alternative delivery strategies (such as the videotapes distributed in this course) students having course/time conflicts in a semester can enroll simultaneously in two campus time-conflicted courses, completing both successfully. The framework for the Postharvest course now being taught via DE and how it came to gain institutional support will be discussed in this paper.
Most college professors spend little time helping youth (kindergarten to 12th grade) learn about horticulture, and the elementary and secondary schools seem to have created a dividing line between scientific concepts and practical life-long skills. Biology classes continue to emphasize the chemical processes of photosynthesis and deemphasize the nurturing, caring, dependability, responsibility, sense of accomplishment, and other life-long skills that can be obtained from growing plants. However, retail garden centers and chain stores are increasingly offering books and supplies on gardening and related activities for children. Seed companies market and package seeds just for children. Botanical gardens and arboretums are including youth horticultural activities as part of their on-going educational programs. The involvement of university educators in horticultural youth education can assist the “trickle up” theory to the parents of children along with affecting future voters. Take the first step to see what classroom horticultural materials are available in your state. Currently many teachers have an interest in learning more about horticulture but need educational materials. In addition, there is a large number of volunteers interested in this endeavor. Do your part and help develop accurate horticultural materials for these instructors to use in formal and informal educational settings.
1 Former Center Director. Currently, Center Director, Indian River Research and Education Center, 2199 South Rock Road, Fort Pierce, FL 34945. 2 Former Communications and Media Coordinator. The cost of publishing this paper was defrayed in
In preparing for this discussion, I have assumed that our primary concern is for graduate level students from developing nations and that most of their undergraduate education has been obtained within their own national institutions.
Many potential students, because of distance from the University campus and/or job requirements, cannot take traditional courses on-campus. This group of learners is place-bound—a group of learners who may be employed full-time, most-likely married with job responsibilities and/or other situations demanding most of their attention. These persons are the very definition of nontraditional, and their educational needs demand non-traditional pedagogy. Their maturity and self-directedness eliminate many concerns often voiced about extending support and evaluation inherent in maintaining quality for and among students adopting Distance Education (DE). In North Carolina, the audience is large and demands that the University reach out to them. Cooperative Extension's more than 120 Horticultural Crops Extension Agents (field faculty) and over 300 other field faculty whose interests include horticultural topics constitute students identifiable as likely enrollments for credit taking hours off-campus. Distance Education can overcome these problems in several ways. First, high demand, low-seat-available classes can offer additional enrollment for credit if open to Distance students. Second, courses can be offered asynchronously or with alternative delivery. Finally, courses offered collaboratively among institutions generate a level of interest and enthusiasm that may not exist for home-grown courses. Such efforts as these are creating a Distance Education program in NCSU's Horticultural Science Department.
Many potential students, because of distance from the university campus and/or job requirements, cannot take traditional courses on-campus. This group of learners is “place-bound”—a group of learners who may be employed full-time, most likely married with job responsibilities and/or other situations demanding most of their attention. The Horticultural Science Department and Graduate School at N.C. State University are addressing place-bound limitations in several ways, including the creation and offering of a Graduate Certificate Program in Horticultural Science via distance education (DE). By using DE, high demand, low-seat-available classes can offer additional enrollment for credit. Second, courses can be offered asynchronously or with alternative delivery methods. Also, courses offered collaboratively among institutions can generate a level of interest and enthusiasm that may not exist for “home-grown” courses. Such efforts as these promise to help meet continuing education demands of “non-traditional” students. These include Cooperative Extension's more than 120 Horticultural Crops Extension Agents (“field faculty”) and over 300 other field faculty whose interests include horticultural topics.
Colorado currently has no licensure program for landscaping and many people applying to the Colorado Master Gardener program have indicated a desire to seek entry-level training in order to determine if a second career in horticulture is feasible. Alternatively, some each year who complete this basic training go on into the Green Industry either in basic design and/or maintenance. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension came together with Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado and the Colorado Nursery Association (now CNGA) to create the Rocky Mountain Landscape Design Guide. The purpose of this publication was to inform the general consumer about the landscape design process. A review will be given using this publication with concurrent laboratory activities to Master Gardeners as a continuing education piece.
Three hundred and one Extension professionals (88.3% response), working in home horticulture educational programs in the United States in 1984, indicated their greatest areas of inservice education needs in program delivery are: 1) increasing expertise in the various subject matter areas, 2) developing skills in plant disorder diagnosis, 3) managing information files for rapid retrieval and dissemination, and 4) developing and implementing innovative programs. Subject matter areas where respondents have the greatest training need are: 1) pest identification and control, 2) diagnosis of plant disorders, 3) weed identification, 4) home fruit production, 5) information on recommended cultivars, and 6) ornamental plant identification. Home vegetable gardening ranked 1st in respondent perception of importance and perception of proficiency needed for job performance.
In 1992 and 1993, we taught the course “Landscape Management in the Interior West” by satellite in four states in the mountain west. The broadcast originated from an on-campus studio without students present, but with a two-way audio link. About one-third of the students viewed the course for credit and were located both on and off campus, while the remainder were not on campus and took the course for personal knowledge. In 1992, the course was broadcast live, but in 1993 it was restructured in a modular format and videotaped before broadcast. In 1994, videotapes from the previous year were used to offer the course on a semi-independent study basis on the Utah State Univ. campus. Videotaping the course in discrete content modules substantially improved the quality of the course by eliminating production problems and creating better content flow. The videotapes in turn provided a readily usable off-the-shelf course. Student response, however, varied with location and degree of involvement. On-campus students were critical of a perceived lack of face-to-face contact with faculty. Positive responses came from viewers in remote locations where access to college-level courses is otherwise limited. Distance education through studio-produced, videotaped lectures provides a visually engaging format that is easily disseminated. Such courses will less likely succeed on client campuses, however, unless there is an onsite individual mediating between the tapes and students.